Wednesday, October 29, 2014

50 Quick Breads - No. 27: Vanilla

I am bread's bitch. I won't apologize for it. I love carby foods: pasta, flaky pastry, potatoes. They may kill me in the end, but I'll die with a smile. I don't buy magazines anymore, but I saw the cover of the October Food Network and went - Come to mama. I can't say no to one quick bread, much less fifty.

I don't know about you, but I'm the person who collects all the awesome food porn on Pinterest then eats a tuna sandwich. I am cooking more, though, but I still haven't unlocked the lasagna achievement. For now, I have decided to try some of these quick breads. They don't require the work and time of lasagna, and I might get little one to eat something I've made once in a while.

Tonight, I thought to go with a less complicated bread - Vanilla. I don't have a mixer, so I bake old school - spoons and a strong arm. I still get the batter smooth, though I worry about the occasional butter or dry flour pocket. Didn't happen this time.

The ends came out more golden than it probably should be. The flavor, though...oh, gluten! It's a smooth texture and clean taste, something that would pair great with any jam, or that jar of salted caramel JIF in my private stash.

Little One asked for a chocolate bread next time, so that will be the next recipe.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Muddle: Blue Morning, Blue Day

In an effort to be more conversational, I have resolved to blog once a week about my glamorous life. Or else just bitch until something goes viral.

So about that fall bucket list...yeh. Well, I confess I let my attention wander to all the ROMANCE DRAMA happening on Twitter. Publishers gone wild, authors gone wild, authors supporting authors going wild...it's a mess. This weekend another school shooting happened, with speculation that it was about a boy feeling rejected by a girl, and that piled onto my brain. It's not all about me, but I see news like this and don't want to send my little one out into the world. What if one day she politely declines the wrong person? Is it silly for me to think that way? I should note that no boy asked me out in high school. Not one. Never occurred that somebody would throttle me for saying to a date. No rejection that I know of escalated to a shooting at my school, either.

I'm not saying it was the case here, but I've read the speculation. We'll know when we're told, I suppose.

Not quite floor-dragging length.
Anyway, I'm a mess and the change in weather hasn't helped. I have a half-finished 4th Doctor scarf that won't be ready for Halloween, so the new goal is a Who Con coming up next year. There's no money to travel because reasons and bills. I'm on the fence about NaNoWriMo because frankly, I'm thinking of pursuing a different genre. I would still write as Leigh, just less frequently and when calls for submission catch my eye. Even then, it will likely be an M/M story.

It sounds like an odd thing to do when you have several stories coming out to promote, but I've never gone with the flow. In fact, I've done a lot of dumb things and followed some bad advice in the past, and that hasn't helped.

I had a good run as Leigh Ellwood, especially five years ago. That might be where I peaked, but who knows? I may try to publish under a different name altogether, aside from my real one. If it works I'll let you know.

Bear in mind, too, I'm not blogging this to gain sympathy. I'm not pulling a pouty "Y'all don't like me anymore so I'm leaving, Interwebz" flounce. I'm not leaving, just looking at other paths.

In the future, you'll see more reviewing than writing. Yeah, with BlogGate or whatever you want to call it going on, you'd think the opposite. I was considering this before the Guardian article, though. My day job involves staying on the pulse of the romance industry, and that means reading. I love to talk books, so it seems natural. It's funny, too, when you think of all the authors who started out as book bloggers, and I'm doing the reverse. 

Why not? Discovery is suffering right now. When you think you have bookstore algorithms figured out, they fuck up again and your Amazon rank is in the seven figures. I feel like a tiny Whovillian, shouting I AM HERE from a dandelion puff. I wouldn't want another author to feel that way.

So, for the weekly roundup:

Writing: I just heard that the pre-order links for Hot Holiday Treats are going up today. I'm excited about that. I participated in the box set for kicks, and had a lot of fun planning it with the other Silken Sheets authors. 

