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Exploring Tullio Sellet

Following in the vein of creating character profiles for the cast of Making Patterns, today I introduce yet another character, Tullio Sellet.

First mentioned in Nyra’s character profile Tullio is Nyra’s life long best friend and husband of ten years, sometimes conscience and full time partner in their lavender marriage. However, Tullio as a man and stand alone character is a force unto himself, with motivations and aspirations as meaningful as Nyra’s or Astrid’s and just as integral to the overall plot.

Without further ado I present the character profile for Making Patterns‘ Tullio Sellet.

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A Portrait of Tullio Sellet

Tullio started out as just a name given to Nyra’s absent husband in She Will Become. It wasn’t until Making Patterns developed that he took on a life and personality of his own.

Patrick Dempsey hair

Patrick Dempsey hair

When I imagine Nyra’s best friend and husband I see a swarthy, ruggedly good looking man with a head of thick brown wavy curls (kind of like Patrick Dempsey’s Derrick Sheppard on Grey’s Anatomy), keen and engaging yet also mysterious and sultry dark eyes and plenty of scruff to go around.

Jake Gyllenhaal brings Tullio to life

Jake Gyllenhaal brings Tullio to life

Tullio is a physical combination of Patrick Dempsey and Jake Gyllenhaal who is stunningly handsome in his own right.

jake-gyllenhaal-dans-prince-of-persia-

What man or woman wouldn’t pivot their eyes to such gorgeous physique?

Pictured above, Jake Gyllenhaal in his role as Prince of Persia displays a physique most similar to Tullio’s. Standing at roughly 6’2″ with broad shoulders, narrow hips and delectable cording of his entire body, Tullio is well aware of his physical appearance. While not vain in the sense that he is conceited, Tullio’s chosen profession of a tailor means that he always dresses to catch the eye. After all he is a walking display of his own wares and talents.

 

A Little Background Information

Age twenty eight, Tullio is the only son of base born immigrants hailing from the north-westernmost Ostian River Plains which lay outside the kingdom’s borders. His family worked in fabrics – creating, dying, manufacturing. Clothing is in his blood.

Tullio’s father died when he was in adolescence leaving their family poor and almost destitute. His father’s dreams of setting up a profitable business in Quoral, the rich eastern trading hub of the Western Ways proved unfortunate. Quoral and the Western Ways wanted nothing to do with his fabrics deeming them too foreign and therefore unworthy of their coin.

Tullio’s mother wanted him to take the mantle of the family business but Tullio refused. He saw how hard his father worked and brought in so little. He wanted none of the stress or responsibility, instead choosing to set out on his own in pursuit of a patron who would invest in his skill and support his aspirations.

Tullio and Nyra grew up as best friends, their families living in the same tenements a thousand other starving families occupied in a section of Quoral known as Lower Bay. Their love of the industry and one another’s talents drew them together as early teens. Gradually their relationship deepened into implicit trust when first Nyra confided her yearning and attraction for the same-sex. He in turn, honored by her trust, reciprocated in kind confessing to her what he considers his most sinful secret – his homosexuality.

Tullio and Nyra married at ages eighteen and nineteen respectively, having decided the safety of a false marriage was preferable to a life of constant worry and fear of discovery by the Rabani. Although not a sexual marriage there is a strong emotional bond between the two; they protect one another out of genuine love. Each free to pursue what lovers they choose so long as they are safe and never bring their partners home, Tullio and Nyra enjoy a blissful marriage until Nyra meets Astrid.

 

Stewarding His Eternal Soul

As the font of the Ostian River which gives life to most of the land known officially as The Western Tor; informally as The Western Ways, the Ostian river plains are a fertile land that hosts a people most devout to the god of their creation, Ost. His Word gave birth to the world’s most providing life source; His generosity fashioned the land from which they earn their sustenance and living. Strict religious and spiritual adherence is a strong foundation of their communities and social structure. Conformity requisite, tradition revered.

Although born after his parents immigrated to Quoral (and perhaps because of it) Tullio grew up observing strict attendance to a religion that ruled his life in a surfeit of ways. His parents were zealous believers, superstitious and fearful of condemnation while eternally praising His generosity. Their fervent belief system carried over to Tullio instilling in him a healthy respect for his Creator’s dual sides of benevolence and wrath.

