Authors needed for Friday Featured Author spot

wantedAre you an author looking for some additional publicity for your latest book?

I host guest authors every Friday – any genre, both traditionally and self-published.

The post can take one of three formats: author interview, book excerpt or a guest post on any aspect of writing, publishing, or book marketing.

Sign up is on a first-come-first-served basis, though I do have a few Tuesday openings to accommodate special requests for dates related book tours, book releases or cover reveals. (Click the Featured Authors link to check out past authors.)

I have a few dates in April as well as all of May (and beyond) open.

If you are interested, send me a message along with any date requests, and we’ll take it from there.

Check out these past authors.

Guest Post – Candy Korman The Mary Shelley Game (thriller)

Excerpt – Louise Wise Eden (sci-fi romance)

Interview – Connie B. Dowell The Orchid Caper (humor/young adult)

 

Excerpts from Books Released in 2016

In 2016, I hosted 52 authors on my weekly Featured Author spot (to sign up for 2017, contact me) and quite a few more authors for book tours or new release announcements. Since I hope many people received new tablets or e-readers this past holiday season, I thought I would post some excerpts of the books that came out in 2016.

I have sorted them by genre and included just the first few paragraphs of the excerpt. If it intrigues you, read more by clicking the link. A link to purchase the book is included with the rest of the excerpt. Please enjoy! (And if you are an author and want to be featured, please let me know!)

Fantasy

Elves: Battle at Baader Hill by Danny Williams

Aken slipped out from behind the hedge. He felt naked as only intermittent darkness cloaked his movement. He wondered if going in a straight line would be better or trying to sneak to the objective by going from shadow to shadow. Just then a figure moved out from the hedge and he came face to face with a mercenary. But the flickering firelight revealed him to be a boy about his own age. Fear and surprise glistened in his face. For a moment Aken thought he recognized him as one of his school friends “Kill him!” buzzed Merlin’s voice in Aken’s head.

Aken’s sudden reaction to Merlin’s orders to draw his sword prompted the other boy to action. He pulled his own sword and swung it overhand in an attempt to cleft Aken in twain. Fortunately, Aken was quick to mostly block the blow with his own blade which caught Aken on the top of the head with enough force to draw blood. The pain was sharp and at the same time terrifying because there was someone at arm’s length trying to kill him. Aken swung his sword in a clumsy arc that glanced harmlessly off of the boy’s padded shoulder. Blood trickled down Aken’s face from the cut on his scalp; his breath was heavy and fast. Aken blocked another wild swing from the boy and countered with a slash that counted. Aken had swung this sword hundreds of times in practice and it had never felt like it did when the sword cut through actual flesh. The boy let out a scream as the blade cut into his neck, but not deep enough. Aken knew that all the commotion was sure to flush the other mercenaries. (To read more, click here.)

The Circle of Candles by Jessica Rowan

circle-of-candlesGrey wasn’t a young dog. That’s not to say that he was old, certainly not, but he frequently nodded off in front of the television, his joints ached a little more than he would have liked and he definitely preferred to sleep uninterrupted through the night. None of this would stop him from protecting Amy, of course. Nothing would ever stop him from protecting Amy.

So when this not-young but certainly-not-old dog was roused in the middle of the night, he felt just a little bit grumpy. He pulled himself up out of his basket to pace the attic room, tail moving low and slow. He pressed his nose to the wooden floor and sniffed back and forth, casting a furtive glance at the bed. Amy was fast asleep as usual, her tousled hair escaping in blond curls from the top of the duvet, her breathing deep and regular. (To read more, click here.)

Paranormal Romance

Ariel: The First Guardian by Sydney Scrogham

I never wake up and think today’s the day I’m going to get dumped.

February wind chills my shoulders, and I tug the pink and blue patterned quilt snug around me and keep walking. The quilt is soft under my fingertips, smoothed from years of rubbing in my mother’s absence. One of the pink polka dot squares is frayed and flapping free.  I could wear a coat, but it’s a jab against my father to sneak out in just a quilt. He thinks he can control me, but he can’t. He especially can’t control who I’m going to meet. Ryan, a.k.a. saintly pastor’s kid, is the first human being to make me feel like I’m made of more than slime.

The trail under my feet is brown and well-worn from countless walks to the river.  Yellowed grass struggles to survive on either side of my path. My knee-length floral print dress ripples around my legs and my exposed skin prickles where the wind bites. I hate flowery anything. Just seeing my reflection in clothes so feminine puts cinderblocks in my lungs. But this was mom’s hand-me-down. I wish she could’ve met Ryan. He’s reserved his whole day for me today. I can’t stop the stupid smile that smooths over my mouth. Maybe I’ll get kissed for the first time—but do I really want that? (To read more, click here.)

Romance

After the Pain (Latter Rain Series Book 1) by Adrienne Thompson

ATP2_smMy tea cup rattled on its saucer at the sound of his voice. I didn’t dare look up at him as I set the cup down and forced myself not to rush to him and wrap my legs around his waist.

“Thank you, August. Want some tea?” Ms. Dorcas asked.

“Yes, ma’am, I’d love some,” he replied, and then he did something that made my entire body stand at attention; he sat right next to me on the loveseat. From that point on all I could do was sit there and remind myself to breathe as my body temperature began to slowly rise. I shoved my unsteady hands under my thighs and fixed my eyes on the floral-patterned rug beneath my feet. I could smell his sweat, a scent that was beginning to become both familiar and appealing to me, and though I kept my eyes away from him, the image of his face dominated my thoughts. (To read more, click here.)

Science Fiction

Hero, Book 1 of The Hero Rebellion by Belinda Crawford (Book 2 came out in 2016)

It was windy on the foredeck, and cold, but the air smelled like freedom and Fink was warm against Hero’s back.

The ruc-pard purred, a rumble that vibrated from his giant chest into hers, and all the way down to her toes. She snuggled deeper into the hollow between his fore- and mid-quarters, enjoying the feel of his thick winter coat. Golden-red and silky, she sank into it, the hairs brushing her bare arms with every giant breath he took, the longer, coarser hair on his ruff tickling her cheek. Fink’s black, hairless tail wrapped around them both, the heavy weight of it draped across her feet, warming her toes.

Lazy images swam through her mind, carried on the distinct pink and mawberry of Fink’s thoughts – the taste of them sweet, the touch of them a soft fizz winding through her brain. She might have stopped and played for a moment in his memories, if the huge skytowers of Cumulus City weren’t spread across the horizon. (To read more, click here.)

No Net by Noah Nichols

NoNetFCTo her, the glow of the screen was intoxicating. Undeniably addicted, she was glued to her phone almost like an infant would be to its mother’s breast. Anyone who became attached to their device of choice simply couldn’t detach the way a child could. It was a phenomenon that truly overtook the lives of the vast majority.

Twenty-eight-year-old Scott Hadaway was presently being ignored by his mildly younger wife, Gwen, who was comfortably tucked in bed, blissfully unaware of anything in three-dimensional space. Digitally, mentally, physically, and spiritually, her entire being belonged to the black mirror.

“I just don’t understand how you constantly have to have that thing right up to your face,” he said angrily. (To read more, click here.)