"Simon," along with the other Spank or Treat stories are in the format stage for a release as well, and on November 7 A Class Act drops. I will plug away at a third story for that series. At first I thought of another 1Night Stand, but maybe it's time for a story outside those confines. I like the characters and brewery setting and want to do more with them.

Reading: I am halfway into Kathleen O'Brien's Reclaiming Her Cowboy, which I presume is the last book in her Sisters of Bell River Ranch series. All the sisters had their stories, and this one closes a subplot that streamed through the other four books. I'm liking it so far, and I'm thinking I'll relaunch the blog with a group review of the whole series.

Also, I haven't forgotten the Sideboob Hour list. As I said, I read as part of my job and I spend a lot of time with recent releases. Although, I did read Outlander, so I'm thinking of adding it to the list. If this will become a review blog then the Sideboob should be a regular feature.

Miscellany: If I accomplish anything on my Fall Bucket List, it's the 100 miles. I'm up to 25 now on my trusty Townie. Haven't lost any weight because I still eat like a horse, but at least my blood is pumping.

~

Let's see if I survive the week.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Spank or Treat 2014!

ETA 10/28/14 - My story is redacted so it will appear in the Spank or Treat anthology. The contest winners will be announced on October 31.

My story and giveaway for Spank or Treat follow the rules and regulations. Good luck!

Spank or Treat 2014 is finally here! Visit Governing Ana for the prize list, sign-up sheet, and full instructions. You can win from a prize pool valued at over $1,000, including a Kindle Fire or Nook HD donated by Blushing Books!

Many authors will also offer a contest on their individual blogs.  Your comment on their blogs enters you in both contests! 
How do you play?

1.Visit each blog between Friday, October 24th and Sunday, October 26th to read the stories.

2. Leave a comment on each blog. You must demonstrate that you have read the entire story. Copy-and-paste or inappropriate comments will be disqualified. You will receive one entry per blog for the grand prize drawing. Note: You must have a minimum of five entries in order to win a grand prize.

3.If you have visited all of the blogs, visit Ana’s blog to sign up for FIVE bonus entries to the grand prize.

4.Deadline is midnight EST (UTC -5) on Sunday, October 26th!

5. If you successfully completed a previous challenge (Sci Spanks 2014, Love Spanks 2014, Spank or Treat 2013, Spankee Doodle 2013, Love Spanks 2013, or Spank or Treat 2012), you may add “VIP” to your comments.  You will earn THREE bonus entries toward the grand prize.  (Yes, we will be doing this again.  Yes, if you successfully complete the Spank or Treat 2014 challenge you can become a VIP for our next activity!) 

6. If you are a writer of fiction (any kind), add “W” to your comments to be entered in the special author prize drawings.

7. If you are a Spank or Treat 2014 Ambassador, please add “Amb” to your comments to receive your extra prize drawing.

8.Visit Governing Ana or any of the participating blogs on Friday, October 31st to find out the lucky winners. Will it be you? We will also announce prizes on the Spank or Treat Facebook page.

Like these events? Want to support your favorite authors? Become a Spank or Treat Ambassador! In exchange for promoting this event, you will receive one extra prize entry, AND you are still eligible to participate and win prizes! To find out the details, sign up on the Ambassador page.

For more information, updates, and a list of participating authors, please visit Anastasia Vitsky’s blog.

Like Spank or Treat on Facebook!

Tweet #SpankOrTreat on Twitter!

Join the exclusive chat with Spank or Treat authors! Message Anastasia Vitsky on Facebook or any of the authors to receive an invitation

For more spanking fun, visit Saturday Spankings for additional snippets.




~

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cover Reveal: A CLASS ACT by Leigh Ellwood

I am thrilled to finally show off the cover for my upcoming 1Night Stand story with Decadent Publishing. Say hello to Paul and Barry of A CLASS ACT:



Barry Kellam receives a mysterious invitation from 1Night Stand and can’t imagine who would arrange a night of sexual passion with him...except perhaps a former student who’s gone on to greater things.

Paul Merrill is the toast of Broadway. While the awards and fame are nice, he wants to  share his success—and his body—with the man who inspired him. But Dr. Kellam isn’t  one to date fellow faculty or alumni. Will he answer Madame Eve’s call?

