Thursday, 31 December 2009

I ain’t dead

It’s true, I’m not. I’ve just been enjoying the festive period with my family for the past few days. I hope you’ve had a happy festive period and that you’ll enjoy the New Year celebrations later tonight. I’d say I wish you a better 2010 than 2009 but for a lot of people it’d be hard for 2010 to be any worse than 2009. After all, any year when only having had a worldwide recession is seen as better than the alternative (that being a complete meltdown and collapse of the global financial system) has got to have been a pretty bad year.

In the UK, the start of the year saw the end of high street firm Woolworths just before their 100th anniversary of trading. The end of the year saw us wave goodbye to Borders, who used to be a bookshop but sort of forgot what they were by the end. And in-between there have been too many companies hit the wall to count and too many jobs lost.

I’m sure it’s been the same everywhere else.

The US, of course, has at least had the ‘shining light’ of a new leader in the shape of Barak Obama. So, America finally elected their first black president – and there was I thinking the first black president would be Will Smith. Just two hurdles left to cross now. A woman and an immigrant. Of course, before that Austrian bloke currently running California can be President they will have to change their constitution (or so I’m told – correct me if I’m long). And I think we’ll have to wait a while before we see a woman elected, after all, Chelsea isn’t old enough yet, is she?

But while America has at least had a sense of hope following their election (or part of the country does – I’m told not everyone likes him), we on this side of the pond have not had so much a guiding light as a flashlight with fading batteries in the shape of Gordon Brown.

I can’t remember a time when this country was so in need of an election. I don’t even think it was this bad in 1997. At least back then the country was on the mend and heading in the right direction. But now, the whole country seems in a terminally depressed state. We need an election not necessarily for a change of government but just to shake things up and get everyone interested in politics again. Like it or not, these people make choices that affect us all and right now there are too many people who don’t seem to care who’s in charge.

Yes, things have gotten that bad.

Having said all that, 2009 hasn’t been a bad year overall for me. Yes, I didn’t get a pay rise at all this year, but the plummeting interest rates saw my mortgage payments fall and that more than made up for now pay rise. On a writing front, Charlotte’s Secret and Lost & Found both continued to sell steadily if not spectacularly, Kissed by a Rose was released and voted Erotic Romance Novel of the Year by the members of the Erotica Romance Connection. Phaze also confirmed that they’d be taking the book to print in March of 2010 – which can’t be bad. 2009 also saw me complete Eternally & Evermore, which has been accepted by Phaze for publication next summer and I’m well on the way with the next book.

So, no, 2009 wasn’t a bad year for Marc Nobbs.

But, that’s it from me for this year. Here’s hoping I’ll continue to hold you attention in 2010. Thanks for spending this year with me.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Grabbed by the Balls

Okay, so, the title got your attention right? I haven’t literally been grabbed by the balls since… well, for a very long time. Thankfully, I haven’t pissed any woman off enough for them to want to do that to me (and ladies, there’s not much worse you can do to a man to punish him than abuse his balls – ain’t that the truth). But what I’m talking about here is a story idea. A new story idea has grabbed me by the balls and I doubt it will let go now until the story is finished.

It’s great when that happens, isn’t it?

Let me elaborate.

In recent weeks I’ve been working on rewriting an older story, College by the Sea, which you can read the ‘original’ of on StoriesOnline. This is because of the success that I believe I’ve had rewriting another older story, Reunion. Reunion is about five years old and you can read it on StoriesOnline or download a .pdf here.

Now, Eternally & Evermore, started out as a simple rewrite of Reunion. I wanted to make it longer, add subplots and take time to explore Matt and Kelly’s relationship more. What actually happened was that Matt morphed in Will, Kelly became Amy and the whole story got turned on its head and is now so far removed from Reunion that it’s a stretch to believe that it ever started out as a rewrite of such.

And it’s not just the plot is so much different, it’s that the characters are totally different too. It wasn’t just a case of changing the names. I also changed their personal circumstances. I don’t want to give away too many of E&E’s secrets (and their are a whole host of surprises in store, believe me), but Will and Amy are older, wiser, and have been through more in their lives than either Matt or Kelly. And that has made them very different people from Matt and Kelly.

I tend to think of it like this… Will and Amy are the people that Matt and Kelly would have been had their lives taken a different path. Consequently, they have a very different story to tell.

And, honestly, I’m so pleased with the job I did turning Reunion into E&E that I figured I could at least as good a job by starting with College by the Sea.

The problem though is two fold. First, College isn’t that good. I started writing it over ten years ago and have never finished. I’ve actually written more of the story than appears on StoriesOnline, but I got so disillusioned with it that I found a sort of convenient place to stop and did just that. It’s too long winded. It lacks focus and the story really doesn’t go anywhere.

So while I knew where I was taking the story with Eternally & Evermore, I didn’t have that same single-mindedness with the rewrite of College. Hell,  I didn’t even have a clue what the title was. Not the first idea.

Second problem was that I have been working on this story in some shape or form for over ten years. It was the first story I ever started writing, and it’s based very much on some of my experiences from my time at University. College is set in Aberystwyth, in the same hall of residence that I stayed in and features many of the places I used to go. I mean, the lead character, is a physics undergraduate – like I was, and while he isn’t me, part of him is. But then, there’s a part of me in all my heroes. And some of the characters in the book are very much based on people I lived with.

For the rewrite I moved the action to Westmouth – the town that is rapidly becoming the centre of my ‘universe’ (can we call it the ‘Nobbiverse’, yet?). I kept some of the characters names the same, changed others, and cut the cast list by either simply dropping some of the extras or merging some of the more prominent ones.

But I couldn’t bring myself to change the two central characters – Dylan and Joanne. I was too close to them. And so the story suffered from my lack ability to let go. My friend and editor said I was doing an okay job, but the story didn’t grab me. It didn’t feel right.

Then, earlier this week, something happened. An idea struck me. Utterly different from Dylan’s story, this idea is fresh, and exciting and I damned if I’m not looking forward to writing it. It’s got me by the balls.

As the delightful Mrs Cole says on that god awful L'Oreal advert – I’ve got my mojo back.

So, here’s hoping I can keep up this enthusiasm for the story. It’s got a lot of development to go – I need to map out the story and work out the ending – but I know who the main characters are and what the conflict is and that, for me, is the main thing. With great characters and a compelling conflict, I can nail this thing.

Monday, 14 December 2009

The Morning after the Night Before

So, how do we all think that young Joe McElderry is feeling this morning having won Britain's biggest talent contest? Pretty good, I’d wager. Shocked? Certainly. Terrified of what’s to come? Probably. But pretty good nonetheless.

The real winner last night though was, of course, Simon Cowell. Ten million phone votes at 35p a call? That’s… a lot. £3.5million. For those of you on the other side of the pond that’s somewhere between $5.5million and $6million depending on current exchange rates. Then there’s all the sales from Joe’s single which will inevitably be Christmas number one and probably the ‘fastest selling single of all time” or some shit like that – it usually is.

I did find it amusing that Simon kept saying “this is the closest contest I think we’ve ever had” when in actuality anyone with two ears who wasn’t tone deaf knew Joe was going to win from about week three.

But I do wonder how long he’ll last. We shall see.

I thought that the best performance of last night was Alex Burke & JLS doing their mini-meadely. That was really good. And then Simon pulls Paul McCartney out of the bag as the last big surprise act. How’s he going to top that next year? Dig up John Lennon or Elvis and reanimate them for the evening?

I tell you what though, I wonder if, ten years ago (give or take) when Simon Cowell agreed to be the forth (and least well known) judge on some little show call Pop Idol, he knew it would turn him into a global superstar. Pop Idol was, of course, massive and the Simon was the star of the show with his frank (and sometimes hurtful) comments. Naturally, when the Yanks decided to pick up the show as American Idol they recognised Cowell as the star and signed him up. The rest, as they say, is history.

For me, there were two moments that stood out in that first series of Pop Idol. Gareth Gates’ first audition, with that 30 seconds or so of silence when he struggled to say his name than sang so well afterwards, and, the moment that made Cowell and Will Young for me, when Cowell called Young’s top 50 performance ‘ordinary’ and Young answered him back. Classic TV. I’d give you a You Tube link but for the life of me I can’t find the clip anywhere.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Changes Afoot

If you’re reading this on the Blogger or MySpace versions of this blog then you may have noticed a few changes. First off, those menu buttons at the top of the page have changed colour, being now an attractive shade of blue rather than dark grey. Also, the logo at the top of the page now reads “” rather than “”.

Yep, I’ve come over all patriotic and stuff. :-)

Actually, the change is because I’ve moved my website to a new host and with the hosting came a free domain registration. Since I couldn’t be having with the hassle of moving the .com domain, I opted for instead. The old .com domain now redirects to as well.

Why the change of host? Well, this new host offers more features. The website needed a refresh, which you’ll see if you click on any of the buttons in header (or here if you’re on SOL, Soulcast or Zoo). So while refreshing, I thought about what else I could do.