Suspense

Jilo by J.D. Horn

“Thank you, Pastor,” Jesse’s mama said, placing her hand on his shoulder. Pastor Jones looked at her, Bible still held high, seeming to deliberate whether or not he should shrug her off and carry on. “I do so appreciate you coming out today,” May added in a sincere tone. Jesse knew his mama, though, and despite her calm demeanor, he knew she’d heard enough. The preacher had been given more than enough time to speak of wheat and chaff and wise virgins with well-trimmed wicks. The look on her face was the one she used when placating anyone in authority—usually the buckra, but occasionally one of their own. “We need to be getting the babies and the old folk out of the sun before one of them falls ill.”

The young man searched her face for a moment, then acquiesced. “Thank you, sister,” he said, taking a step back from the head of the grave. (To read more, click here.)

A Flash of Red by Sarah K. Stephens

afor-front-cover-comp-high-resAnna’s heart skipped a beat in a wave of involuntary fear. There were only two eggs in the refrigerator.

Five minutes before, Anna came down the stairs, perfumed and fully dressed, ready to begin her day. She would make pancakes for her husband, who was still asleep in their bedroom. She would wash fresh raspberries to put on top. She would lay the table with care. All of this to set a pattern of comfortable predictability for Anna, ensuring the day would unfold in a way she could control. But now, everything was skewed by yet another ordinary situation somehow turned inexplicable in Anna’s life. Or at least she preferred to see these blips in her daily horizon as having no reasonable explanation, because the most reasonable explanation of all was unacceptable.

She’d checked last night before going to bed–everything she needed was there. A full carton of eggs, their twelve white orbs nestled neatly in the divots on the side of the refrigerator door. Anna always took them out of their cardboard container after returning from the grocery store and moved them lovingly to their designated place. So where had they gone? (To read more, click here.)

Historical Romance

The Judas Pledge by Margaret Brazear

Her plan was put on hold indefinitely when one morning a messenger arrived on horseback asking to see Richard.  The man seemed to be in a panic and Bethany ordered refreshments for him, but he refused to tell her his message; that was for His Lordship’s ears only.

A few minutes after he had gone, Richard came to join his wife in their bedchamber where she sat on the bed, wondering why the messenger had been so secretive. Her heart sank when she saw he was buckling a sword at his waist.  He strode across the room and took her face in his warm hands, then they dropped to her shoulders and he lifted her to her feet.

“King Edward is dead,” he announced. “Jane Grey has been proclaimed Queen in London.” (To read more, click here.)

Historical Novel

Trade Winds to Meluhha by Vasant Davé

trade windsSwells higher than a man’s height rocked Captain Paravar’s ship. His sailors sniggered as Sam sat at the base of the mast, gripping it like a child hugging its mother. Although he was used to the howling desert winds, he had never heard such ominous rumbling every time the lightning stabbed the darkness. The waves slapped the vessel whose woodwork screeched eerily, making Sam wish he could shut his ears just like his eyes.

Had fate saved him from execution only to drown him at sea? (To read more, click here.)

Young Adult

Ignominy – Chapters of Chargin by MRoyale

Chagrin – The intense feeling of mental unease, as of annoyance or embarrassment, caused by failure, disappointment, or disconcerting events.

When Mr. Aggressive met Ms. Passive (Ace and Ms. Phoenix), it was an all-out get-down-with-ya-bad-self smoking and drinking, do-not-tell kind of party. Soon thereafter, Roxie was born. She was a tiny, sick looking baby at the time of birth. See, Ms. Phoenix hardly ever took care of herself during her pregnancy. How could she?  Especially with all of the mental, emotional, and physical abuse she tolerated from Ace. She barely ate and never took her prescribed prenatal vitamins. She refused to receive the proper medical care she needed when she was pregnant. Ms. P seemed to be hiding bruises and ugly black eyes, under huge designer sunglasses, from all the doctors—knowing that they would alert authorities. Soon thereafter, an unplanned Alex was born. (To read more, click here.)

Today’s Featured Author – Jessica Rowan

Please welcome author Jessica Rowan to my blog. Be sure to check out an excerpt of her book, The Circle of Candles, after this short interview. (Can’t wait to get her book? It is available on Amazon.)

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m British, originally from the south-east of England. I’m currently in central Europe teaching English as a foreign language and carving out time to write and play music (I like to sing and play a little guitar). My writing often revolves around my love of nature and animals – I had a dog for eleven years who sadly died and I now have three adopted stray cats and am trying to resist the temptation to adopt a new dog. I’m not sure how long I can last out…

What inspired you to write this book?

I woke in the middle of the night with the opening scene of the book in my mind’s eye. I saw a dog watching a silver flame descending from the ceiling onto a sleeping girl’s hand, giving her the ability to speak with him. I didn’t know who they were or what was happening – I had to write the book to find out!

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

No, absolutely not. I think the only person they resemble are perhaps parts of myself – Amy’s love of animals and nature, Robin’s myopia and annoying quality of being so precise about everything, Alex’s sadness at his parents’ separation – it’s all tiny bits of my own life that I unconsciously used as inspiration. It’s only afterwards that I realised. I don’t think I could ever write about other people I know – I would feel like it was a betrayal of trust somehow.

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

We have a tiny house so most rooms have more than one purpose. I often sit at the kitchen table – it’s quiet and warm in the winter, plus I can see down the garden and look at the trees to give my eyes a rest from the computer screen. I sometimes go into town to the library, especially for reading through some chapters and getting a fresher insight for edits and rewrites.

What book are you reading right now?

I’m currently reading The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.

Do you have an all-time favorite book?

One book? Can I have three? Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights – I read and studied it at school  and it’s still a firm favourite. A more modern novel I really enjoyed is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and I also love Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island.

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE – The Flame

Grey wasn’t a young dog. That’s not to say that he was old, certainly not, but he frequently nodded off in front of the television, his joints ached a little more than he would have liked and he definitely preferred to sleep uninterrupted through the night. None of this would stop him from protecting Amy, of course. Nothing would ever stop him from protecting Amy.

So when this not-young but certainly-not-old dog was roused in the middle of the night, he felt just a little bit grumpy. He pulled himself up out of his basket to pace the attic room, tail moving low and slow. He pressed his nose to the wooden floor and sniffed back and forth, casting a furtive glance at the bed. Amy was fast asleep as usual, her tousled hair escaping in blond curls from the top of the duvet, her breathing deep and regular.

The dog cocked his head and scanned the darkened room, holding his breath and listening intently. Nothing. But he knew something had woken him, a smell or a difference in the air.

All at once he heard a faint noise, a small sound like the burst of a tiny flame springing to life above him. Grey looked up just in time to see a pin-prick of light appear in the dark-beamed ceiling. He growled softly as it descended, a silvery glow gliding downwards. It had sounded like a flame because that’s exactly what it was; a silver, flickering flame falling gently. Down and down it came, a huge journey for such a tiny thing, until it landed on the back of Amy’s hand and instantly disappeared without a sound.

Grey sniffed Amy’s skin where the flame had been, a soft growl subsiding in his throat. He gently licked her hand and stood for some time with his head cocked to one side. His hackles gradually smoothed and, as there seemed nothing else to do, he got back into his basket and sighed.

‘Did I hear a noise, Grey? What was that?’

‘Nothing, Amy, go back to sleep.’

‘But I thought I heard someone strike a match and something touched my hand…’

‘Don’t worry, I’m looking after you. Go back to sleep.’