~

A CLASS ACT is my second 1Night Stand story, and while it's part of the "Class in Session" series, the story stands alone. You don't have to read A DIFFERENT CLASS (All Romance ~ Kindle ~ NOOK ~ Decadent ) first, but you are welcome to do so. :)

Meanwhile, I am also pleased to announce that Coming Together has accepted my M/M short, FOX'S HOLIDAY for the upcoming COMING TOGETHER: FOR THE HOLIDAYS collection. I don't think I've had a busier Fall, with four releases due out! Will have to plan an awesome giveaway for the multi-book launch.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cover Reveal: Hot Holiday Treats Box Set

Onward and upward! I am participating in a few projects due out later this year. First up, a hot holiday box set - out November 3rd for only 99 cents!



Cozy up with eight complete novellas full of love, lust, and winter magic by award winners and the ladies of Silken Sheets & Seduction. From Cowboys to demons, we’ve got hot holiday treats to warm you up.

A Cowboy’s Christmas Wish by Sorcha Mowbray
When rancher Ford Grayson saunters out of Melissa Adams’ past and into her bar, she’s determined to take him for a ride and kick him to the curb. Payback’s a bitch.
But, the cowboy is determined to make his very own Christmas wish come true.

Just’s Desserts by Rachel Kenley
Dessert as foreplay? Justine saves her passion for the desserts she creates. Adam pours his focus into work. Together, something is going to melt.

A Demon’s Gift by Jocelyn Dex
Cordelia, a demon hunter trainee who daydreams of Christmas, fights to resist Argoth, the sex demon, who inflames her desire and reveals a truth that turns her world upside down.

Furry Christmas by Sotia Lazu
Alice's lonely holidays take an interesting turn when a stray dog walks into her life. Little does she know he could be her Prince Charming, if only she believed in magic.

Holiday Bliss by Leigh Ellwood
Two years after Hurricane Sandy, panther shifter Sheila Houlihan has finally rebuilt her home in the shore town of Bliss, New Jersey. She looks forward to her first Christmas there, if only Jonah will finish with the interior painting. Jonah, however, is interested in being more than Sheila's handyman.

To Capture a Yeti by Eva Lefoy
An ambitious reporter is determined to prove to the world Yetis exist, even at the cost of her life. But when she’s confronted with the truth, will she choose fame and fortune or keep the secret and the man she desires all to herself?

Longest Night Loving by Daisy Banks
Cursed elf Miles has waited for centuries in the hope a woman will free him from the curse binding him to this house. Will his beautiful visitor pass the test and prove she is the one who he can love?

Caging the Wolf by Sofia Grey
Jessie has fallen in love with the perfect guy, Levi, but there’s one tiny problem. The blue-eyed hunk only exists in her dreams.

~

Holiday Bliss, of course, is part of my Love is Bliss series and has never before been published. It will be available exclusively in this box set for a limited time. It may also be my last M/F romance for a while, but definitely not my last shifter story. If all goes well, I could have another shifter short (M/M) in another collection.

Hot Holiday Treats will be distributed through Excessica Publishing, which means it will be available at ARe, Amazon, BN, Kobo and iTunes. I'm excited to have a new story out before year's end, and I hope you'll pick it up on November 3rd!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blog Tour Sale

I have hosted a few tours done by Bridging the Gap Promotions. They are great fun, so when they asked for help I definitely stepped in. They are having a Fall sale and a giveaway.


Click the link for more information. Maybe your blog tour will stop here.

~
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 6, 2014

Write Hard, Read Harder

Tonight I'll complete edits for A CLASS ACT. I'm excited for the release of that story, and I'm waiting anxiously to hear about two submissions and two box sets. In the meantime, I'm 1,000+ words into a third Class story and 1,000 into something new for the other pen name. Over the last week I've wavered between retiring Leigh Ellwood and doing something else, or staying to climb. I still haven't made a final decision, but I do know I will always write. If I never make another cent, I'll write. They'll pose me in a coffin with my fingers positioned on the laptop.