For example, I’ve started a Marc Nobbs Wiki. It’s not much right now, which is why there is no link to it on the website, but over time I’ll expand it. Or you can. It is a wiki after all, and therefore it’s collaborative. take a peek at

See that? It’s a sub-domain. My new host provides me with unlimited sub-domains. So currently redirects to the blogger blog. In time I may move this to my new webhost using a WordPress solution, but I need to monitor bandwidth for a couple of months before I do that. I also need to consider what will happen to those people who have subscribed to the blogger blog – I don’t want to lose them by moving.

I’m also considering homogenising all the social network sites, eg and – but that may be a step too far.

Now, I really must go and do some writing… I mean work. Yes, I must go and do some work.

Monday, 7 December 2009

The AWARD WINNING “Kissed by a Rose”

Yes, it’s true. It’s True. Kissed by a Rose was been voted Erotic Novel of the Year for 2009 by the members of the Romance Erotica Connection.

REC ERotic Novel of the Year 2009

As you can imagine, I’m stoked. I’m also very humbled, this award is a great honour for someone like me. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for the book – as I’m sure would Adam and Chloe.

If you haven’t read Kissed yet, then you can purchase a copy here. Or, if you can wait, you’ll be able to pick up a print copy of the book sometime next year. Phaze have confirmed that they will be taking the book to print and I’m currently going over the manuscript one last time to make sure it’s as clean (in the typos sense – not the sexual sense, lol) as it can be. I don’t have a date for the release of the print copy just yet, but when I do I’ll let you know.

I’m also waiting on a release date for Eternally & Evermore in electronic format. All I know so far is it will be ‘next summer’. Again, more details when I have them.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Is there such a thing as too much sex?

I’m not talking about real live, obviously. In the real world, I think everyone agrees that you can’t ever get enough of a good thing (and sex is certainly a good thing – if you’re doing it right). No, I’m talking about sex in fiction. Is it possible to have too much sex in a novel.

The reason I’m thinking about this is that recently, in a few things I’ve read, I’ve found myself scanning over, or even skipping, the sex scenes in order to get back to the story.  Let me try and explain.

At the start of this year I made a conscious decision to add to my reading list some of the much loved ‘epic’ stories that are about in the ‘free’ erotica community. I mentioned this earlier this year on this blog. I’m talking about the likes of BlueDragon’s Ordinary Sex Life series and his John Billionaire series. Wizard’s Trailer Park series is another.

And, of course, any exploration of ‘epic’ stories on SOL wouldn’t be complete without Frank Downey’s Dance of a Lifetime, which is excellent, by the way. Yes, Frank’s style is a little too sickly sweet sometimes, and he has the habit of doing things with his prose that really annoy me (not least of which is using bold for emphasis – and using emphasis far too often), but boy this guy can spin a good yarn. If you haven’t already wasted the many, many hours it takes to read this, then you really should. You won’t be disappointed.

The latest series I’m tackling is Nick Scipio’s Summer Camp.

Now, Ordinary Sex Life, Trailer Park and Summer Camp are all “coming of age” stories. They are told by a first person narrator – a teenage boy – and cover that period in his life when he grows from a boy to a man and discovers all about girls and the fun things you can do with them. Dance of a Lifetime could be called “coming of age” if you stretch the definition but it’s more of a “star crossed lovers” tale.

Because OSL, TP and SC are about a young man discovering sex, there is a lot of sex in them. With many multiple partners – often at the same time. But as I’ve read each of them, I’ve found myself scanning the sex scenes rather than reading every word. I’m looking to see if the scene in question is significant to the story, or just there for the sake of having a sex scene.

Don’t get me wrong, all three series have the elements of good fiction – good, interesting plots, lots of conflict and characters that develop as the story unfolds – but sometimes the sex seems to have been ‘tacked on’ to the story, possibly because author feels it’s been a while since we had a sex scene and this is a sex story, after all. But sometimes, the sex scene is essential to the story, because it contains a crucial plot point or character development, and those are the scenes I’m looking for when I scan. Those are the sex scenes I want to read because they progress the story.

For me, too often, the sex is getting in the way and, honestly, I’d rather just read the story.

I’m not doing these stories down. They are all very good, very enjoyable and I’d recommend them to anyone (okay, maybe not anyone but you know what I mean). That’s why I’ve included the links. I’m just trying to illustrate my point that it is possible to have too much sex.

Too much sex is something I’ve tried to avoid in my last two novels. Or rather, sex for the sake of sex is something I’ve tried to avoid. Instead, I’ve tried only to include the sex scenes that I think are relevant to the plot and character development.

Kissed by a Rose is ninety thousand words and fifty three chapters long yet it contains only thirteen distinct sex scenes. It alludes to a lot more, but only thirteen are described in any detail. That’s because the reader only needed to see what went on in those thirteen scenes. All the other times that Adam and Chloe had sex, it was not as important to the plot or their individual development.

Eternally & Evermore is also around the ninety thousand word mark, and is fifty-two chapters long. But in this one (due to be released by Phaze Book next summer) the first sex scene doesn’t happen until chapter chapter twelve – almost twenty thousand words into the book. The next sex scene doesn’t happen until chapter twenty-three (and that’s only a dream). In fact, there’s only six explicitly described sex scenes in the whole of the book, each one of them serving a purpose to the story and none of them there just for the sake of having the characters screwing.

So, to answer my own title – yes, there is such a thing as too much sex. Or rather, for my tastes there is. But what do you think? Have you ever thought about it? Feel free to let me know what you think.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Two Big Announcements

Yesterday I received a very, very exciting e-mail which contained two huge pieces of news. I couldn’t say anything yesterday until I’d confirmed some of the details, but now I can make the following announcements.

Firstly, Phaze Books have agreed to pick up my latest completed manuscript, Eternally & Evermore, for publication as an e-book in the summer of 2010. That’s all the info I have in terms of a release date as yet, but I’m just happy to know that the work has found a home. This will be the fourth book of mine that Phaze have picked up.

“Eternally & Evermore” is the story of Will Brown and Amy Robinson. We first meet them as teenage sweethearts who promise to be together for all time. But then we skip forward twenty years to find that although their lives have taken radically different paths, when they are reunited, their love still burns brightly.

I believe it’s the best thing I’ve ever written by a long distance. Full of passion, littered with light heated moments, but most of all it’s a rollercoaster thriller as they fight to overcome the obstacles in their way – including the best antagonist I’ve ever created.

Here’s the blurb for the book.

Love doesn’t make the flowers smell sweeter, Love wakes you up to the world around you. Love won’t make you flawless, but Love will take away the fear that holds you back. Love isn’t the destination, Love is journey you take with the one person who cares about you most.

Twenty years after promising to love each other “Eternally & Evermore”, teenage sweethearts, Amy and Will, are reunited to discover their love burns as strongly as it ever did. But while Will is a successful lawyer, Amy has walked a tougher path. What secrets does she harbour? What ghosts litter her past? And what horrors will they have to endure before they can finally be together “Eternally & Evermore.”

The second piece of news is that Phaze have expressed an interest in taking my last novel, Kissed by a Rose, to print. Kissed by a Rose was released as an e-book in June of this year, and I’m thrilled that Phaze have the confidence in the story to consider releasing a print addition. As yet I have no details of a release date or a potential price point, but, frankly, I’m just too busy being excited by the idea for that to matter right now. I can’t wait to see Adam and Chloe in hard copy.  When I get more details, I’ll be sure to pass them on.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Ghosts of the Past

It’s an odd thing, but for the past few weeks I’ve seen several people around who have been the spitting image of an ex-girlfriend of mine. And, frankly, it’s freaking me out a little bit.

The ex-girlfriend in question I met at university and we were ‘together’ for most of our time in Aber. We even went on a pretty special holiday to Disney World together. We had planned to get married and live happily ever after, but our career paths kept us apart for a year during which time she started sleeping with a so-called ‘friend’ of mine (who was going to be my best man) and I met the future Mrs Nobbs.

I guess that that particular relationship was never meant to be when all said and done. And I have no regrets over it. Had I not met Mrs Nobbs I would not be where I am now and I certainly would have my very special little boy.

Speaking of my little boy, Jr fell asleep in my arms last night and I must have spent half an hour just staring at him while he slept. I love being a Dad.

I digress. Back on topic…

Over the past few weeks, in several different locations, I’ve seen women who have reminded me of my ex. They’ve all had her lush black hair and her cute little nose. It’s one of those slightly pointy, slightly upturned noses. Always puts me in mind of a fox for some reason – but certainly cute.

There was the woman who stopped next to me at the traffic lights. The one in Sainsbury’s. And that one walking on the other side of the street.

I seriously doubt any of them were her – the last I heard she was living over a hundred miles from here. But the resemblance was uncanny.

The last one was in McDonald’s. And this one was the closest to her in terms of looks yet. And the way she was looking at me made me think it might even be her. Although, she was probably looking at me oddly because I was staring at her. But I was so convinced it was her that I was actually going to steel myself and ask if it was her.

Then I heard her place her order and she spoke with a thick Eastern European accent rather than a sweet Welsh one. So it definitely wasn’t her.

Still, Ghosts of girlfriends past or what?

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Nice week

I’ve had quite a nice week this week. I took some time off from work to spend with my son. Three days, just me and him doing father and son things. It has been very, very pleasant.