Amy sighed and rolled over. She peeped over the edge of the bed at Grey curled in a tight circle, his nose tucked under his tail.

‘I was dreaming you were talking to me again, Grey. I do love you so, you soft old dog.’

‘I love you too, Amy.’

The girl looked down at Grey, her eyes big and round in the darkness of the night.

‘What?’

‘I said I love you too, Amy.’

‘You said… you what?’

The girl jumped out of bed, lay down on the rug in her nightdress and wrapped her arms around the dog’s shaggy shoulders.

‘You can understand me? You can speak to me?’ She pulled away and looked at him for several moments. ‘I don’t believe it! I just don’t…’

She hugged him, burying her face into his fur before pulling away to stare at him again.

‘Nip me, Grey,’ she said, shaking her head in disbelief. ‘I must be dreaming. I’ve dreamt for so many years that you could talk. Nip me!’ She burst into a fit of giggles as the dog softly nibbled her hand with his front teeth.

‘Okay, that’s enough. So I’m not dreaming. Ow, stop! That hurts!’ The girl looked down at her hand and squinted in the low light. ‘What’s that?’ she said, jumping up and running to the window. She wrenched back the curtain to allow the moonlight to stream in and held her hand up to the light. There, glistening on the back of her hand, was a small, silvery mark in the shape of a flame. She stared over at Grey once more, her eyes shining, and spoke in a very small voice.

‘What is it, Grey?’

The dog just looked at her and shrugged his shaggy shoulders.

***

The wind had picked up so suddenly in the street that morning, no one was prepared for it. Women tried in vain to button up their children’s coats, men’s ties and jackets were whipped into the air and some people swore that whichever way you walked, it always seemed that you were fighting against the wind. A white-haired woman came out from a side alley, pursed her lips and peered at the wind-swept pedestrians and the litter swirling like confetti in the air.

Just an old lady, doddering along in a flimsy beige raincoat with a wicker basket on the crook of her arm. But if anyone had bothered to look they would have seen that not a single hair on her head moved and her coat hung straight down, completely undisturbed by the wind.

‘It must have begun,’ she muttered to herself as she shuffled up the road, joining the people battling their way to work and school.

***

‘You’re looking pleased with yourself. What have you been up to?’ Amy’s dad came into the kitchen and ruffled her blonde curls. For once, Amy didn’t pull away or complain. She just smiled up at her father, her eyes sparkling.

‘Nothing, Dad, just feel happy today. Do I have to have a reason?’

Her dad chuckled and began putting out cups and cereal bowls on the kitchen table. ‘It’s just good to see you smiling, that’s all, love.’

His eyes shone as he looked back at his daughter, then glanced quickly towards a small photo in a silver frame leaning against the white china plates on the sideboard. It was a picture taken on a family holiday, a slender blonde woman squinted into the sun on a beach, smiling and cuddling a young Amy in one arm. Her other hand grasped the lead of a scruffy young grey dog who was trying desperately to wriggle out of his collar.

‘It’s been a while since any of us have had much to smile about…’ Dad’s voice trailed off and he changed the subject. ‘Got anything planned today? I thought we could go out, make the most of the weekend. The weather’s turned a bit stormy but we could go  somewhere in the car if you like?’

‘I don’t know, I’ll have to talk to Grey first,’ Amy said, then put her hand over her mouth. ‘I mean, I’ll have to walk Grey first and well, you know…’ With that, Amy jumped off her stool and hurried out of the kitchen, Grey close at her heels.

Her dad watched her and shook his head, smiling to himself as he put her unused bowl and cup back on the sideboard. He picked up a remote control and switched on the television in the corner of the kitchen. A middle-aged man frowned and stared into the camera.

‘…we’re currently suffering the worst autumn weather since records began, with severe gales turning to rain, plummeting temperatures and even some early falls of snow in certain areas.’ The man frowned even more deeply and turned his back to the camera, circling his finger vaguely over a map behind him. ‘The Met Office has issued a warning for our region, severe storms are forecast causing gale-force winds during the night and…’

Amy’s father sighed and hit the off-button on the remote and the weatherman and his map shrunk instantly to a tiny dot and disappeared.

***

‘What’re you staring at, old woman?’ spat the tall, pale stranger, his silver-blue eyes glittering as he strode past the bus stop.

‘I’m looking at someone else who isn’t moved by the Wild Wind,’ the woman answered, her voice high and clear above the gale. She studied the man’s motionless black leather coat and his long, fair hair that lay lank and still across his shoulders.

‘So? This is nothing. You want to see a real storm, one that will even blow your blue rinse around? Wait until tomorrow, old woman.’ He stood for a second longer before striding off, leaving the woman staring at his back.

‘Ah, we’ll see about that. We’ll see which way the Wild Wind blows in the end,’ muttered the woman to herself as she hoisted her basket up onto the bus.

***

Three days had passed since Grey had spoken his first words to Amy. To put it more correctly, three days had passed since Amy had started to hear Grey speaking. He swore that he’d been talking to her for years, ever since he was a puppy and had first arrived at her home.

‘You just didn’t seem to understand me,’ he said in his soft, gravelly voice, ‘Well, some things you got, like when I wanted my dinner, that you seemed to understand. But anything more complicated seemed to go over your head. I wondered if you weren’t just a little bit simple…’

Amy giggled and wrapped her arms around his shaggy neck. She loved Grey’s sense of humour and they spent hours talking and laughing. They had to be careful though that no one else heard. Amy had become convinced that other people could only hear her speaking and she didn’t want a reputation as a crackpot, so most of their conversations took place at night in hushed whispers. This was one of those nights, but it was getting late and Amy was tired.

‘Let’s go to sleep now, Grey. We can talk more tomorrow. Dad’ll be out all afternoon.’ She patted the dog’s shoulder and was just reaching out to turn the bedside lamp off when a dark shape scuttled across the rug and disappeared under the bed. Amy let out an involuntary squeal and tucked her legs up under the covers, shuddering all over.

‘What are you squealing at? You scared me half to death!’ A small, slightly irritated voice came from under the bed and Amy’s eyes widened in astonishment. Grey moved closer to the bed and sniffed gently at the rug.

‘Who’s that? Who’s there?’ asked Amy gently.

‘Me, of course!’ The small voice sounded totally exasperated now. ‘What is it with humans, huh? You’re so huge, scare the bejeebers out of me, and yet you squeal whenever you see one of us. Just your foot is a whole lot bigger than me, possibly even your toe. And don’t even show me your slipper! More of my close family and friends than I care to count have come to a bad end under a well-aimed slipper. Poor old ma and pa – both victims of slipper-death. And all us children to feed…’

There were sounds of sniffing and a stifled sob as Amy shuffled across the bed to dangle her head upside down and peak over the edge. She saw a large spider, his dark shape cowering in the corner and she watched it raise a spindly leg to wipe away a tear from one of its many eyes.

‘Oh don’t cry! I’m so sorry…’

‘Well, I’m not blaming you personally for anything, Amy Fey, that’s for sure,’ the spider looked straight at her and held her gaze with several beady eyes. ‘You’re well-known as being thoughtful and gentle with my kind. You may not remember, but you scooped me out of the bath with a glass several times this year. Most people would have just washed me down the drain…’ Tears were welling from the spider’s eyes once more. ‘You’re well-known and well-loved, Amy Fey… just stop it with the shuddering.’