So I mentioned on Twitter that I planned to blog more about authors to read. If you're following the #NotChilled tag, things have taken an interesting turn. I see an amazing outpouring of support not only for Dear Author, but book blogging in general. Regardless of what you think of how books are reviewed, these are the readers who share works they enjoy. You silence people who talk books, you cut off the heart of your marketing strategy. I believe there is no such thing as a bad review - the worst kind is NO review. Silence = no word of mouth = no sales. Trust me, I've purchased books despite negative reviews. Read for yourself and decide what you like.

Some may argue silence can hurt in this case. I'm not here to condone or condemn authors' decisions. I wish to support the authors affected. Easiest way to do that is visit the EC authors page, search what books are available from the authors on your favorite retail site, and buy.

In a previous post I listed non-EC books by EC authors I've read. I'll re-paste here, but first here are EC authors I've read exclusively within that house:

  • L.E. Chamberlin
  • Cheryl Dragon
  • Jennifer Kacey
  • Mandy Harbin
  • Dena Garson
  • Jan Springer
  • Danica Avet
  • L.J. Slocombe
  • Avery Aster
  • Ashley Ladd
  • Jina Bacarr
  • Titania Ladley
  • Denise A. Agnew
  • Cheyenne McCray

Can you recommend a book I should read? Comment below.

Recommended Books I Have Read

Hot Georgia Winds by Charlotte Boyett-Compo
Cravings by Dee Carney
Every Waking Hour by Paisley Smith
Coming Together: Arm in Arm in Arm... (features a story by Annabeth Leong - this is a charity anthology, so check out Annabeth's other titles, too)
Branded by Tilly Greene
Sci Spanks 2014 has a story by Olivia Starke, but check out her Decadent titles, too!
A New Orleans Threesome by Louisa Bacio
Fat by Saranna DeWylde
The Millionaire's Mistake by Sean Michael
The Fighter's Secretary by Ann Mayburn
Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout (writes at EC under another name)
Brick Dust & Bedsprings by Lucy Felthouse

Monday, September 29, 2014

Buy a Book, Support an Author

I am fortunate that I have a job. I have worked steadily since I was sixteen years old, be it weekends to pay for school supplies or full-time for rent. Even when I faced layoffs due to downturns in economy, I found work. I will probably work until my dying breath, because I write. Andy Rooney says writers don't retire, and I believe that. Perhaps in the future, though, I'll be a floating head in a Futurama jar dictating a new book to a robot. That would be cool.

I digress. Many authors experiencing issues with you-know-who rely on their earnings to keep the lights working, to put food in the pantry, to pay for medicine. Some may joke when a dinky royalty comes in ("Huzzah. Today I buy a Venti mocha!") but a dinky check is still money. It's earned. It's belongs to the person who wrote the story.

This week I've seen calls for boycotts and offers to promo books from other houses. Whatever you choose to do to help authors, go with your instincts and good judgement. If you know an author undergoing a hardship, a nice note of support could work wonders...and buy a book of theirs.

I love to read, and I've read many authors from this house and enjoy their works. There are other sites seeking to promote indie/other works by the affected authors. Right there you have a good TBR list for the Fall. Here's another one.

My disclaimer: Though I'm listing books I have read, I invite anybody to comment and recommend a relevant title. Also, I have stories elsewhere that could use a little love. Search Leigh Ellwood at All Romance, my favorite eBook retailer. Links here go to ARe, but I'm sure you'll find them elsewhere, too.

Recommended Books

Hot Georgia Winds by Charlotte Boyett-Compo
Cravings by Dee Carney
Every Waking Hour by Paisley Smith
Coming Together: Arm in Arm in Arm... (features a story by Annabeth Leong - this is a charity anthology, so check out Annabeth's other titles, too)
Branded by Tilly Greene
Sci Spanks 2014 has a story by Olivia Starke, but check out her Decadent titles, too!
A New Orleans Threesome by Louisa Bacio
Fat by Saranna DeWylde
The Millionaire's Mistake by Sean Michael
The Fighter's Secretary by Ann Mayburn
Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout (writes at EC under another name)

This list looks short, and as I went through my reading records I noticed with many authors of this particular house...if I read more than one book it came from that same house. So, I must broaden my horizons a bit. In a future post I'll go over authors I have read and ask for recommendations.