Of course, it was difficult going back to work on Thursday – it always is when you go back after a holiday. But it could have been a lot worse, so I shouldn’t really complain.

On a separate note, we had a conversation at work recently concerning our firm’s password policy for the network. One of the directors mentioned that he found it difficult enough as it is to remember all the different passwords he has to have for all the different sites he uses – the network password, passwords for his personal bank and the firm’s bank, and four or five different professional sites he needs to use to do his job.

And that got me thinking about the number of passwords that Marc Nobbs has. There’s twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, the FTP for my website… I could go on. And it strikes me that if one company could come up with a way for us all to link our profiles on all these sites and use one user ID and one password, then they would probably be quid’s in.

But I digress.

I’ve actually been able to write a couple of chapters of my WIP in the past few days. I’m still not convinced it’s as good as it could be but it is only a first draft and to be honest so far I’m twelve thousand words in and it’s mostly just setting up the characters and situation. The ‘drama’ of the story should start in the next couple of chapters. After I’ve written those then perhaps I’ll be happier with it. We shall see.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

I had a Dream…

I had a very interesting dream on Monday night. Thought you might enjoy my recounting it to you.

For some unknown reason (I find reasons are often unknown in dreams) I was on a half day at work. But rather than enjoy the afternoon just chillin’ or shopping or what not, I returned to my old school for a Geography A level lesson. Which itself is odd since I didn’t do geography A level. It’s even more odd that my old school was just around the corner from the office and not a hundred miles or so away like it is in the non-dream world.

I was very apprehensive of the lesson – having missed so many while working – but things actually went okay. I sat next to my best friend from school, who looked just like he did when we were at school together almost twenty years ago. Come to think of it, all my old school friends were there and they all looked like they did back when we were at school together. And so did I!

But that’s not the point. Or maybe it is. It was a dream so who knows.

Anyway, after the lesson (during which I learnt nothing) I left the room with Nick (my friend – who didn’t do Geography A level either if I recall correctly) and we went back to the common room, passing my locker on the way where I deposited my bag and books for lunchtime.

We entered the common room and found ourselves in a nightclub that we used to hold our school discos in. Well, not so much a nightclub, more an upstairs room in a grotty pub that we hired out, but the point is that we went through the door to the common room at school and ended up there. Hey, it was a dream, freaky stuff happens in dreams.

It was coming towards the end of the night – I was tired out from all the dancing (??) and had a few pints of Wolverhampton’s finest in me. The DJ had stopped playing the fast dance tunes and started on the slow ‘smoochy’ songs. On the dance floor, couples were coming together – there was even a couple of guys dancing together, which I don’t remember happening back when I was at school. Naturally, I was looking around for someone to dance with.

Now, before I go on with the dream, there’s something you need to know about me. Back when I was sixteen and had just started the Sixth Form, I’d recently been dumped by my girlfriend of nine months. It took me a while to get over it, to be honest, and during my ‘mourning period’ I didn’t have eyes for any other girls. That all changed though around about the time of my seventeenth birthday at the end of October. Okay, so two months isn’t much of a grieving period, but I was only sixteen.

But after I did get over it, I noticed this girl. Her name was Claire and she was gorgeous. Far too gorgeous for me. At least, that’s what I thought at the time. And so I did nothing about it. Nothing. At all. Just kept on being a miserable little git, working hard and finally earning my place at University far away from home and basically making a new start on life.

Back to the dream.

Who do I see standing the corner of the room with one of her friends? Yep. Claire. Now, this is a dream, right. So whereas in the real world all those years ago I’d have sank into a chair with another beer, in this dream I strode right over to Claire.

“Claire?” She turned to look at me. “I was wondering… I mean… would you…?”

“What? What is it, Marc?”

“Dance with me?” I held out my hand to her. She smiled, took my hand and allowed me to lead her to the dance floor. It was pretty full and we could only find a spot at the edge, but it was enough. I turned to face her and put my hands on her hips. She put her arms around my neck and danced up close, bodies pressed together. Her head rested on my shoulder. I could smell her and it was intoxicating. I could feel her breath on my neck and it was all I could do not to shiver.

She sighed and at that moment I knew she was as content as I was.

I turned my head to try and glimpse the look on her face but she was too close. She must have noticed my movement because she lifted her head to face me. We stared into each other’s eyes. The sensual, sexual beat of the power ballad washed over us, adding to the tension.

“What?” she said, her voice barely audible over the music.

I hesitated then said, “You have no idea how much I want to kiss you right now.”



“I bet it’s as much as I want to be kissed.” She looked down for a few bars of the song then back up into my eyes. “So what’s stopping you?”

I sighed. “I don’t know. I’m scared, I guess.”

“Scared? What’s there to be scared of?”

“Everything. I’m scared it won’t be good enough for you. I’m scared I will. I’m scared it won’t be everything I ever dreamed it would be. I’m scared it will. I’m scared it could be the start of something spectacular. I’m scared it won’t.”


“But most of all, I’m scared of putting my heart on the line and getting hurt.”



“I promise, I will never, ever hurt you.”


She nodded. “Really.”

Slowly, our lips came together.

And then I woke up. Bugger. Sometimes, I really, really wish I didn’t have an alarm clock.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Time to push on

A few weeks ago I was quite euphoric as I formally turned in Eternally & Evermore for submission to Phaze. At the time I knew I really needed to kick on and get stuck into the next piece but, I suppose somewhat inevitably, I didn’t. I justified not cracking on by telling myself I deserved a bit of a break after finishing what is, I think, my best work to date.

So it’s been a while since I’ve written anything new. I’ve even gotten out of the habit of writing blog entries – which is a very bad habit given that blogging is supposed to be my ‘head cleaning’ activity that allows me to write my fiction.

Writing is a habit. Once you get into the habit, it becomes second nature to sit and type. You almost do it without thinking – the words flowing out of your head and onto the screen through your fingers without ever really engaging your brain. But get out of the habit and writing becomes difficult.

Writing is also a skill that, like many others, needs to be practiced to keep it sharp and fresh. The more you write, the better what you write tends to be.

So it really is time I got my head down and started getting back into the habit of writing. I’ve done a lot of reading over the past few months – and that can never be a bad thing, after all a good writer is first an excellent reader – but it’s time I spent less time reading and more time writing.

I will admit that being nominated for the three REC awards has boosted my ego somewhat. Did I mention my nominations already? Three of them – Best Erotic Novel, Best Cover for an erotic novel and Steamiest Sex Scene. You can vote for Kissed by a Rose at this link. So if just being nominated has given me a boost – imagine what I’ll be like if I actually win one! I can but hope.

Anyway – I’m off to do some writing. Tatty-byes.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Exciting News

Another week goes by and it’s another week where I haven’t been able to find the time to blog as I’d have liked. But I’m not going to dwell on it – Life gets in the way sometimes, all of us have to accept that and I’m no exception.

Shame though, cause it’s been another week where there have been a number of news stories that have really, really annoyed me. I’m starting to think I’m not living in the country I thought I was. Roll on the election, that’s what I say.

But anyways…

Over the weekend I received some exciting news. Kissed by a Rose has been nominated in three categories at the Romance Erotica Connection Awards. It’s up for “Steamiest Sex Scene” (although I don’t know which one – there are 13 of them after all), “Erotic Book Cover of the Year”, which I’m really pleased about cause I think it’s an excellent cover – simple but sexy. And it’s also been nominated as Erotic Novel of the Year. Wow! I mean… Wow.

It’s worth pointing out that these are the Romance Erotica Connection awards so these categories are actually Erotic Romance and not just Erotica (as opposed to Sweet Romance – ie, with no dirty bits)

To say I’m chuffed to bits would be an understatement. I’m having trouble keeping the smile off my face right now and people at work keep asking if my wife is pregnant again cause the last time I was this smiley was when we found out that Mrs Nobbs was excepting Jr.

She’s not, by the way – just to be clear.

The awards are open to the public vote at this link. You can only vote once in each category (the polling software registers your IP address apparently), but then, you’d only want to vote once anyway, wouldn’t you?

I’m not sure when the voting closes and the winners are announced, but I think it’s the end of the month. I might be wrong about that – one of the polls seems to have closed already for some reason. But I’ll be sure to tell you how I got on.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Busy Week

It was a busy week last week, as you can probably tell from my lack of any blog posts. It’s a shame because there was a lot I wanted to talk about last week, most obviously the appearance of BNP leader Nick Griffin on the BBC’s Question Time panel programme.

In hindsight, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t get to talk about that last week as most of what I’ve read in the lead up to Thursday and the reaction on Friday was not particularly… considered. There was a lot of over-reaction to his appearance and I’m glad I didn’t add to it. If I still feel that way inclined I might try and jot a few thoughts about it in the cold light of day this week.

This week should be a bit quieter for me. I hope. I’m planning to get some writing done, but since I’ve been pontificating over what my next piece will be, I’m not sure how much success I’ll have. With a bit of luck I’ll be able to make some headway on a project and it’ll grab me the way that E&E did.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Submission is in. Now, the waiting game

This morning I have ‘officially’ submitted Eternally & Evermore to Phaze for consideration of publication. Now, as they say, the ball is in the publishers court and all I can do is cross my fingers and wait.