‘I’m sorry, it’s just a natural reaction. But you’re right, it’s silly.’ Amy looked again at the spider and this time she didn’t shudder, not even a tiny bit. He was actually quite cute, with his furry legs and sad expression in his numerous eyes. ‘But what I don’t understand is how we can talk to each other.’ She turned from the spider to Grey. ‘Does this mean I can talk to all animals?’

The dog and the spider both looked at her and shrugged their shoulders.

Book Blurb

circle-of-candlesWhen Amy Fey awakes in the night with a silver flame burned on the back of her hand and the ability to converse with Grey, her pet dog, she can’t imagine that this will be the beginning of a perilous adventure that will test her strength of mind, body and character. She soon finds out that Grey isn’t the only animal that has a word or two to say to her – from Marmaduke, the overly-emotional spider under her bed, to Seff the giggling centipede, all the creatures are there to tell her a tiny piece of the puzzle that she, a newly-appointed Flame Bearer, has to solve. Her grandmother, always enigmatic, often absent when most needed, knows more than she is telling, and her dead mother seems to have taken a secret or two with her to the grave.

Amy’s quest to find out her family secrets and to fulfill her role as a Flame Bearer takes her to the Circle of Candles, a dazzling ring of towering silver-flamed candles, taller than the forests that surround it. An irritable guardian, a talking statue named Pierre, must be appeased and later saved from destruction, puzzles must be solved, and the purpose of the Circle must be revealed. The journey takes Amy into a magical world, desperately seeking her beloved runaway dog, where she meets with other Flame Bearers and animals.

The Flame Bearers must work together to save the Circle from destruction by their nemesis Yotin the Pale One. They discover that the Circle is the fountain of happiness for the world, the source that people tap into when they love and laugh, and without it the human race would live out its days in abject misery. Pale Ones thrive on these negative emotions and desire only one thing – to destroy this source of joy and feed on human despair until the end of time.

About the Author

Jessica Rowan is a Brit, currently lost in central Europe. She shares her tiny house and wild garden with her husband, a glaring of cats and numerous interlopers including stray dogs, hedgehogs, rabbits and a passel of pigeons.

Jessica was reluctant at school but found a love of education later in life, now spending her time writing, playing music and teaching English. She likes the colour blue, reading late at night, buttered toast with marmite, strong PG Tips tea and the smell of a freshly-walked wet dog.

You can purchase The Circle of Candles on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author – Vasant Davé

Today, I would like to welcome author Vasant Davé to my blog. Please enjoy this excerpt from his historical novel Trade Winds to Meluhha. 

Excerpt – Chapter 7

Swells higher than a man’s height rocked Captain Paravar’s ship. His sailors sniggered as Sam sat at the base of the mast, gripping it like a child hugging its mother. Although he was used to the howling desert winds, he had never heard such ominous rumbling every time the lightning stabbed the darkness. The waves slapped the vessel whose woodwork screeched eerily, making Sam wish he could shut his ears just like his eyes.

Had fate saved him from execution only to drown him at sea?

Shouts accompanied by a fluttering sound told Sam that several sailors were busy taking down the sail. From the Captain’s bellows, Sam guessed that he was fighting hard along with his sailors to drain out the deluge of water from the vessel.

Perhaps the situation was not as grim as he feared. Shouldn’t he too perform his duty? “The foal would have been scared to death by now,” was his first thought.

He got up like a child learning to walk, and tottered to the animal. One look at it threw the storm out of his mind. It lay sprawled on the deck, soaked to the skin and staring at the sky.

Sam’s arms slipped around the foal’s neck, and he broke down.

He was not aware when the storm showed signs of abetting, and the sailors started gathering around him. A hand gripped his shoulder. He knew it was the Captain, but was unable to look up and meet his eye.

Then he heard the Captain’s soothing voice. “We could save it from man, but not from nature. Perhaps it was its destiny to be buried at sea.”

As the Captain’s footsteps retreated, Sam thought that his palm sensed a throb. He sat up and perceived a weak pulse. Spinning around, he shouted. A couple of sailors ran to bring warm water and dry cloth as he bade. Another hurried to fetch an earthen pot containing smouldering coal to start a fire.

Cajoling the foal, Sam cleaned and rubbed its limbs. Little by little he poured warm broth into its mouth. He saw its hide shiver, and then its chest heave. Then it neighed as if under unbearable pain. He patted and cheered it. “Captain,” he yelled, “your little one has got over the worst.”

Sam heard the Captain hollering ‘thanks’, and then asking his deputy to set free one of the two rock doves in the cage. They watched the bird taking off towards the stern and fluttering away. “Turn her around,” ordered the Captain.

As the crew started the exercise, Sam went to the head sailor and said, “Why did you release the pigeon? Wasn’t it meant for the Captain’s dinner?”

“No,” said the head sailor. “Those birds are our best friends. When we lose our way at sea, we release a dove. It always flies away in the direction of land.”

Sam saw the Captain studying the mast which whipped at the top. There was concern on his face. Summoning two sailors, he instructed them. They tied a piece of rope around their waists and scaled the mast. Suspended high above the deck, they commenced a long struggle to fix a supporting strut to the mast.

The foal had slipped into a nap and Sam watched the Captain with interest as he gave periodic instructions with one eye on the sky. At one point he said, “There, the Vata-miin is now visible. Get me the kamal.”

Following his gaze, Sam recognised the Pole Star Thuban shining in the northern sky. The head sailor came, carrying a wooden card with a hole in its centre through which passed a string. The Captain held the string between his teeth and moved the card to and fro at the Thuban. Then he marked a position on the string with a knot.

He walked towards his cabin, measuring the length from the knot to the card with his fingers. The head sailor ran ahead of him, lighted a couple of lamps and flung open an ebony chest. Selecting a tome of barks from several stored inside, the Captain studied it for quite some time. “We’re somewhere near Sutantoru1-on-Sea,” he announced at last, and strode to the rudder to take charge.

Around midnight, an excited cry woke up everybody. The Captain strained to see in the direction pointed by the sailor. “Yes,” he agreed, “we were closer to the port than I reckoned.”

Sam discerned a weak flicker of light far away. “That’s one of your regular ports of call, isn’t it?” he asked.

“No, it’s one port that prefers foreign ships to our own.”

“Any ship, whether local or foreign, pays the port for the facilities, doesn’t it?”

“Sutantoru has its reasons,” said the Captain. “One, the monsoons don’t affect its route to Suméru as they do in Alatinam and Port Lothal. This port is accessible to Sumérian ships all the year round.”

Sam waited for him to continue, but there was silence. He turned to see the Captain’s face in the dark. “What is another?”

“Sutantoru is notorious for some sort of slavery, which would never be permitted at other ports.”

“Slavery? With Sumér?”

With a sigh, the Captain started walking towards his cabin. Sam considered it best to resolve an issue that was on his mind. Catching up, he said: “The foal is too weak to continue the voyage, Captain. Shall we leave it in Sutantoru?”

“I can’t abandon it, Samorist.”

Sam thought that since he did not know where Hiwa Haqra lived, he might as well start his search from Sutantoru-on-Sea rather than from Port Lothal. “I’ll go along with the baby if its buyer provides me shelter and food,” he said.