His faith endured during and after his father’s death when Tullio was in late childhood. He felt it wasn’t his place to question the will of Ost in claiming his father for His divine realm. However, as he grew into a youth he did resent the responsibility it placed upon him and his mother in subsisting in a city that did not readily welcome their kind.

Once puberty began changing Tullio’s body, introducing hormones and serving to shape the beginnings of his adult identity, Tullio’s faith became a source of anguish for him. Believing Ost made no mistakes in creating His children in His image, the surfacing of abnormal attractions toward other boys and men within Tullio sent him into a emotional whirlwind of questioning doubts. Never once had his heart wavered in conviction or devotion to Ost. How then had such aberrant sin invaded him?

The only logical answer he surmises is that his conviction is constantly being tested.  There are stories in the Enchiridion (the Ostian Bible) of Ost choosing from among His children those whom He believes will withstand every assault to their faith He can give them. Determined to keep his soul sanctified and scourge his flesh of the sinful lust for other men Tullio becomes supremely aware of his thoughts, feelings and behavior.

He wages war with his desires in his early teens, sometimes going so far as to perjure himself in confessional seeking the scourge of the lash in penance for some fabricated sin in true punishment for the secret sin he will only confess to Ost in his private prayers. As devout as he is, Tullio greatly fear the wrath of the Rabani and the Hareshen, the strong right arm of the Ostian church who enact punishment of the most dire and mortal sins.

At age sixteen he meets a boy who inexplicably captures Tullio’s heart. Unable to resist the youthful tugging of his heart Tullio surrenders to his physical desires. The affair ends disastrously, with the boy being discovered mid coitus with another young man. The two offenders are quickly taken into captivity, sentenced to public Purification and burned so in the public square, giving Tullio even more reason to fear the Rabani.

Now convinced he cannot fight the tides of his heart or the surges of his libido Tullio turns his mind to finding ways to keep his activities from discovery while fearing for his eternal soul. Inspired by Nyra’s implicit trust in him, expressed in a recent confession of homosexual feelings of her own, Tullio confesses his secret to her. Her natural tendency to scoff at his spiritual devotion was once a sore spot between them but the sharing of this secret between them now gives him new appreciation for her fearlessness and skepticism. Inspired by her unwavering acceptance of her difference from other women Tullio applies his knowledge of religious scripture and commandments in weaving what he believes will be the perfect scenario for both of them to live out the remainders of their lives in relative safety and happiness – a marriage of convenience.

However, the marriage serves more than one purpose for him. While ensuring the Rabani will least suspect a man lawfully and spiritually wedded to a woman, this marriage is also a concession toward salving his wounded belief system. He hopes the marriage will gain him a measure of divine forgiveness when his time comes to stand under Ost’s almighty judgment.

To protect the disguise their marriage represents Tullio is adamantly insistent on conducting any love affairs as far away from their marital home as possible and with as little connection to and/or involvement of their spouses as possible. If a relationship places their marriage and the safety it provides at risk it is ended and swiftly. Tullio’s fear of the Rabani and Ost’s wrath gives him absolutely no tolerance for such risks and as such he will do whatever is necessary to protect himself including turning his back on his closest and oldest friend.

Everybody’s Crazy ‘Bout a Sharp Dressed Man

Enriched with an upbringing in fabrics and how to work with them Tullio has a unique design style that defies his social status, garnering him prodigious attention on the back of his naturally outgoing personality and effusive charm. Having seen the family business wear his father down to the grave Tullio is quick to abandon any attempt to continue his father’s legacy. Instead, once he comes of age and after his marriage to Nyra, he sets about on a quest for personal patronage.

While no one expresses overt or discreet interest in permanently supporting his work, Tullio receives frequent commissions to design attire for public events and the like. He has absolutely no interest in conducting a personal business as Nyra does. Content to allow Nyra the freedom of earning her income as she pleases, he does rue the fact that his contribution to their financial status is at best infrequent, at worst completely lacking.

At the opening of Making Patterns Tullio has just secured a patronage with the new Duke of Dasir, Lord Atamos Ories, in the commission of a summer wardrobe and the official approval of Lady Sula, a rare feat for someone of his social standing. However, this patronage also comes with romantic possibilities with Lord Ories delivering the last promise of support after a rousing intimate session between the two men.  Complicating the personal aspects of their relationship is Lord Ories’ betrothal to Lady Sula Westphalia, King Reese’s cousin and only remaining blood kin who sits in rule of Quoral and the duchy surrounding it.