Before I submitted I re-wrote the book’s blurb and the verses i told you about last week that come at the start of each section of the story. The new versions are below. I also managed to find dialogue quotes from all fifty-two chapters to use as headings. I’m not going to put them here though cause they might well change for be deleted in any case. I like to think of them as a starting point.

What I really need to do now is make a start on my next piece. Obviously, I’ll keep you updated on how that’s going, but in the meantime, here is the new blurb and new verses.


Love doesn’t make the flowers smell sweeter, Love wakes you up to the world around you. Love won’t make you flawless, but Love will take away the fear that holds you back. Love isn’t the destination, Love is journey you take with the one person who cares more clearly than anyone else.

Twenty years after saying they’d love each other “Eternally & Evermore”, teenage sweethearts Amy and Will are reunited to discover their love burns as strongly as it ever did. But while Will is a successful lawyer, Amy has walk a tougher path. What secrets does she harbour? What ghosts litter her past? And what horrors will they still have to endure before they can finally be together “Eternally & Evermore.”



Love doesn’t make the flowers smell sweeter.

Love doesn’t make the morning birdsong or the sunrise and sunset any more beautiful.

Love wakes you up to experience the world for the first time.


Love doesn’t make you flawless.

Love doesn’t make you rich or smart or funny.

Love takes away the fear that holds you back from being the best can.


Love isn't the destination.

Love is the journey you take with everyone in your life that cares about all that you are.

And you reach the end with the person who cares about you more than anyone else on earth.

X-Factor twins

Just a quickie. Simon Cowell’s X-Factor is back and the live shows are underway. This year we have the worst act to go through to the live shows in the history of live television, ever.

But damn, they are funny.

The X-factor twins. Or is it the X-files twins. John & Edward (or Jedward). Man they are terrible.

Still, here is a link to their performance of Britney’s “Opps I did it again” this week, complete with red PVC outfits and the “But I thought the old woman dropped it into the ocean” at the minute mark. I defy you to watch this without laughing your head off.

And while we’re on. What was Whitney Houston on? Watch her performance and tell me she isn’t high as a kite. They’ve actually missed the worst bit off this clip. Really, she gets worse.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Chapter Headings

I must admit that I’ve never been a big fan of chapter headings. They seem to me to take far too much time to think up and don’t add all that much to the story. That said, I had a funny idea last night. What if I include a dialogue quote at the start of each chapter rather than a heading in Eternally & Evermore.

In theory, there should be a line of dialogue in each chapter that nicely sums up that chapter.

So I’ve been trawling through the story looking for quotes. So far I’ve done twenty-four chapters out of fifty-two. About half way, then. Here they are. Let me know what you think of this idea and the quotes I’ve picked out.

  1. “Better not to ask than get embarrassed by the knock back.”
  2. “It must be great to be so in love. To have some close to you like that”
  3. “There’s nothing worse than living with regrets.”
  4. “You’re going to do it. Aren’t you, William?”
  5. “Hate is a strong word.”
  6. “You’re a better man than he’ll ever be.”
  7. “He’s not worth it.”
  8. “I think this is the part where you kiss me.”
  9. “You can hold my hand, you know,”
  10. “But it’d be worth it. Wouldn’t it? I’d be worth it?”
  11. “I was thinking that, perhaps, the wait might be over.”
  12. “I actually tremble when you touch me.”
  13. “Yeah. I know. Eternally and evermore.”
  14. “Youth is wasted on the young.”
  15. “I just know she’ll be pleased to see you.”
  16. “So, at the risk of sounding vulgar, what’s it worth?”
  17. “There’s something I need to tell you.”
  18. “I always said she’d be mine and not yours, didn’t I?”
  19. “I just needed to know.”
  20. “I knew it. You still have a thing for her.”
  21. “You just accepted it. You weren’t supposed to just accept it.”
  22. “Could you and I ever just be friends?”
  23. Life got in the way, that’s all.”
  24. It’s complicated.”

The idea behind this of course is to give you a sense of the direction of the story just from these quotes. I don’t think any of them ‘give anything away’ so to speak, but I can see the progression of the story in them. But then, I would wouldn’t I? After all, I know what happens. 

I’ve also written a short piece about love that I’ve split into three and will appear at the start of each of the three sections of the story. It serves no real purpose, but I like it. Here it is.


Love makes you smell the flowers you never knew were there.

Love makes you hear the birdsong in the morning and see beauty in the sunrise and the sunset.

You think Love has made the world a beautiful place.

But Love just woke you up and made you experience the world for the first time.


Love won't make you flawless.

Love won’t make you rich.

Love won’t make you smart or funny.

But Love will take away the fear that holds you back from being all you can be.


Love isn't the destination.

Love is the journey.

You take it with everyone that cares about everything that you are.

And you get to the end with the person who sees you more clearly than anyone else on earth.

I must admit that this was inspired by something I read recently. I also need to say that at this stage both the chapter quotes and this statement of love before each ‘part’ are very much subject to change. One idea that has been floating around my head is to replace the dialogue quotes with song titles that say the same kind of thing. Although that could be a lot of work finding said song titles.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Looking forward

So, I’m really excited about getting Eternally & Evermore to a state where I think I can submit it to Phaze and see if they’ll publish it. I genuinely think it’s the best thing I’ve written to date. I know that there is still work ahead, editing is never easy and even since I ‘finished’ it the other day I’ve had thoughts about areas I’d like to amend – some pieces of dialogue in particular I think could stand to be padded out a bit to really show the emotion of the characters. But this is always an exciting point for a writer to be at.

It’s also the point at which you have to look forward to what you do afterwards. I’ll be honest, I worried that what ever I write next won’t be as good. I’m worried that perhaps I’ve reached the peak of my ability and it’s all down hill from here.

I’m worried about this because the new piece I have been writing while editing the second draft of E&E suddenly doesn’t seem up to the job. It seems flawed and just not good enough. Trouble is, while I know who the characters are, I’m not sure what their story is. And honestly, after Will and Amy and Sophie and the others, I’m not sure the characters are good enough either.

So that leaves me looking for something else. Something that will be worthy of being a follow up to E&E. I have a few idea – ideas have never been my problem. Often I have so many ideas that I forget half of them (which is kind of frustrating). The problem isn’t having ideas – it’s finding that one idea you can develop in to something worthwhile.

There is one story I’ve always wanted to write, but while I know what the ending is and know what most of the plot is, I don’t know how to ‘frame’ it in a believable way. I don’t know how these two people would meet given the situation that one of them is in. Yes, I know, vague is an understatement here. Sorry.

Then there the book who’s opening I’ve had written for a long time but that I can’t nail down the rest of the story. (Actually, I have a few like that)

So what I need is to take stock. Take time to think out which one of the ideas i have floating around would make the best book. Which would have the best characters and a plot that will carry the reader along to a big finish.

We shall see.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

How good it feels when you think you’ve got something “Right”

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be able to make a guest posting on Antonia Tiranth’s Blog. That’s in addition to the post I was able to make on the Virtual Book Tour blog last week. If you haven’t read one or both of those posts, then please feel free.

But more importantly…

Yesterday I finished going through the first draft of Eternally and Evermore, making changes (actually very few changes in the last 30 chapters or so) and I think it’s now ready to go off for submission. Which, naturally, I’m very, very happy about.

And you know what else I’m happy about?

It’s bloody brilliant!

Seriously, it is. Look, I now I shouldn’t be saying that because I wrote it and I’m biased, but honestly, I’ve never been this excited after reading something I’ve written. It’s like… I can’t explain it. It feels like I got this one right. Not just right, but right. Do you see what I mean? Let me try and explain.

Eternally & Evermore is a story of two halves. In the first part of the story, the hero, Will, is insecure, naive, a bit nerdy. In short, he’s a typical teenager. By contrast the heroine, Amy, is confident and outgoing. She’s the queen of the school, the girl all the other girls want to be and the girl all the boys want. Including Will. Or at least, that’s the way she seems. The story is told from Will’s point of view and Will is thoroughly in love with Amy so she seems to be this goddess for the first part of the story.

This first part of the story is awkward and uncomfortable at times. It’s meant to be that way – it’s about teenagers and that’s how teenagers feel most of the time. Or rather, that’s how Will feels as a teenager most of the time. But just when Will and Amy are professing their love for each other and promising they’ll be together ‘eternally & evermore’ (they got it from a song) we are suddenly propelled twenty years in time – to the present day – and everything is different.

Will is divorced – and not from Amy – and he has a teenage daughter he sees less often than he would like. He’s also a partner in a successful law firm and one of the most respected lawyers in his town. He’s confident, assured, decisive. He’s grown into the man his teachers thought he would. But Amy comes comes back into his life after a school reunion and his world gets turned upside down.

Amy is also different than she was as a teenager. She’s less confident, less secure. If fact, she and Will seem to have switched places. She’s downtrodden because of what her life has thrown at her and needs Will to help her find the strength she once had.