The Captain shook his head. “Who will buy a sick animal?”

“It’s not just any animal,” said Sam, and he immediately realized that he had given away annoyance in his voice. He quickly added, “As I told you, Captain, it’s going to grow up into a lovely mare.”

“To the people who have never seen a horse, Samorist, it’s no more than an exotic breed of donkey.”

Sam considered it practical to postpone his search for Hiwa Haqra till the foal had grown up. A mare could be an invaluable help in Meluhha, the land of long distances.

“Suppose nobody takes it away, Captain,” he said quietly. “I’ll stay back in Sutantoru to look after it.”

Book Blurb

trade windsSamasin, an orphaned stable boy, rushes to help a foreigner sprawled with a slashed neck in a deserted tavern. Gasping for the last breath, the stranger presses a fish-hook in his hand and pleads, ‘Give to Siwa Saqra.’ Just then, a crowd rushes in and accuses the bewildered youngster of the Meluhhan’s murder. In order to clear his name from the stigma of manslaughter, Sam must hunt down the killer.

He flees Babylon under the darkness of night, and shivering violently, swims to a ship setting sail for Meluhha. Unknowingly, he has embarked on pursuit of an evil trade wrecking the lives of many a young Mesopotamian. A severe monsoon storm, besides ravaging their little vessel, blows it off its course. During his journey in exotic Meluhha, Sam survives several situations which would have cost him his life. However, it never occurs to the naïve stable boy that a powerful foe does not want him to see Siwa.

Sam encounters Siwa’s haughty daughter who takes an instant dislike for the grinning young man seemingly because he hails from Mesopotamia. Her slim dark form and long swinging hair steal his heart. With an eye on her as she hovers in the background, he sees Siwa staring blankly at the fish-hook and his jaw drops. Who else did the dead man actually intend to convey the ‘message’?

Inspired by Thor Heyerdahl’s voyage in a reed ship across Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, TRADE WINDS TO MELUHHA is an adventure unfolding between two ancient lands of Mesopotamia and Indus Valley Civilization.

About the Author 

vAuthorAs a retired engineer walked through the ruins of Lothal in Western India, his mind went back to his childhood in the Kenyan port of Mombasa where, as school boy, he used to be awed by wooden dhows sailing out to the open sea. The tourist guide was showing a gigantic rectangle made from bricks on the ground level. It was almost filled to the brim with soil, “to preserve it from erosion”, he said. “It’s the world’s oldest excavated port,” he added, “which was used by Indus Valley ships trading with Mesopotamia.”

Maritime trade across 3,000 Km of sea when iron was not yet discovered, and the magnetic compass was unkown? That query set Vasant Davé on a search for more information about both the Bronze Age civilizations, which ultimately resulted in the writing of the historical novel ‘Trade winds to Meluhha’.

During his professional career, Vasant had provided Industrial Market Research services to corporate clients in Australia, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Singapore, the UK and the USA. His articles/anecdotes were published in Readers’ Digest, Economic Times, Business India, Dawn, Telematics India, Studio Systems and Shankar’s Weekly.

You can connect with Vasant on Facebook, Twitter or his website.

You can purchase Trade Winds to Meluhha on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Store and Smashwords.

 

Today’s Featured Author – Louise Wise

Please welcome author Louise Wise to my blog. She is busy at work preparing her latest novel, which is due out by Christmas.  Today she is sharing an excerpt from her debut novel, the sci-fi romance, Eden. Both Eden and its sequel, Hunted, are available on Amazon.

Excerpt

Dizziness swamped her. Then, sunlight fell on her in a burst of fresh, cold air as the door opened. She opened her eyes, and tried to speak but found her voice was nothing but a gurgle, and could only watch, helpless, as Bodie and Matt stared open-mouthed.

They staggered backwards, shouting and swearing, before spinning around and running towards the base of the depression.

Jenny was hurled to the floor. Winded, but managing to crawl outside, she glimpsed Bodie turning to look and calling for her to run. Matt picked up a rock and threw it at the alien as it ran towards them.

She made to stand, but dizziness swamped her again. Trying to ignore the sensation, she staggered away from the spacecraft, but the ground shifted under her feet. Time was measured for Jenny, yet around her things were moving fast.

‘Jen! Move!’ yelled Bodie. The alien was in between her and the two men who, by now, were at the top of the crater. She couldn’t see them anymore, but could hear Bodie yelling.

‘Go! Go! GO!’ she yelled, the movement making her eyesight pixilate. She gritted her teeth against the dizziness and stood. ‘I’m coming!’

‘She’s behind us,’ yelled Matt from somewhere in the distance. ‘Get in your buggy, Bo. Get the fuck in!’

Then, the ground rose up and her head struck a lump of metal debris protruding from the ground.

There was no more shouting. All was quiet and peaceful. Jenny opened her eyes and, in a sudden moment of realisation, she flipped to her side and looked to the top of the hill. With a sick feeling of dread, she rose and scrambled to the top of the crater. It felt like a mountain, and she slipped several times. Expecting to find Bodie and Matt dead; their bodies torn in frenzy under the clawed hands of the alien, she was relieved to find the men and the buggies were gone.

A glint of sunlight reflecting on something in the sky caught her eye. The buggies, now small space shuttles, were on their journey back to Taurus, as if being hauled back up by an invisible string.

Jenny climbed into her buggy. With shaking hands, she pressed the controls; nothing happened. She spoke into the transmitter, but remembered that Kate was malfunctioning.

Her buggy was immobilised.

‘Shit,’ she said. She pressed more buttons on the screen display. She pumped the accelerator, but nothing happened. She couldn’t even close the buggy up; instead, it remained open-topped.

She climbed back out, her hands in her hair as panic momentary claimed her.

‘It’s OK,’ she repeated to herself. ‘It’s OK. It’s OK. Breathe.’

Her forehead hurt; she touched it, expecting her fingers to come away bloody, but they were dry. A lump was beginning to protrude, though, and she suspected she had alien finger-marks around her throat.

She glanced around her. Might it be possible that the alien had gained access to one of the buggies and was inside Taurus? Kate was programmed to destroy an intruder immediately, but…

She closed her eyes briefly. She couldn’t think that way. She climbed back inside the buggy. She’d be OK. Bodie would realise she’d been left behind. He’d override Kate to get her buggy operational. She’d wait.

She looked upward at the now empty blue sky.

Won’t be long, she thought. Around her, all she could hear was the pounding of her heart. It was a lonely sound. She sat for a long time with her head tilted back, looking up at the vastness, the emptiness, of the sky.

Book Blurb

edenImprisoned for brutal crimes against his wardens, Fly became an unwilling experiment and was transported, with other criminals, to a hostile planet. Full of mutiny, anger and a desire for revenge the experiment was never going to be successful and Fly became the only survivor when the craft crashed.


Then the human ship arrived — and Jenny.


With a malfunctioning spacecraft she was in for a fight for her life, but her problems were only just beginning when her crewmates abandon her on Eden.


Jenny’s on her own—or so she thinks.

About the Author

Louise Wise is a British author. She lives in the Midlands with her husband and four sons, and works as a pharmacy technician.

Her debut novel is the acclaimed sci-fi romance EDEN, which was followed by its sequel HUNTED in 2013.