This complication is slight compared to the professional impact of Nyra’s growing relationship with Astrid upon his professional and social world. Made aware of Astrid’s patroness Tullio is immediately on guard, cautioning Nyra to slow down and to tread carefully. Richelle Daeras is not a woman whose bad side you want to be on. Moving in social circles that Nyra does not gives him insight into a broader world. Richelle’s reputation in being fiercely jealous and protective of her protege Astrid is well-known among their peers who are mainly denizens of the artisan’s district.

He never expects his relationship with Atamos Ories to collide with Nyra and Astrid’s but when it does Tullio’s entire world is cast into chaos. His relationship with Nyra may never be the same, if it survives at all. Caught in the crossfire of a war Nyra is oblivious to having started by capturing Astrid’s focus and raising Richelle Daeras’ ire, and faced with losing his good name and reputation with the Duke’s personal and professional graces, Tullio shifts into instinctive self-preservation mode. His choices and motives become intensely self-centered and he begins to lose sight of what is right and wrong in the tangle of his fears. Questioning his choices in all relationships in his life, he becomes willing to pay whatever cost necessary to avoid Ost’s earthly condemnation issued through His Rabani even if it means giving them Nyra to throw off the scent.

Degrees of Separation

 Tullio’s relationship with the Duke provides the connections that propel the plot of Making Patterns, inadvertently fueling the war between Nyra and Richelle over Astrid. As a member of Abiniam’s Peerage the Duke has many connections among Abiniam’s upper level and his inheritance of the dukedom opens up the field to Quoral’s struggling artisans. He presents a real threat to Richelle who mistakenly comes to blame a suspected love affair with Tullio for Astrid’s sudden demands for freedom.

Richelle’s jealous machinations drive Tullio’s downfall and later change of personality. However, they also serve to bring Nyra into direct contact with the Duke who is residing at court with Lady Sula. This meeting brings about a multitude of new, unexpected connections both in the Peerage and, miraculously, in the Church that heavily influence the course of everyone’s lives for the good and ill and deliver everyone to their final outcomes and destinations.

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This concludes our insider peek at the character of Tullio Sellet. As you can hopefully tell Tullio is a pretty important guy to the overall plot. If you want to find out exactly how you’ll need to read the book! 😉

As always, if anything in Tullio’s profile piqued your interest and sparked some thoughts I’d love to hear them and discuss. Feedback is always welcome.

Stay tuned for the next character profile starring the devious mistress of subterfuge Richelle Daeras, to be posted in the coming weeks!

Exploring Astrid Ferelin

Since Making Patterns‘ main character Nyra Sellet has her own character profile it is only right that her paramour receive one as well.

As with Nyra I’ve “known” Astrid for a few years now but only as a vague figure positioned as Nyra’s assistant and partner in She Will Become.  I originally envisioned Making Patterns as a short story exploring how the two women met but somehow it’s become something more – a novel that follows the entire course of their relationship up until their story intersects with the plot lines for She Will Become. In that this story has become more I’ve had a welcome chance to delve into who this mysterious character is and I have to say she is the scene and plot stealer. It’s hard not to enjoy Astrid as a character and I hope you will all feel the same way after reading the character profile below.

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A Portrait of Astrid Ferelin

In She Will Become, which takes place five years after Making Patterns in Abiniam’s time line, I introduce Astrid in the following descriptive passage:

Before Genevieve could say anything the door opened and a strikingly good-looking blond woman roughly my age stepped out. Dressed in a forest green tunic paired with dirt brown leggings and soft moccasin boots, her wavy hair pulled back into a fishtail braid, the woman smiled in greeting and beckoned for us to come closer. As we approached blue eyes the color of the evening sky looked us over in mild curiosity.

For this story I had to envision her younger, imagining and picturing a young blond girl in the prime of her youth, fresh-faced yet still somehow worldly. She’s seen a lot but is still innocent and somewhat naive in many ways.