Saturday, September 27, 2014

I Don't Know What I Want To Do

I should be happy right now. I have another story contracted with Decadent Publishing, and my experience with them is very positive. I submitted a story to Coming Together, and regardless of the outcome I plan to share the work in some way. I'm going to be part of a box set with some great ladies, and that's due out in November. I have also started on a few ideas that excite me. I should be happy.

You know, I am in a way. I like to keep busy, but focus is my problem right now. There is so much to do and I feel scattered just thinking about everything. I have a few open WIPs, some editing work, and some stories that came back...which I have not touched.

I have a re-published backlist that needs some love. I am thinking of a complete cover redo for everything, to make my indie titles appear more uniform. Cover styles change over time and I would like to stay relevant, and let readers know that yo... I'm still here.

I mentioned in an earlier post about issues with another publisher of mine. You probably know the scoop from other people. I don't talk much about it because I am fairly new there. I feel like Winston Zeddemore in this respect, when he tells the mayor I've only been here a few weeks, but I have seen sh*t that will turn you white. The book is only a few months old, nowhere near eligibility for reversion. I can only focus on the positive and hope everything works out for everybody involved.

Where does this leave me? I'm taking a serious look at where I am now, where I'd hope to be, and where I can go. I don't want to be the author who makes a grand, sweeping announcement and then renege. I will ask, though, for a positive thought and good vibe. Not just for me, but for all the authors going through issues right now. Ask them to recommend a book for you to buy and help them out. Every little bit helps.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fall Into Romance Blog Hop

Welcome to the Fall into Romance Blog Hop! I'm thrilled to take part, and hope you will comment to win an audio book from my back list.

Much as I love summer, I prefer autumn these days. Where I live, it's neither too hot nor too cold, and all the best festivals happen in this time. There's pumpkin flavored everything, and all the books I can't wait to read come out. This fall is a bit light for me in terms of book releases, but that's only because I'm hitting heavy in the winter and spring.

Fall brings to mind cozy nights at home, caramel apple cider, new episodes of my favorite shows. I like snuggling on the couch when the weather gets cooler, and reading. Love love love to read, and for some reason my productivity increases late in the year. Must be the cold - if I type faster I stay warm. I continue to write this month, and hopefully will see the result in the usual online retailers next year. For now, I'll leave you with a snippit of something I'm working on. It's super short, because I'm trying to decide what to do with it.

Ant figured the driver hadn’t ranted for his benefit and so he walked backward a few steps before turning to face Pacific Ave. Late December meant few vehicles, if any, and a clear view of the blue horizon. His fox sensibilities tended to pull him toward woodsy marsh areas, but he also loved the ocean. Though he could go outside in his pajamas pants and t-shirt, he knew the water would be too damn cold for a dip. Even in his fur, he wouldn’t chance it.

He spent the next few minutes playing traffic controller, waving the U-Haul to the point where the driver could reverse safely onto the main road and drive to his side of the complex. The curly-haired man waved with a smile and yanked the stick to drive.

“Some Christmas, huh?” he called out as he rolled away.

Ant stood in place, unfazed by sharp exhaust fumes, and keeping an eye on the beautiful face reflected in the huge driver’s side mirror.


Some Christmas. Ho ho ho.

It gets hotter later on, you'll have to trust me.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


~





Monday, September 15, 2014

99 Cent Sale at Amazon Kindle

Deals and Steals From Leigh Ellwood!

Happy Autumn! Hope you're as excited as I am to see two of my books discounted to 99 CENTS at Amazon Kindle. Both are on sale this week only, so if you haven't read either/both this is a great time to get them.