Her other works include A PROPER CHARLIE (romantic comedy), OH NO, I’VE FALLEN IN LOVE! (dark, comedy romance), and SCRUFFY TRAINERS (a collection of short stories). She has written numerous short stories for women’s magazines including Women’s Own and Take a Break.

Her latest novel, currently untitled, will be out in time for Christmas 2016. In this novel she has mixed time travel and romance with her on-going theme of solitude.

You can find out more about Louise on her blog or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

You can buy Eden on Amazon and other e-book stores.

Today’s Featured Author – MRoyale

Today I welcome author MRoyale to my blog. Please enjoy a sample of both her books – her young adult book Ignominy-Chapters of Chargin and her children’s book Color Land.

Ignominy – Chapters of Chagrin is available for $1.99 & Color Land – From Play School to Color Land is available for 99 cents as Kindle Countdown Deal on Amazon thru October 10th.

Excerpt – Ignominy – Chapters of Chagrin

Chapter 2

“CHAGRIN”

Chagrin – The intense feeling of mental unease, as of annoyance or embarrassment, caused by failure, disappointment, or disconcerting events.

When Mr. Aggressive met Ms. Passive (Ace and Ms. Phoenix), it was an all-out get-down-with-ya-bad-self smoking and drinking, do-not-tell kind of party. Soon thereafter, Roxie was born. She was a tiny, sick looking baby at the time of birth. See, Ms. Phoenix hardly ever took care of herself during her pregnancy. How could she?  Especially with all of the mental, emotional, and physical abuse she tolerated from Ace. She barely ate and never took her prescribed prenatal vitamins. She refused to receive the proper medical care she needed when she was pregnant. Ms. P seemed to be hiding bruises and ugly black eyes, under huge designer sunglasses, from all the doctors—knowing that they would alert authorities. Soon thereafter, an unplanned Alex was born. Ms. Phoenix was not only cute and bodied, she was also shy and naïve.  Ace took those qualities for granted and used Ms. P as his own personal punching bag, whenever he felt the need to overload on a few alcoholic beverages. She had everything from busted lips, bloody noses, and even a broken collarbone. They constantly argued and whenever Ace had one too many, the boxing match would begin. Afterward, he would just beg for forgiveness and promise to never do it again. Yet, it definitely and violently happened over and over again.   Ms. Phoenix made a vow to herself to never, ever let Ace physically and verbally abuse her in front of her baby girl because one day she would be old enough to see and understand what was really going on. You know what they say, “When a woman’s fed up!” All Roxie could remember, on one horrific day of fighting and arguing, was her father picking up a huge metal crab pot off the stove and throwing it at Ms. P. Ace smacked and punched her face until it turned purplish blue.  Roxie and Alex started screaming, forcing Ms. Phoenix to grab them with only the clothes on their backs, throwing them into her car. Ms. P started running for dear life as her bell bottoms swung with the wind. She jumped in the driver’s seat of the vehicle and drove away as Roxie and her brother looked out the back window in shock and sadness. Usually, when they looked out of the back window, they would cheer for their mother to race past the other cars while yelling, “Go Momma Go!” This ride was very different in every way. It was the last time, in a long time, that they would ever see their father, Ace, again.

The experience was quite easy for them since Ace neither signed his kids’ birth certificates nor married their mother. In the streets, Ace was known as this popular community spokesman who affected many people’s lives in a positive manner. Yet at home, he was mean, abusive, sarcastic, and an alcoholic. He was “The Man” on the outside, though. A good singer, dancer, and a well-dressed ladies’ man too. He always kept his wardrobe sharp— making sure his shoes matched his belt and his socks matched his suit and tie. Along with his wit, sense of humor, and his intelligence, people everywhere loved his style. You could walk down the street with him and someone from every corner would say, “Hello!” shake his hand, or give the nod to say, “Hey, what’s up?”  No one but his immediate family knew the demons within him. Once he began to realize there was a mental mania in his own head, he became more and more difficult to deal with. Most of the time he was a recluse. It would just be Ace and his happy drinks.

Book Blurb

Ignominy-Chapters Of ChagrinRoxie Nicole Phoenix aka “Roxie Brown Eyes” is the epitome of “individual vs. self” in this fascinating Story. Roxie’s character captivates us all as she communicates through her beautiful, yet intimidating brown eyes. Throughout her abusive life, she makes choices and decisions that would live with her for the rest of her existence. Her mother’s life choices allowed her stepfather, Leon Miny, to use ‘chastising’ as his excuse for child abuse against her and her younger brother, Alex. This lead Roxie to dwell in her own realm of imagination—sometimes not fully aware of the difference between reality and fantasy. When engulfed by her environment, a path of destruction seemed to be the only walkway towards every devastating encounter. She also experiences a few sensually enticing moments in her life {which fed the naughty side of her appetite} that she would not trade for anything.
In this Urban Short Story, Roxie is an example of a girl destroyed by her childhood—the ignominy or shame, and peer pressure—also her attempts to fight through the chagrin of humiliation surrounding her. Though resilient, she could never duck the darts thrown at her and it cost her everything—or did it?

 

Excerpt – Color Land – From Play School to Color Land

“Where am I?” “Can anyone hear me?” Renee’s voice echoed loudly. As she rubbed her eyes in disbelief, she looked around nervously and wondered what place could be so beautiful. She was sitting on a heart-shaped leaf floating on bright blue water. There were bright crayon colored houses and trees that had beautiful flower paths with butterflies nearby. Meanwhile, brightly colored balloons floated in the sky. Renee’ was excited as she was getting closer to land.  She jumped off of the heart shaped leaf in amazement. “Wow!” she said, “What a different place!” “I wonder where I could be.”

Renee’ started to walk down a colorful flowered path while admiring all of nature’s beauty. This unknown place gave her a feeling of acceptance that she never felt before, and she loved it.

“Hi,” says a little boy who is kneeled down below a lively tree. “Who said that?” says Renee’. “I did. My name is Marty and who are you? You don’t look like you are from here in Color Land”, said the little boy. Renee’ jumped for joy. She said, “So that’s where I am! Color Land. Yay!” “Well you definitely look like you are from here with your orange-red hair and your blue high water pants!” said Renee’ proudly. She noticed that Marty began looking sad and realized that what she just said to him wasn’t very nice. She also knew that she was treating him the same way the other children at Play School treated her.

She did not want to be mean anymore so she asked the little boy, “Why are you knelt down underneath a colorful, lively tree?” He said, “Whenever Big Head Harry Monster is selfish or doesn’t play fair, the more my land‘s colors begin to fade and the people lose their joy. So I found one of the last colorful trees in the land.” “Well that bums me out knowing your land is being bullied here and I am not being treated so nicely at my school back home. We need to learn how to stick up for ourselves without being hurtful. So, are you in?” says Renee’. “Yeah, let’s go get that big headed monster and teach him a thing or two!” said Marty.