This second part of the story is also a reflection of Will’s change in demeanour. It rockets along at an incredible pace – never letting up as Amy has revelation after revelation for Will and events push them towards one of the most dramatic climaxes I’ve ever written.

If people were saying that Kissed by a Rose should have been a movie, God only knows what they’ll make of this. Yesterday I started reviewing chapter 22 and raced through to the end (chapter 51 and an epilogue) unable to stop myself reading it. It just carried me along and I had no say in the matter.

Like I said, I know it’s bad form to talk up your own work like this – but I can’t help it. And I know that every writer thinks the last thing he wrote is the best thing he’s ever written – but this really is the best thing I’ve ever written. By far. Even the villain of the piece – John – leaves you feeling for him and understanding what he’s gone through and why he is like he is.

I cannot wait to see what the publisher makes of it. I hope they like it even half as much as I do. And I can’t wait to get it ‘out there’ so you can all read it and then I hope you like it too.

I’m feeling pretty elated right now. Long may it last.

Friday, 9 October 2009

To Kindle, or not to Kindle, that is the Question

I know, I know, I’ve been a bit of a bad boy the past week or so in terms of keeping up with the blog. Not a single, solitary entry. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to write about, it’s just that I haven’t been able to find the time to write it.

Okay, that’s not 100% true. You’ll see why in a second.

Work has been  bit crazy this week which has left me shattered when I get home. Add to that a very active almost-4-year-old running around the house and a wifey who’s not in the best health and is miserable because of it, and my ‘alone’ time (usually after everyone else has gone to bed) suddenly becomes very, very precious.

And I’ve been using that ‘alone’ time to do some reading instead of writing. A waste of time? No, not in the slightest. A good writer is first a good reader and I haven’t been doing nearly enough reading in recent months. So I’ve been catching up. I’ve also been slowly working my way through the first draft of Eternally & Evermore – tweaking, adding, cutting and generally turning it into a more polished second draft.

Now, I love a good book. Something solid that you can hold in your hand. Something you can feel, smell and drop in the bath once in a while (yes, I’ve dropped books in the bath before now). But, much of what I’m reading is currently published electronically and I really don’t fancy printing it all out. Reading on the laptop is not the most comfortable thing to do, though. Which leaves me with a problem. My new phone has helped. It’s a G1 – a Google android phone – and so I can use it to read e-books on – even if the screen is a bit on the small side. Let’s just say it’s not an ideal solution.

This is why I’m quite excited by Amazon’s realisation that there is indeed a world beyond the USA and their long-awaited release of the Kindle to the UK market. Okay, so it has to be shipped in from the US, we have to pay import taxes and it only comes with a US power adaptor, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

So, now, I have a dilemma. Do I get one? Do I become a UK ‘early adopter’? Because, honestly, I’m fairly happy reading on my phone. But it does drain the battery something terrible and that screen on the Kindle does look much bigger and easier to read.

But then there’s the fact that the Kindle is tied to the Kindle store. The tie-in to iTunes is the reason I didn’t buy an iPod or iPhone, so can I justify buying a similarly tied-in reading device?

I honestly don’t know. I’m tempted to wait a year. Prices will fall in that time, won’t they? But they said that about iPods and Apple were able to constantly change the device to keep it as a ‘premium’ product. So will the other e-readers fall in price? The Sony reader hasn’t shown any signs of a price drop yet.

I honestly don’t quite know what to do. But I must admit that getting myself a Christmas present this year is very, very tempting.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Guest Blogging at Virtual Romance and Erotic Book Tour

I'm guest blogging today at the Virtual Romance and Erotic Book Tour, where I'm talking about what it's like to be a man writing in a genre dominated by women.

You can read the post here

Monday, 28 September 2009

Guest Post – Remmy Duchene - “Women Writing Gay Love and other Stuff”

First, I'd like to say a very big thank you to Marc for letting me crash his blog for today. I am very, very honoured. And I promise not to set the joint on fire lol. I am Remmy Duchene and I write gay romance er erotica...well I write gay romance with a touch of erotica. I try to focus mostly on the love and emotions of the characters then toss in a little naughtiness.

Alot of you may know that I am also Tigra-Luna LeMar and I write both M/M and M/F erotica. Most of you also know that I am female. I have been asked why I began writing m/m romance/erotica in the first place and I always told them. I have gay friends who have had my back in all the m/f content I've written over the years. They have been there reading, critiquing, editing, laughing etc and one day one of them asked if I could write something for them. I started out with "All He Wants For Christmas" a very short love story. But that wasn't the only reason why I started, I started because I've read a few other m/m out of curiosity and found that most people write gay men as horny little perverts who would sleep with anything on two feet.

That bothered me because I know a lot of gay men and they are NOT like that. They hurt and fall in love just like heterosexuals do. They have the same hardships in relationships such as financial and emotional and after working at a centre for abused women and gay men, I know they have the same kinda of drama when it comes to abuse. So why shouldn't they have stories that show them as sexy, romantic, loving, funny people? I write a strange kind of Erotica for m/m. My stories, I hope, shows gay men in a way that give them new life. It shows them getting their heart broken. I don't write flaming gays I write gay men who are strong and know what they want in life. They fall in love and tease and be teased.

Now for the reason for this blog, the topic of women writing gay romance/erotica. I've been asked how can I, as a woman, write gay romance and it's really quite simple. After speaking to my gay friends about the dynamics of what goes where I simple put in the emotion that I, as a woman feel, in certain situations. Emotions are the same in humans, we all love, hurt, get angry, throw tantrums, fight, deal with loss, anguish - the are the same emotions. Now we handle them differently and I have to figure out how a man would handle said situation but that's about it. Love is love people, no matter who its toward.

If my heart is broken, I feel angry at first that someone would dare do that to me, then I feel sad that someone would dare do that to me, then depressed that someone would dare do that to me then eventually I get over it. If i feel particularly naughty I would go to a club where I know my ex-frequent and bring with me a rather HOT date and make the bastard jealous. That's the emotions I put into my men when I write m/m.

Someone asked me last weekend which of my men is the woman and I took offense to that. I didn't even know I took it so seriously but I was livid. Ok, as a woman, I know what a woman is - I know what she looks like, what body parts she has, what she feels when certain things happen to her and trust me, my men is not like that. When I write m/m I dont think which one of these guys is the woman. How offensive is that? I write two men - two men who love each other. Simple no? In a gay relationship there is no 'woman.'

Keep it in the Closet by Remmy DucheneAbout my writing. I have some short stories with different publishing houses. With Red Rose Publishing I have All He Wants For Christmas, Caribbean Heat. With Dreamspinner Press I have For Your Love, Hadrian (A part of the Sandals and Sodomy Anthology), The Caldwell Effect. I've self published (with Red Eclipse Writers) Keep It In The closet, Bad Santa. With Phaze I have Saddle Up N Ride! My Coming soon list is rather short - coming November to Loose Id is my first novella REDEMPTION. I just finished writing my second novella titled Cage Fighter's Salvation.

You can find me on the web at my website, my blog at, myspace and on facebook!

Thanks for stopping by and thanks to Marc of hosting me!

hugs and be blessed

Remmy Duchene

Don’t contradict yourself now

Ever since Charlotte’s Secret was released last year, I’ve said I’m happy with Phaze and wasn’t particularly interested in looking for an alternative publisher. As long as they are happy to publish my work, I’m happy to stay with them. But a respected fellow writer is a big advocate of ‘spreading yourself around’ and having ‘irons in more than one publishers fire’ so I thought I’d look through some of the submission guidelines for other publishers and one of them, I must admit, made me smile.

On page five of one publisher guidelines, in a bullet point section headed “Submission Tips from Editors”, is the following piece of advice.

  • Originality: not the same plot elements and character types I can find in a hundred books.

Which is, I think, a very good piece of advice and something I certainly strive for – after all, I’m “the man that get’s it”, right? I’m different. I stand out from the crowd. So, yeah, originality is pretty important to me.


Three pages later there are more ‘Tips’ this time from a named person, who I assume is either an author or an editor. It’s a numbered list and here are three of those tips.

  • (2) Strong heroines are a must.
  • (5) Don’t always write perfect heroines
  • (6) Heroes are always tall, masculinely handsome (never pretty), muscular, and well-endowed. It
    doesn’t matter who his heroine is…the hero is always yummy.

Now, lets ignore for a second that I’m not even sure that ‘maculinely’ is a real word (and is certainly one I’m having trouble wrapping my tongue around) can I just ask what happened to the plea for originality of a few pages earlier? How can you write something original if the guidelines are prescribing the type of hero and heroine to write?

That said, I don’t have too much of an issue with numbers (2) and (5). Strong yet vulnerable and not perfect heroines are certainly more interesting that the drop dead gorgeous supermodel of a heroine who never does anything wrong and always gets her way. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that they are something of a speciality of mine. Charlotte (Charlotte’s Secret), Beth (Lost & Found) and Chloe (Kissed by a Rose) are all strong attractive women with faults or fears that they have to overcome. Hell, even my first ‘proper’ romantic heroine, Kelly (Reunion), turns out that way.