Truth or Dare was my first erotic romance and it spawned a nice series for me. It's usually $4.99 so this is a great deal!

Love is Bliss is a duology of two paranormal romances in a newer series. Normally $2.99, it's a great deal, especially with a third story due soon.

New Releases Coming Soon

If you enjoyed my first Decadent Publishing 1Night Stand story, A Different Class, keep an eye out for A Class Act (M/M), which is newly contracted. A third story in the Love is Bliss series, Holiday Bliss (M/F), is due out this winter as part of a box set, and another M/M short (title TBA) is also coming at the end of the year. I'm excited to share these new stories with you!

In Other News...

I am close to my goal of 125 titles read in 2014. If you follow my blog I finished another title in the Sideboob TBR, and I also enjoyed recent releases from Mary Kubica (The Good Girl), Heather Ames (Indelible), and Cheryl Dragon (Rough Landing). You're welcome to chat me up on Twitter and tell me what you're reading.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Guest Author: Laila Blake and Forbidden Fruit

Hi, everybody. There's a new anthology of lesbian romance out called Forbidden Fruit. Today I'm pleased to host Axa Lee, who has interviewed one of the contributors - Laila Blake. Enjoy!


Who are your influences as a writer?

There is no greater influence than the writers close to me. From my friend and sometimes co-author L.C. Spoering to anyone I've been lucky enough to share space in anthology with. They are the people I learn from, and who push me – consciously or less so – to become a better writer, to work harder, to do better.

As for famous authors, it's hard to say. I always feel like the writers I admire most are the ones I could never hope to match, or those with just a very different skill set or interests. And I don't remember ever having read that one book that made me want to write: writing came long before I was aware of influences. If anything, I would say that my favourite writers mix genres very eloquently, break rules, and I think I always try to do that in some way.


Which books are on your “damn I wish I wrote that!” list?

A lot. For very different reasons: Momo by Michael Ende. Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby. How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
It's those books that feel like they could have come from me, if I had that skill. Books that express the things I try to express, or hit on points I feel strongly about. I'm sure there are a lot more.

What do you wish you’d learned or put into practice in your writing career sooner?

This is a hard one to answer. I feel like I still am very early in my writing career: I started writing what would become my first finished novel about two years ago. In January 2013, my first ever short story was accepted into an erotic anthology (fun fact: that anthology has not yet come out, lol, but it's scheduled for this November). So maybe I haven't reached the stage yet, where I look upon my younger self with sage advice.

I think we learn all learn our lessons when we are ready to learn them, though, and I have no doubt that there are many more on the horizon for me. I have made good decisions and bad ones, but not one that I regret to this day. Writing is a journey of discovery, and you do the best you can at any given moment.

Who is your ideal reader?

Through long reiterations of trial and error, beta readers and book reviews, I have come to the conclusion that my ideal reader is a person who enjoys something just a little bit different (mostly because the people who love my work best, always tend to praise me for this, although I am never quite sure what they mean). They are a person who is interested in the world around them. In issues of equality and diversity. Someone who enjoys the way a story is written as much as what the story is about.

Tell me about your story.

The premise of Forbidden Fruit: Stories of Unwise Lesbian Desire gave me the chance to write something that's been spooking around in my head for a while. I am not usually a fan of historical novels, but I quite like period movies and series. And like a lot of people, I am quite taken in by the charms of Downton Abbey.

Now, dirty minded as I can be, I always liked the scenes of the maid, dressing the young ladies, the easy intimacy between them, the trust and the blossoming friendships.

The Law of Reciprocity isn't quite set in the same time as Downton Abbey, nor are the characters anything like the ones in the show, but that's definitely where the first spark hit. It follows the story of Hannah, a young maid desperately in love with her mistress, and the swell of feelings she harbors for her servant in return.

But why don't you check out this excerpt of The Law of Reciprocity?

~

I just want to be close to her.

The letters were the awkward, hesitant scrawl of the barely literate, written shakily on a scrap of paper. The knuckles of Hannah’s fingers were white and bloodless around the feather. They trembled as she held it, and a drop of ink  dislodged, painted an uneven circle on the paper. Hannah blinked, watched the  writing swim in and out of focus before her eyes.