Renee’ knew she had to do something about it. So, off they went in search of Harry the monster who was stealing away all the color from Color Land. That was pretty mean and selfish of him, also quite unfair. As soon as they reached the darkest and gloomiest part of Color Land, they knew they were near the big headed monster. But, he found them first.  “Rrrr!” said Harry as he jumped from a gray tree. “Who are you and what are you doing on my land?” said the big headed monster. “Uh, my name is Renee’ and this is Marty. Why are you so mean, selfish, and not playing fairly? You are erasing all the color from Color Land and making everyone sad. The people from Color Land are losing their happiness because the world is not bright anymore—it’s becoming dark and gloomy. You are nothing but a big headed hairy wannabe!” Said Renee’. “I am what I am and I’ll erase what I wanna! Don’t you mess with me little boy and girl because I’ll turn this whole land into its darkest gloom! Especially, since that’s how I feel inside” says Harry the monster as he began to cry. Marty asks the monster why is he such a sad bully and Harry replied, “Because I don’t have a mommy and daddy to love me and make my life bright and colorful like everyone else does.”

Book Blurb

colorlandColor Land is an amazing story of how a special little girl, named Renee’, was determined to overcome her experiences of bullying at Play School. She was being made fun of which really hurt her feelings. One afternoon, Renee’ drifted off into the world of pretend—unaware that she would dream all of her wishes true. During naptime, she traveled to a delightful place called Color Land. There she met a friend who was even more unique than herself, named Marty, whom she helped defeat a major challenge—all while experiencing exciting adventures. Once Renee’ realized she can do anything she sets her mind to, she wanted to solve all of her problems at Play School, make new friends, and finally be accepted for her uniqueness. Renee’ wanted more than anything to help her playmates understand that the make-believe world is much more fun than laughing at others. She also needed them to know that being different can be cool.

About the Author

mroyaleMRoyale♔ is an ambitious Author, Entrepreneur, Student, and former Recording Artist—as well as a Wife, Mother, & GrandRoyale. She has been writing books for over four years while attending two different colleges. Her interesting life and educational background have allowed her to explore many topics of fascination. Her wishes are to touch people’s lives and entertain them with her heart filled, overflow of imagination.

You can find out more about her on her Amazon Author page.

Both books can be found on Amazon. And be sure to pickup them at their low discount prices good thru Monday!

Ignominy – Chapters of Chagrin is available for $1.99 & Color Land – From Play School to Color Land is available for 99 cents as Kindle Countdown Deal thru October 10th.

Today’s Featured Author – David Russell

Today author David Russell shares an excerpt from his erotic novella, Self’s Blossom.

Excerpt

Six-thirty p.m. in the lounge – the prearranged rendezvous time if things had been normal. Selene was first to arrive. Would Hudson now feel inclined to turn up? Would he be in any state to turn up? She noticed on her way that his key had not been returned to reception. In fact, he arrived at seven, looking incredibly coy, bashful and apologetic – just like Selene felt. He was carrying a gold lacquered gift box. She gave him a nod and a smile, beckoning him to sit down beside her. They kissed tentatively – reticently.

“Oh Selene, I really am sorry I got carried away like that. It was dreadful of me.”

Selene patted him on the knee. “Darling, I should be apologising for getting all hysterical like that.”

He put the box in front of her. “I went diving, wanted to come to my end in the depths; felt I couldn’t live with myself, but I was obviously called to find something. I guess I realized one of my ambitions.”

He opened the box. In it was an oyster containing a huge pearl. Selene gave him a hug, tearful in her appreciation of his courage.

“I’ve had to reflect an awful lot on my past experiences, you know. I’ve had to study feminism, and I really feel that if both sides – both sexes open up more, accepting more of each other, then life will be so full and enriching. I know that an awful lot happened between us . . .” he hesitated. “And?” A dreamy glow came over Hudson. “We’ve got so close, taken plunges together; you were so magnetic in that costume.” A lump came to his throat.

Selene was now a quiver with suspense. They were at the point of that final something for which she had yearned so desperately for so long. Selene took the words out of his mouth. ” Let’s make everything perfect – the absolute right time, the absolute right place, and in the perfect way. Let’s take the bridal suite together for our last night here!”

The final overt proposition synchronized absolutely with Selene’s memory tensions. A split second before her utterance, she had a vision of being at a ceremonial hair shearing before becoming a nun, and then of a mythical white wedding (the reality of which had never come near her). She thought of the flying buttresses of a cathedral, stained glass tinted in the morning sun, angled to the light of daring love, lifting to heaven. Hudson had at last uttered the key word to the elusive combination of the ideal seduction! This just had to have one fragment of impulse and spontaneity in the context of everything else being utterly premeditated. The peak of experience had been rehearsed to the finest detail. True seduction was total theatre. To hell with all those ‘ideals’ of ‘naturalness’! She had seen through them in that turgid forest. The true ideal lay in laced artifice! Here was the final trigger. Ages ago, they had talked away all thought of marriage and domesticity. But Hudson’s superb artistry in taking hold of the last remnant of conventionality for the final act of defiance against it. The flouting, the inversion of all the oppressive concomitants of a straight wedding night, was genius. They went into a torrid clinch nearly upsetting one of the tables in the process.

“Oh darling,” said Selene in a half-whisper, “you’ve done everything right; let’s go!”

* * * *

The suite was, of course, available, and the deposit no problem for Hudson. The labyrinth of corridors in the hotel did not slow them down. Having located the apartment, they rushed back to their separate rooms for their belongings. Selene was the quickest to pack, but had a little delay with the lift. They arrived at the suite door simultaneously. What a scene of luxury for the denouement.

Selene now took firm control. “OK Hudson, you go and take a bath while I get ready, and get fully dressed again when you’ve finished. I’ve got some special things in store for you!”

Now all of Selene’s fantasies came flooding in to her. Tonight she was the greatest actress, singer, ballerina, priestess-demagogue. She would dazzle the universe in the visual sphere, and then go on to the realm of touch. Her mastery of the lovely art of dressing and undressing would now be shown to the full. In a flash, her clothes were off. As she fitted her cap, she got a tingling premonition of what was to come. When one had meditated on the art of love as deeply as she had, one knew that the extra precautions, far from detracting from the experience, could enhance it, by stretching the partner’s anticipation.

The outfit to replace her casuals was all in order in her expanding suitcase. First, her brief white satin underwear, then a pale blue body stocking, easy to confuse in the half light with a bathing costume, over it her diaphanous slip, then three petticoats – crisp, archaic, Latin and lusciously provocative, sheer white stockings, and then the purple ball gown in all its splendour. She stepped into a pair of white, lacquered high-heels. A touch of eye shadow and lipstick completed a breathtaking work of art. Hudson had seen her in her other gown, in a bikini, and a variety of outer garments. Now he would know all the stages in between, and then beyond, as she would of him. The bath water lapped mutely in the background.

“Ready now, darling.”

The waste pipe gurgled for a few seconds, then Hudson entered. Crisp, white suite approached purple gown, as moon to tropical night sky. They embraced, near-chastely. Then Hudson drew back, a suspicion of anxiety on this face.

“Darling, are you . . .?”

His question needed no verbal answer, for Selene had left her packet of pills conspicuously on the dresser.

“Shall we?” Come on.”

So now for that languorous, full-drawn-out unrobing, decelerating to the depths of frenzy. For a few seconds, they both felt an adolescent shyness – quite naturally, for this was to be an eighteen-year-old’s dream brought to fruition. They tiptoed. For all their obvious freedom, they each had a slight twinge about the hazard of being overheard. Selene’s wardrobe planning had been right; something would have been lost if Hudson had started the encounter in a bathrobe. After Selene’s hips propelled a last, tantalizing, elevated swirl of her gown, the grand undress began.