But I would take issue with point (6) (big surprise there then). None of my heroes have been tall, handsome, muscular and well-endowed. (Okay, maybe well-endowed, although I don’t think I ever actually mention it) In fact, all of my heroes have been ‘ordinary’ men. Hell, in my next book, Eternally & Evermore, I’ve even described the hero, Will, as ‘slightly balding’ on more than one occasion. You see, it’s my belief that it’s a man’s actions that are important and not what he looks like. And haven’t women been saying the same about their gender for years? It’s my aim to make my readers fall in love with my heroes because they are the type of man they would want in their life and not because they are Brad Pitt clones with giant dicks.

Or perhaps I’m going about this Romance thing in the wrong way and I should conform to the accepted norms.

But anyway, those of you who know me will understand why I had to smile when I saw these particular guidelines calling for originality but then setting rules about the people you’re supposed to be original with. There’s nothing like a good contradiction.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Starting Something New

First of all, I’d like to thank Cassie for her excellent post last Friday. When  I decided I was going to open up this blog to guest posters I knew she would be the first.  She’s a star. To think, we first met back in June 2004. That’s like, five years ago. Shit, how time flies.

I’m still looking for guest bloggers by the way. If you’re interested, let me know and we’ll see how we can help each other.

Anyway, to other matters. Although I’m still working my way through the first draft of Eternally & Evermore to turn it into a second draft that I can actually submit, I’m also working on the next story. I may have mentioned it before but I’ll fill you in on it a bit more now. Of course, this is just the outline plan right now, and things are bound to change as I write it – that’s just what happens. It’s how I write.

As yet untitled, I’m referring to it as either Dylan (being the central character) or Milkwood (being the place he lives). It’s essentially a re-write of the very first novel I ever attempted to write. A novel I never finished. You can read the original version of the story on StoriesOnline where it’s called The College by the Sea. It ends rather abruptly though so be warned.

But don’t be fooled. Just like Eternally & Evermore was intended as a re-write of Reunion and turned out to be very, very different, I have already made changes to the planned plot and some of the characters that will mean this new book will be just as different from the original attempt as E&E is from Reunion.

The central character retains the same name – Dylan Thomas. And yes, that is deliberate. As is the fact he is from Swansea and that he is living in a university hall of residence called Milkwood. But his character and history will be altered.

We join Dylan as he arrives at Westmouth University as a fresher (or freshman, if you’re American) and settles into to his new home. I think this may prove to be a very ambitious story. The cast of characters will be the largest I have dealt with to this point and probably ever will deal with. And some of the characters will be the most complex and difficult to ‘get right’ that I’ve attempted – which is saying something given the fine lines I’ve had to walk with the likes of The Colonel from Lost & Found, Chloe from Kissed by a Rose and Amy from Eternally & Evermore.

At the start of the book, Dylan will have his heart broken by his girlfriend – who is attending a different university and dumps him by SMS message. The rest of the plot will be about Dylan’s search for the person who can put his heart back together – not realising until he’s about to lose her that he was looking in all the wrong places and she was actually there all along.

Maybe that could be a title – Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places.

I don’t know. Bit long. We’ll see.

This is all very cryptic right now because I’m loathe to give too much away too soon. I’m already seven chapters and ten thousand words into the story, so it’s going well. One thing I will say is that this story is set two years after the events of Kissed by a Rose and it could well be that Chloe Goodman, who’ll be in her final year at the university, could make a guest appearance at some point. At least, that’s the plan.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Guest Post – Please Welcome Cassie Exline

Hello, my name is Cassie Exline. I'd like to thank Marc for asking me to be his first guest. I'm honoured. In 2004, Marc and I met at Desdmona's FishTank, a critique group for writers of erotica. What's unique about the Tank is that the members are from all over the globe and at different stages in their writing career. Add to the mix different genders and there's bound to be explosions. lol But it's that interaction with peers and seeing what the other writers glean from your work that is priceless. Oh I'm not saying that my toes were never stepped on or I never got bent out of shape by some of the comments, but it taught me to step back and be more objective about my story (after anger management classes and they took away my baseball bat – lol).

What I learned from Marc and other members from the UK is there is a big difference in English. lol But what we from the United States don't realize is how authors from other countries have to work hard to blend with our way of writing stories. By “our” I mean publishing houses in the U.S. Nor did I consider that a male writer could have trouble fitting into the world of romance authors. Although I don't think Marc is having any trouble in that area. Don't get me started on the time difference, Lord have mercy.

But I do credit the Tank with helping me get my start and for my success in getting my work published. I think every author should participate in such a group. It's a valuable, valuable experience. And I still participate in the group. It'll always be home base for me.

Since then, I've had several stories published at Ruthie's Club, The Erotic Woman, Justus Roux, and the Erotic Bookworm. Also one of my stories is in one of the Coming Together anthologies at Phaze.

treeofburiedsecrets133x200My first ebook, Tree of Buried Secrets, published by Lyrical Press, had its start at the Tank. I worked hard on researching for that story, things from a widow's walk, Victorian mansions to apple trees and wine. Research is one of my favourite things to do, next to writing. Tree was also named Book of the Week at LASR and it came in #20 in a Preditors and Editors poll in the best contemporary romance category.

A dark night. A terrible tragedy. A buried secret.

On the night of her elopement, Julia witnesses a tragedy that spawns generations of secrets. For too long she's managed to remain silent. Only when Julia is unable to carry her burden any longer does she dare confess what she saw that one dark night decades ago…

Amber's Mysterious Death has just been released and is the first book of my new Sheryl Locke Holmes Mystery series available at Wild Child Publishing. Three more books of the series are also under contract: Ruby's Deadly Secret, Opal's Disappearance, and Dragon's Pearl. Each title features a gemstone which is also the name of a character. Whether the character is good or bad, lives or dies, well, you'll have to read the series to find the clues. Sheryl has excellent deductive skills and was born to be a cop, but her parents wanted her to take over the family antique business. With the help of Sheryl's best friend, Dot Watson, they've found a way to mix business with chills and thrills.


In Amber's Mysterious Death: Amber was Sheryl's and Dot's best friend in college. The three were inseparable. The game's afoot when Sheryl spots Amber's husband, Roger. The man had disappeared without a trace after Amber's death, leaving numerous unanswered questions. With the help of Dot, Sheryl follows Roger and a trail of amber jewellery which leads to duplicity, mayhem, and murder.

Ruby's Deadly Secret: While exploring Bridgeside, a Victorian mansion, Sheryl and Dot discover a diary, which reveals dark secrets about Sheryl's parents. Someone wants Sheryl dead, but who and why?

Opal's Disappearance: An old college friend begs Sheryl to help find her missing cousin, Opal, who may have been kidnapped by a mysterious mountain man. Sheryl concocts a dangerous plan when she offers herself as bait for the kidnapper.

Dragon's Pearl: Blood on the moon signifies death for some unlucky victim. A haunted music box and a ghost keep Sheryl and her cohorts on their toes.

Work In Progress: The Curse of Jade's Bluff. Logic dictates that a curse is ludicrous. But Sheryl is ready to throw logic out the window when a stalker manages to leave her threatening notes, dead flowers, and knows her every move, yet no one ever sees him. Sheryl wonders if she'll escape with her life this time.

Please visit my website and check out all of my releases. There are also free stories to read. I'm also on Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Busy Boy

I’ve got a few irons in the fire I’d like to tell you about, just in case you might be interested.

First off, I’ve been asked to do an interview for Mistress Bella. I’m not sure when the interview will appear on her interview blog yet, but when I have a date, I’ll let you all know. Also for Mistress Bella, I’ll be appearing as a guest blogger on her Author Corner site. Again, I don’t have a date yet, but I’ll keep you informed on that one.

Finally for Mistress Bella, I'll be hosting an hour of her “Trick-or-Treat Bash” this coming October 31st. My hour will be 5-6 pm EST, which I think equates to 9-10pm GMT because of the clocks over here going back on October 25th. If I’m wrong then the slot will be 10-11pm UK time – but as we get closer to the date I’ll confirm exactly what the time it will be here in Blighty. After all, it wouldn’t do for me to turn up an hour late or early.

I’ve also been booked to appear at the Virtual Romance Book Tour Blog on October 3rd, where I’ll be talking about what it’s like to be a man in the woman’s world of romance writing. This will also lead to me hosting a guest blogger here on my blog and then guest blogging at another (as yet unknown) author’s blog.

Also, I’m chatting at the Love Romances Cafe Yahoo! group all day today, so look out for me there and say hi.

If anyone reading this fancies hosting me as a guest blogger on their blog, I’m always open to that, and I’ll naturally return the favour with a guest spot right here.

In writing terms, I’ve begun working on the second draft of Eternally & Evermore. I’m already twelve chapters in (out of currently 51) and I must say I’ve surprised myself just how little I have wanted to change. That either means I wrote it very well to begin with or I’m blind to what needs putting right. I don’t know which.

Don’t forget, you can keep up with my daily Tweets by following me on Twitter or subscribing to my Twitterchive blog. My stream features random thoughts throughout my working day, some bizarre twitpics, links to things around the internet, and several RSS feeds from blogs and other sources I find interesting.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

“A Man Who Gets It” or Intelligent Erotic Romance

Anyone who’s visited my website or looked at the signature of my e-mails will have noticed that for the past year or so I’ve been claiming to be “Turning Romance on its Head”. That’s been my strap line. I changed it from “The Known Unknown”. Why? Cause sometimes you need to freshen things up.