I describe her, at age twenty, as:

The girl, all slender curves and waves of honey blond hair let loose to cascade over hunched shoulders, stiffened and her hand stilled over the parchment. […..]whoever she was, was stunning although not in the way of classical beauty. Her nose was slightly crooked; her chin sported a small scar, seen only when indignation had made her tip her head in scolding Nyra. Her teeth, when glimpsed between transitions from consonant to vowel, were slightly askew. Despite these tiny flaws the girl was beautiful, possessing a spirit fierce enough to defend herself against unwelcome intrusion with heated temper, unlike most others her age who would have simpered and grubbed for even more compliments.

Physically Gabriella Wilde brings Astrid to gorgeous life.

Gabriella Wilde

Gabriella Wilde as Cinderella
This is a look Nyra receives often from Astrid.

For a better, non-moving image: gabriella-wilde

 

A Little Background Information

As a middle child of nine, Astrid is naturally quiet and unassuming. She easily slips into the background, entertained by her vivid imagination and love of drawing.

With her older siblings capturing most of her parents’ attention due to involvement with the family business, Ferelin Trading and Shipping, out of Quoral’s Middle Bay, and her younger siblings clamoring for what little of their parents’ attention remains, Astrid takes on the role of keeping the books for her father. It keeps her in a quiet office where she can do her work yet still take moments to daydream. Her father’s ledgers are full of her doodles and drawings, a fact he humors because it keeps her happy and self-occupied.

At age sixteen she receives a patronage from Richelle Daeras, a family friend once well sought after by the realm’s Peerage for her interior design skills but is slipping from notice and going broke as a result. Astrid is her money-maker.

Under Richelle’s tutelage and support Astrid flourishes creatively. Her art and talent become highly sought after and as such Richelle grants her the rare privilege of traveling the kingdom on various assignations and commissions. She is content in her life despite a gradual change in Richelle who was once a maternal figure and Astrid’s mentor. As Astrid’s name becomes more well-known Richelle’s own notoriety and reputation fades until she is known only as the person to contact to arrange something with rising star. Astrid knows this but tries to pay it no mind. Success is only a benefit of being allowed to do what she loves best – create art. However, Richelle soon becomes heavily focused on controlling everything Astrid does especially when she is home in Quoral. Jealous and possessive Richelle also uses her considerable influence among her peers to guarantee none of them will ever think of poaching Astrid from her.

At age twenty Astrid is busy with her life of traveling and creativity. She spends her downtime looking for inspiration and finds it in Merchant’s Hill, the business district of Quoral. She habits a tea shop called The Seven Houses where she can drink tea and sink into her creativity in peace. It is here that she encounters a mysterious woman who silently watches her but never speaks.

Frustrated with Richelle’s growing jealousies and manipulations Astrid initially believes the woman is a wealthy patron looking for a protege. Keen to attract her attention Astrid begins to be more open with her art, displaying her sketches where Nyra can easily see them. This continues for weeks but still the woman stays silent. Just when Astrid is about to give up in frustration and disappointment the woman unexpectedly makes comment on Astrid’s current sketch. Surprised and annoyed at being interrupted when at last she allows herself to disengage from the world, she barks at the woman and thus begins a strange and exhilarating connection.

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Astrid’s feelings for and growing relationship with Nyra question love at first sight. After weeks of being aware of one another’s existence they seize the opportunity for only one long afternoon and evening of personal, in-depth discussion. Upon parting Astrid feels an unexpected surge of affection for her new friend but doesn’t have long to enjoy it. Her late arrival home gets her in hot water with Richelle and provides the burgeoning relationship with Nyra its first obstacle: Astrid is forbidden to return to Merchant’s Hill, Richelle’s suspicions of patron-poaching rampant if entirely unfounded.

In the two weeks that follow Astrid is haunted into her memories of Nyra and the emotions they invoke within her. Having never been in love with someone she has no idea why she can’t stop thinking about the woman. Astrid’s creativity falters; her sketch book pages stay blank. The only thing she wants to draw is Nyra but she doesn’t dare for fear of Richelle’s reaction to seeing a new, unfamiliar face in her sketch book.

Gabriella Wilde gif2

 

Being so creatively stifled Astrid is, of course, miserable. It is in the depths of her emotional confusion and misery that she begins to reflect on feelings greater than friendship. Her religious upbringing was perfunctory; her parents simply had no time for devotion to anything other than business and the raising of their children. Like everyone in Abiniam, she is aware of the Rabani’s condemnation of anything that defies scripture including romantic feelings for the same gender. As she further considers her feelings for Nyra she finally admits to herself that the woman has worked her way deeper, all the way into Astrid’s “secret heart” from which spring the most delicious illicit sensual fantasies. These fantasies set her directly at odds with what she knows of the Ostian religion and rules but she can’t help the way she feels.