Knowing their beauty and proud of it, they matched each other’s motions with caresses of sight. Shoes, stockings and socks peeled gracefully off to open the gambit. Hudson’s jacket broadened his shoulders as it left his body. The buckle of his belt harmonised with the front clasp of Selene’s gown as they were both undone, then the zip of his trousers with the back zip of the gown. Hudson’s fine, tapered legs were now revealed. His torso was bared in two stages: shirt and vest thrust back, and pulled over his head without a struggle, revealing gleaming white briefs – or were they bathing trunks? Selene loved those half way garments. She lit up. Great minds had thought alike about foundation garments for this occasion! Hudson had led in one stage of revelation. Selene was transported by his wonderful body control, with ballet assurance – this smooth, eased, arched shedding of reticence. The dream had come to roost. Who rules love, if anybody? The one who strips first, or the one with more finery to shed? But what did rules matter now anyway? The loose gown was ready. Gentle touches on the shoulder straps lowered it, shimmering, to rest. After that departure from simultaneity, action embroidered the first dream. Selene stepped out of the gown, cast it in the corner, and moved towards Hudson, holding him tightly in her beaming, commanding gaze – him with legs astride, deep chest out, briefs gleaming in the light from the open window. At his deft touch, petticoats flowered, rose and fell, floating to make a crest upon the gown. With a ripple of biceps, and lissom forward thrust of legs and hips, the cloudy slip came up head high, and was suspended for a second in the suspicion of a breeze, then, too, wafted to rest. Now they faced each other, almost as if for a first swim. Selene thrust her breasts forward, and tossed her head, making her hair cascade. Hudson took her hips and swung her round. With an almost imperceptible stroke, the zip of the one-piece parted. Hudson swirled her round to face him again, and slid the garment down the front.

“Bikini belle,” said Hudson, with a giggle.

He sensed the precise moment when his briefs were redundant, enhanced his looks no more for her, or for himself. They dropped, with a thrust of thighs and swing of hips. By being deferred, prepared so well, Hudson’s nudity, for Selene, now became suffused with total beauty.

“Undo me,” she half-sang, raising her arms.

Hudson’s unerring hand tended the clip of her bra, which tumbled asunder and fell on the chair. A breeze kissed Selene’s rising breasts as they were bared. Her own hands removed her briefs, finalising her own nakedness. The execution of those actions had been faultless on both sides. “What a fantastic sense of timing!” cried Selene. Each, to the other, became universe god and goddess. After so many times in their pasts when the brakes had been applied, when both had been frozen by reticence, or had their yearnings derided, the soul’s – the universe’s currents now galvanised their bodies. Now words could be uttered in acceptance of total immersion. With their slow speed they generated maelstroms, their every part revealed with deep exuberance, two bodies showing themselves as two complete presences. Now there was a full, tight-clinched embrace – thigh to thigh, torso to breasts, groin to groin. Hudson, a bit taller, took Selene round the shoulder with his right arm; his left beneath her buttocks, as he swung her on to the bed.

“Now for the real backstroke” cried Selene. She pulled Hudson on top of her, thrusting her breasts alternately in his armpits.

Gradually, Hudson hardened, as if with muscle and bone. He entered Selene delicately. When he had penetrated to full depth, he made a clockwise rotation. Fully erected, fully aroused, Selene responded to him anticlockwise. Slowly the two built up, using all their bodies, legs and groins, repeating the motions of their past swims. Bodies were kneaded, relishing their stately, relentless build-up, making love total in its depth, undulating, higher and lower alternately. Then full and strong it reared! There were two sighs, a lunge, slow whirlpools, swimmers’ wakes. Hudson paused, then put all his weight on his torso. Then, recharged by Selene’s breasts, now fully swollen, build up his speed and depth of thrust, had a body-absorbing struggle through some moments of near-exhaustion. Then the knowledge of certainty shone, flooded on them both, hips in friction – dams’ swinging sluicegates, volcanoes’ glows and thunder’s shudders, glands pumping to fire’s, water’s synthesis, all metaphors blown by that endocrine cataract! At the end of the flow, Selene held Hudson in, turning him again on his back. Sleep claimed them, breathless, riding over their peak.

* * * *

Sweating and still clinched, they arose as a maroon dawn unveiled the night skies, lending a mellowed rosiness to their tanned bodies. With restored light, passion revived. Being two, they had to enact their fulfilment’s wholeness twice. Tempered by one satiation’s level, they went smoothly and took their time – finally to outbrim the first flow. After this, the bed could afford no further comfort.

Selene got up. “We need to freshen up a bit.” She took two bathrobes from the wardrobe, pulled one on, jerked Hudson up by the shoulders and draped the other one around him. “Come on.”

The bathroom curtains had not been drawn. Water now gurgled into the capacious bath from both burnished antique brass caps. They held each other, half-draped, until it filled up. Hudson had almost begged Selene not to cover herself, but saw that, as a last delight, that extra robing and unrobing would complete the idyll – cap the euphoria. Selene thrust the robe from his shoulders; it sank down his arms to collapse on the floor. “You may assist me,” said Selene, holding her arms apart. Hudson’s hands ran down her back as he pushed off the robe. Once more they matched each other in nakedness. The bath (designed for a bridal suite after all) was ample for them both, to soap each other over, put legs to hips, massage, and laugh amidst the bubbles. What an element! With seawater they had started; with bath water they ended.

Book Blurb

SB Cover1A romantic, erotic tale of a vivid portrayal of the quest for the inner truth, empowerment and sexual liberation of Selene, a woman searching for primeval abandon and reckless adventure. Intelligent, a university graduate and a successful careerist, Selene became emotionally scarred by
unhappy relationships. Riled and taunted through the years by her former college roommate Janice, Selene gave in to the long-term desire to „get one
back‟ at Janice by having a passionate holiday encounter.

Immediately drawn to the sea and enthralled by its brutal yet sensual waves, Selene seduces a young boy on a deserted beach. Once she comes to
meets the mature and powerful Hudson, Selene finally begins to claim her sensual destiny. Through a slow process, accentuated by Selene‟s
shyness, introspection and circumspection, she embarks on a long and elaborate interplay of leading on and rejection. The volcanic passion
builds until there is a blazing row. A possible drowning, the final ritual undressing at long last, leads to the ultimate flowering of the woman
Selene was meant to be.

About the Author

David Russel was born in 1940 and resides in the UK. He is a writer of poetry, literary criticism, speculative fiction and romance.

  • Main Poetry collection Prickling Counterpoints (1998); poems published in online International Times.
  • Main speculative works High Wired On (2002); Rock Bottom (2005).
  • Translation of Spanish epic La Araucana, Amazon 2013.
  • Romances: Self’s Blossom; Explorations; Further Explorations; Therapy Rapture; Darlene, An Ecstatic Rendezvous (all pub Extasy (Devine Destinies).
  • Self-published collection of erotic poetry and artwork, Sensual Rhapsody, 2015.
  • Singer-songwriter/guitarist. Main CD albums Bacteria Shrapnel and Kaleidoscope Concentrate. Many tracks on You Tube, under ‘Dave Russell’

You can find out more about David on his blog.

Self’s Blossom can be purchased on Amazon UK. You can read additional reviews on Goodreads.