“The Known Unknown” was all right as an introduction strap line. It came, of course, from the famous Donald Rumsfeld speech in which he blabbered on about known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns – confusing the hell out of everyone who heard him. For me, “The Known Unknown” was an acknowledgement that I was a relatively new kid on the block in terms of the erotic romance publishing world and that a lot of people wouldn’t know who I was or what I did.

Plus, it sounded sort of cool.

“Turning Romance on its Head” was born out of my belief that I was offering something different. Let’s face facts, romance and erotic romance is dominated by women. Women authors, women readers and women characters. You tend to find that the point of view character in romance and erotic romance novels is the female lead (or heroine, if you prefer). Except in the M/M genre, obviously. And the hero is often mysterious and the reader is never quite sure about them or what they are thinking or feeling.

On the other hand, Kissed by a Rose, which was the impending release when I took on the new line, was told entirely from the male lead’s (or hero’s) point of view. Indeed, in that book it is Chloe, the heroine, who is the mysterious one and the one the reader is never quite sure about. Adam, the hero, has his thoughts and feelings laid bare to the reader throughout.

I took the stereotype of the romance novel and turned it on its head. Not only that, but Adam is a different type of romantic hero too – almost the exact opposite of the stereotype.

So the strap line “Turning Romance on its Head” seemed appropriate. But now I think it’s time for a new strap line. My website is in need of a refresh and so it seems like a good time to affect the change. But what to change it to – that, my friends, is the question.

I’ve been invited to take part in the Romance and Erotic Book blog tour on October 3rd and I’ve already written my piece for it. I had the opportunity to write about anything I felt like so I wrote about being a man in a woman’s world. And in the piece I've hinted that I may switch the strap line to “A Man Who Gets It.” This is a reference to the review of Kissed by a Rose by Acquanetta Ferguson for the San Diego Examiner. In it she says…

Bottom line, this is a well written romance written by a man who gets it.

Also, “A Man Who Gets It” could be taken to mean… well, you know…

But then, yesterday, Juggleboy made a comment on my blog post in which he said…

Your writing is intelligent romance/erotica for a new generation of readers

Which flattered me somewhat. And I have to admit I like the sound of it. So how about a strap line along the lines of  “Intelligent Erotic Romance”? Or “Intelligent Romance for a New Generation”? Or something like “Intelligent. Sexy. Romantic.”

Lot’s of options then and I’ll admit, I’m torn and I really don’t know which I’ll go with. So any feedback you may have would be appreciated.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Flailing in the Wind

That’s just what I’ve been doing the past few weeks. Flitting from one pastime to the next, never really concentrating on one thing. Some days I’ll tweet like mad, others I’ll personally tweet nothing (although my twitterfeeds make it look like I’m still around). I might be playing video games with Jr one day and taking him for a bike ride the next. I’ve been all over the web looking at all sorts of sites. I’ve read a whole bunch of stuff, all of it as diverse as I think it could possibly be.

And I’ve avoided blogging, which is why I’ve provided a few excerpts from my books instead.

The whole point of this is to clear my head. I want my head free of clutter when I come to tackle the second draft of Eternally & Evermore before I submit it to Phaze. And I think I’m just about there. I think I’m just about ready to open the manuscript up and start hacking away at the fat and adding in those details.

I think.

All this flailing and flitting I’ve been doing has opened my eyes to a few things that I hadn’t really considered before. And it’s taken me odd routes to get there. Let me try and explain one of them.

I’ve read a couple of stories by a popular author on the SOL website who writes very, very sweet romances. Sickly sweet sometimes but they are nice to read nonetheless. (Damn I love my new Android phone that means I can finally read e-books on the go – not to mention get on the internet. I digress)

This particular author is very, very easy to read – which is perhaps why he’s so popular. But there is one thing he does which annoys the hell out of me as a reader. Not enough for me to stop reading – I’ve managed to blank myself out to it most of the time – but it’s still annoying. In his dialogue he has a habit of using bold characters to show which words the character speaking is putting emphasis on. Now, this annoys me for two reasons. First, emphasis should be shown with italics not bold, but that’s just formatting. Second, I’d like to think that I’m an intelligent enough reader to be able to work out how the character has said those words, and which words he is stressing, without the author shoving it down my throat. I’d like to think that the author can credit me and his other readers with that intelligence.

This, however, has forced me to look at my own writing. I like to think that I do credit my readers with a fair bit of intelligence and I’d like to think that ninety-nice percent of the time I can trust them to read a characters speech in the way I’m hearing the character say those words in my head as I write them. Only very rarely do I use italics to put stress on a particular word in a piece of dialogue – and then only when I think it’s too important to risk the reader getting the stress of the sentence wrong.

Then I thought about this attitude and considered that perhaps the author above is correct. Why? Consider this. Let’s say you gave two talented artists who paint in a similar style a piece of narrative to read describing a particular scene and then asked them draw a picture of the place the scene takes place in. What are the chances they will draw the exact same picture. Slim to none, I’d wager. The two drawings might be similar and I’d hope that the particular elements that the writer wrote about would all be in the correct place and look the same, but all the other details – the filler that the writer didn’t feel the need to describe – would be different in both pictures because the artist's minds would have filled in the details differently based on their own experiences.

And I’d be willing to also bet that if the original writer of the scene drew the same picture – the one that was in his head as he wrote – it would be different again.

So if this is true for scenery, why not dialogue? Can I possibly be right to assume that all readers will hear the words my characters are speaking in the same way that I am hearing them being spoken? Probably not. I only have to listen to Stephen Fry read the Harry Potter novels to know that he speaks the dialogue differently from how I hear it in my head when I read. And chances are it’s different to the way JKR hears the dialogue in her head too.

So maybe I should be showing where the emphasis in a sentence is more often when my characters speak because surely the way in which they speak affects the way in which the reader views them just as much as what they actually say.

Or maybe I shouldn’t. After all, I do like to think that I can credit my readers with enough intelligence to know the meaning behind what my characters say and so be able to work out for themselves how it's said. It’s a tricky one. I don’t think this winding path my thoughts have taken me down will affect the way I write – except maybe encourage me to describe the scenery in more detail – but it has been helpful to justify to myself what I am currently doing.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

A New Excerpt from “Kissed by a Rose”

Here’s the last of the excerpts from my Phaze publications. This one is from Kissed by a Rose and it’s an excerpt that’s never appeared on this blog before. Like the one from Lost & Found at the weekend, this is an Adults Only excerpt featuring graphic descriptions of sexual activities – so don’t read it if you are likely to be offended.

Kissed by a Rose is available Phaze Books, Fictionwise, All Romance e-books and other online book stores. It is also available for your Kindle or mobipocket device. In this excerpt, Chloe decides to enlist Adam's help in a home-made Porn Movie.



"Who'd have thought tears in the library could change your life? For Adam Smith it led to love. But when your girlfriend is the latest English Rose to grace the silver screen, life's not going to be easy. Hounded by the press, autograph hunters at every turn, she's his power, his pleasure and his pain. An addiction he can't deny. The more he gets, the stranger he feels.

But a student and a superstar just don't mix. Do they? They're from two different worlds. Aren't they?

And remember what the song says: Every Rose has its Thorn."


She opened the door and greeted him from behind a small video camera.

"What's that for?" he asked.

"I figured it was time we made our video. We probably won't get a chance over the next few weeks."

"You are joking, I hope."


"But… But… What if… You know. What if it gets stolen or something? Like what happened to Nikki Mount."

"But it won't. You don't actually think that someone broke into Nikki's house and stole the tape or DVD or whatever, do you? She leaked it. For the publicity. I don't know about you—well, actually I do because you wouldn't—but I don't plan to leak this. I don't want pictures of me getting my jollies all over the papers again, thank you very much. It was bad enough the first time."

Adam was still sceptical about the whole idea. "Where did you get the camera from? I thought you didn't have one?"

"It was Humphrey's idea. He wants me to do a daily video blog on YouTube. He says it's the closest we'll get to rubbing shoulders with the L.A. set. It's state of the art—uses a memory card instead of a tape so it's easier to transfer to the computer. At least, that's what the Humphrey says. He's a techno-geek. A bit like you, actually. I was sort of hoping…"

"You want me to help you post the blog?"

"Do you mind?"

"Of course not. Give it here then, let me have a gander." Chloe handed over the tiny camera. It was no bigger than his iPod and fit neatly into his palm. It was small enough to be unobtrusive even with the LCD screen folded out. "This is so cool."

"See—techno-geek." Chloe grinned. "So, how do we start?"

Adam gulped. "Erm… I suppose closing the door and getting out of the hallway would be a good move."


Not really meaning it, Adam said, "Sure. Why not every room in the house while we're at it?"

"That's a great idea. We could have a multi episode thing. Let's start in the kitchen. I've always wanted to do it in the kitchen—I don't know why we haven't before. I mean, it's not like it gets used for anything else, is it?"