“Now give it to me,” the gypsy woman said. She held out her hand, white,  wrinkly, and covered in gaudy jewels. Her wrist jangled with glittering bracelets.

Instinctively, Hannah closed her hand around the scrap of paper and pulled it closer to her body, to protect it, to hide the terrible desire. The gypsy woman raised her brows. There was a mocking quality to her painted face. She  was old, and spoke with an accent that Hannah didn’t recognize. The woman’s accent, her air of mystery, her colorful tent, the golden thread and coins that had been worked into her glittering headscarf, the aroma of spices in the sticky air—all made Hannah dizzy.

“Give it,” the gypsy repeated. “Mama Katsu keeps all her little friends’ secrets.” Almost suggestively, she ran her finger over the small stack of coins on the table: two weeks’ wages for a heart’s desire.

Hannah pressed her eyes shut as she extended her hand. She could feel the heat of the flame that burned in a little bowl in the center of the table. Then the gypsy plucked the paper from her hand.

“Don’t...” Hannah whispered, but it was too late. The old woman’s eyes were already scanning her words. The wrinkles on her forehead seemed to multiply, to pile up in ridges and plunge down into crevasses of skin.

Then she tossed it into bowl of fire. The paper curled and blackened.

For a second, the words stood out in sharp relief and then everything crumpled to ash. It dispersed in the oil, darkened it.

“Now the name,” she said, and Hannah was sure her voice ran colder than just before. A shiver ran down her spine, and she rolled the feather between her thumb and index finger. The second scrap of paper lay on the table before her and Hannah stared at it, at the fraying edges, the beige color, the visible fibers.

The feather scratched on the paper, louder than the old woman’s rattling breath, louder than the sound of the fairground outside the tent, louder than the laughing, drinking country folk.

“Give it,” the gypsy repeated impatiently.

Again, Hannah reached across the flame. She watched the wrinkled hand approach, watched the firelight dance ominously on the shiny rings and bracelets. They too moved in and out of focus; 
Hannah felt woozy and sick, and she couldn’t breathe, as if the incense were coating the inside of her lungs.

With a last effort, she wrenched her hand from the center of the table and cradled the scrap of paper against her chest.

“I... I changed my mind,” she breathed, stumbling to her feet. From the corner of her eye, she saw the old woman slip the coins off the table, and then Hannah made for the tent flap and the open air.

It was almost dark outside. The bonfire threw sparks like stars into the spring air; skirts swished and flew in dancing circles. The music was louder here, so too the laughter and rhythmic clapping.
Hannah fought for air. Someone offered help, pushed a mug of ale into her shaking hand, and the paper fluttered away. She could read it, just for a second, before the wind tore toward the fire: Lady Rose Talbot.

~

The next stop on the Forbidden Fruit blog tour is Niki Crow who is guest posting at Lesfic and Lipstick http://lesficandlipstick.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/forbidden-fruit-stories-of-unwise-lesbian-desire-and-a-visit-with-niki-crow-and-sacchi-green/ and who is interviewing Sacchi Green. 

Leave a comment on any post in the Forbidden Fruit blog tour to be entered into a random draw to win one of these great prizes.  Prizes include a paperback copy of Girls Who Score, lesbian sports erotica edited by Ily Goyanes, Best Lesbian Romance 2011 edited by Radclyffe, an ebook of Ladylit’s first lesbian anthology Anything She Wants, and a bundle of three mini-anthologies from Ladylit: Sweat, A Christmas to Remember and Bossy.  All of these titles contain some stories written by the fabulous contributors to Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire. You must include an email address in  your comment to be entered into the draw.

Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire is available direct from the publisher, Ladylit (http://www.ladylit.com/books/forbidden-fruit/) or from Amazon, Smashwords, and other good retailers of ebooks.  Check out http://www.ladylit.com/books/forbidden-fruit/ for all purchasing information.