"It thought it was our alcohol storage facility."

"Well, there is that." She took his hand, pulled him into the hall and slammed the front door shut. Then she winked and said, "Be sure to keep that camera rolling. It says we're got about an hour of storage on that card—that should be plenty."

"You're the boss."

"You better believe it, buster. Now train that lens on my arse."

"Yes, Ma'am."

Chloe led the way along the corridor, exaggerating the swing of her hips for the camera. Before she entered the kitchen, she turned and blew a kiss at Adam. Once inside, she pulled her T-shirt over her head.

"Hey, slow down," said Adam. "It's called a strip tease. Take it slowly. Tease the camera."

She threw the T-shirt on the floor. "The camera? Or you?"

Adam tried to keep the camera still as he shrugged. "Both I suppose. No! Leave your bra on for now. Take your skirt off instead. But do it slowly. That's it. Turn around. Oh yeah, Come on, baby—shake that booty for me. That's nice. Now, keep still—let's get a good look at that lovely tattoo of yours." Adam zoomed in on the butterfly inked onto Chloe's hip. He held the camera steady and reached out to stroke the tattoo. "I really like this—have I told you that?"

"Not since yesterday." Chloe wiggled her hips against his hand.

"You've got a nice arse too, you know. Very—" He grabbed a handful of her buttock. "—grabbable."

"Says you. I think it's a bit too big."

"Oh no, it's just the right size." He zoomed out and stepped back. "Okay. Let's get a good look at you. Do that whole posing thing."

"You mean this?" Chloe made a few exaggerated poses, holding each one for a few seconds, blowing kisses at the camera and then shifting to another.

"Man, that's hot. If the Academy members could see this—"

"They'd never vote for me. So it's a good job they never will. Now…" She turned her back to the camera and unclasped her bra. "Let's move things along shall we?"

"Fine by me. Get `em off. But just the bra for now. Let's get those lovely tits on film shall we?"

"You're really getting into this, aren't you?" Chloe giggled. "You know, I think I like it when you talk about me like that. It feels… I don't know. Dirty."

"Dirty? That's what you want is it? Okay, babes. I'll show you just how dirty I can get. Now, you do know the general plot of these gonzo flicks, don't you?"

"What flicks?"

"Gonzo. It's what they call this type of porn when the cameraman talks to the performer."

"Oh. No, I didn't know they had a plot. It's just fucking, mostly."

"It's dead simple," he said. "First, you get naked—we're well on the way with that one. Squeeze your tits for me, will you. That's it. Then you have to suck my cock. Then I lick your cunt—"

Chloe gasped. "I can't believe you said that!"

"Said what?"

"The `C'-word."

"You mean `Cunt'? I thought you wanted it dirty. It doesn't get much dirtier."

"Ohhh. So you want to lick my… my cunt?" She covered her mouth with her hand. "God, I'm a fucking dirty bitch." She giggled. "I like this talking dirty stuff."

"Of course I want to, I'd do it all day long you'd let me—"

"I might hold you to that one day."

"—but the point is that we have to do it as part of the plot."

"It's not really what I'd call a plot—more a sequence of events."

"Whatever. Are you going to let me finish? Or is this video going to turn into a debate on the relative merits of porno plots?"

Chloe stuck her tongue out at him and squeezed her breasts together.

"Thank you. The final act in our sequence of events is that we fuck in as many positions as we can manage before I blow my wad over your face."

"Do you have to? You know I'm not keen on that. It's all sticky. Can't we do a… what did you call it? A creampie instead?"

"Whatever—it's your movie."

"Yes. It is and I've decided to change the script." She turned her back on Adam and the camera and bent over to remove her underpants. Adam zoomed in on her pussy as soon as it was exposed. He had to zoom out again when Chloe lay down and parted her legs. She rubbed her clit, slipped a finger between her labia, and played with herself as Adam zoomed in for a close-up.

"Tongue! Here! Now!"

"Yes, Ma'am."

Adam tried to aim the camera as he licked Chloe's pussy. "Give me that," she said, taking the camera from him. "You're far better when you use twoooo—see what I mean. God, that's nice."

Adam used his tongue and fingers to bring Chloe to climax. He wasn't convinced that she'd done a good job of capturing his efforts for posterity—but he didn't much care. He was looking forward to the second act, and he'd make damn sure he got that on film.

"Okay, Sweets, give me the camera. You'll need both hands for your performance."

Chloe sat up and shook her head. "Oh no you don't, buster. You got to see me do a striptease—"

"It wasn't much of striptease, to be fair."

"I don't care. I stripped for you—you strip for me."

"No way! You don't expect me to dance around in my kegs do you?"

"No, not at all. I didn't ask you to go all Chippendales on me. Just get your kit off, nice and slow." She pointed the camera at him. "You can start with that shirt. One button at a time."

Adam felt like an idiot as he took his clothes off to Chloe's direction. Unbuttoning his shirt and slipping it off wasn't too bad, but he was sure that no-one in the history of western civilisation had ever look dignified or sexy taking off their shoes and socks. Chloe instructed him to rip open his button fly as hard as he could. It was a good job the denim was tough or he might have ripped his jeans. Finally, he kicked the jeans off his ankles and stepped out of them. His erection was causing a sizable lump in his boxers. He hooked his thumbs into his waistband and prepared to pull them down over his cock.

"Wait!" said Chloe. "Let me." She stepped forward, the camera trained on his lumpy shorts, and reached out to grab his waistband. She pulled the elastic away from his body and pointed the camera inside. "Oh, well wouldn't you know. It fills up the whole screen. Mind you that's not the only thing it fills up."

She struggled to pull his boxers down with one hand while keeping the other steady. Adam held her hand holding the camera. "Here, let me take over now."

She slipped the camera into his hand and he kept it pointing at the action as she yanked down his shorts. She held his cock in one hand and rested the other on his thigh. Then she turned to face the camera. Adam moved it away to keep her in focus.

She glanced up at him and smiled her million dollar smile then looked back at the camera and, in her best interview voice, said, "Good afternoon, everyone. Do you know what we're going to learn today?" She paused, as if waiting for suggestions. "That's right! Today, we're going to learn all about Blowjobs."

Adam chuckled. "So we're doing an educational video now are we?"

Chloe nodded. "Yes. It's called The Goodman Guide to Great Sex."

"But I didn't do a commentary on my scene."

"Never mind, we'll just have to shoot it again, later. Not to worry, re-shooting a scene often happens on a movie set."

Adam couldn't help but laugh at her tone. She sounded like Dr. Banks on one of her condescending days.

She looked up at Adam and said seriously, "Do you mind, Mr. Smith. You're making your penis bounce and the camera shake."

Adam smirked. "Sorry, Miss Goodman."

"And so you should be, or I'll find another subject to demonstrate on." She winked at him and whispered, "You know I wouldn't really find anyone else, don't you?"

He nodded and whispered back, "Yes, but don't whisper things at me or you'll spoil the illusion for the viewers."

"We are the viewers. Or will be at any rate."

"Just get on with it."

Chloe faced the camera once more and resumed her professional tone. "Now, the first step to a truly exceptional blowjob is to ensure that the recipient's penis is good and hard. As you can see…" She squeezed Adam's cock tightly. "This one is quite ready. Rather than dive straight in, it's best to tease the penis first. Like this…" She delicately licked the tip of his knob. He shivered.

Chloe looked into the camera again. "I find that the most sensitive part of the penis is underneath the foreskin. Here…" She peeled back the loose skin that covered Adam's glans. The cockhead was dark red and shone in the kitchen's bright halogen spot-lights. Chloe raked a fingernail along the ridge at the base of the knob-end. Adam gasped. "That camera shake was caused by the reaction of my subject. Watch again. See, men are at your mercy in this position. Next, take the whole of this bell-end into your mouth and suck. Like so."

Chloe's soft, warm lips felt good around his knob. Adam closed his eyes and enjoyed the sensation of her tongue poking at his urethra opening, wiping away the pre-ejaculate that was seeping from it.

"All that's left now, is to take as much of the penis into one's mouth as is possible, and suck vigorously until the man climaxes. I'll show you."

She sucked him into her mouth until her nose brushed his pubic hair. Then she pulled part way back and dove forward again. From then on, she was relentless. Her head twisted as she moved back and forth. Her lips pressed tightly against his shaft and she sucked him. It was as if she was trying to extract his come as quickly and cleanly as she could. Adam recognised the tell-tale signs of his approaching release and tapped Chloe's shoulder with his free hand—the code they developed to warn her of what was imminent.

Chloe pulled away from him, but continued to wank him. "At this point, with your subject on the verge of orgasm, you have to decide if you are going to allow him to ejaculate in your mouth, or over your body. I'd recommend in the mouth, as even if one chooses not to swallow, it's easy to dispose—"

"Too late." Adam jerked his hips against her hand as he thin ribbons of come shot from the end of his cock and landed on Chloe's cheek, shoulder and breasts. "Aw, man. Chloe, that was awesome."

"And that," Chloe said to camera, "is the sort of praise you can expect for your efforts. That and a damn good shafting afterwards—but that's for another episode."


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