In extreme emotional distress Astrid offers up a prayer for guidance. She needs answers for the questions consuming her. Richelle is pressing her for new work and she has none to give. To her surprise Astrid receives an answer to her prayer in the compulsion to disregard Richelle’s rules and seek Nyra out. A feeling of immense peace settles over her as she accepts this answer and sets off on a mission for answers to her heart’s questions.

Unbeknownst to Astrid Nyra has suffered the same woes over the past two weeks of their separation. When they are finally reunited Astrid presents her questions, confessing her feelings and begging Nyra to explain what they mean and tell her that she feels the same way. Nyra’s confession of love (because Nyra can only answer with the truth as is her forthright way) both shocks and comforts Astrid; finally she understands this strange addiction consuming her and Nyra reciprocates the feelings. She is not alone.

Questions and Contemplations of a Religious and Spiritual Nature

Astrid has never had much time or paid much thought to the ideas of love and relationships. The world has been her oyster; pursuit of her art and the act of creation has spurred her exclusively. Thus falling in love is a world of foreign feelings Astrid must acquaint herself with. As if these weren’t enough, along with these feelings Astrid must contend with a heightened awareness of the gender of her beloved and how it affects her world.

She ought to be scared; the Creator of her people condemns the love she bears in her heart. However, Astrid is instead filled with a curious wonder. She questions whether such judgment is true, being unable to fathom a Creator that would create beings capable of loving outside of the “norm” only to strike them down for expressing the heart He gave them. Prayer, intuition and an unspoken belief that Ost is guiding her in everything she does affects many of her decisions in the course of her growing relationship with Nyra, and in her interactions with the various other characters that populate the book.

As such she feels little fear or concern over discovery by the Rabani except in how it would affect Nyra whom she knows eschews such esoteric discussions. Nyra plays by the rules even if she doesn’t believe in them, fearful of the consequences. Astrid simply doesn’t worry about them. If Ost is looking out for and encouraging her actions in growing this relationship she has faith that He will keep her out of harm’s way, or at least keep His Rabani’s attention directed elsewhere.

Astrid’s contrary beliefs end up playing a pivotal role in the events that bring the duo to King Reese and Abiniam’s Peerage.   As her relationship with Nyra develops she must eventually open up to her paramour about her beliefs, especially after meeting a most unexpected ally of a similar spiritual mind with heavy influence at the royal court.

 

Richelle Daeras, Patroness

Astrid’s feelings for her patroness Richelle are a complex and tangled web.  She is grateful to the woman for all the opportunity and encouragement given over the course of the last four years. Knowing her life would have entailed never seeing much beyond the two doors of her parents’ business and her front stoop had Richelle not awarded her financial support; she feels a firm sense of loyalty to Richelle. If it hadn’t been for the woman seeing merit in her doodles and espousing her talents to the ears of the Peerage still available to her Astrid would never have traveled the realm as extensively as she has.

In this loyalty she is both over crediting and under appreciative of her own merits – until she meets Nyra who appreciates her art without ever having met or spoken to Richelle. This wakes Astrid up to the realities of her situation. Already aware that Richelle is obsessively jealous and determined to protect her investment and connection to Astrid (because really only Astrid’s commissions are supporting them; Richelle hasn’t seen a glimmer of interest in her talents in decades) Astrid finds the inner strength to stand up for herself and demand certain liberties and freedoms. This fundamentally changes the nature of their relationship and irrevocably pits Richelle against her in a fight for control.

Astrid has no idea the truth and depth of Richelle’s obsession or how low the woman will stoop to win a complete control of her, her art and her ability to bring in money. This naiveté may just prove to be her undoing.

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This concludes Astrid’s profile. If it has left you wanting more I urge you to let me know! What else would you like to know? Leave a comment or feed back below: I love hearing from my readers!

Stay tuned for more character profiles to come: Richelle and Tullio will be making appearances in the weeks ahead!

 

Exploring Nyra Sellet

I post a lot on my Facebook Page about the various projects I’m working on and the progress I’m making with them. A few days ago I realized I talk about my stories and characters from an author’s perspective. I already know them – well, mostly anyway. Like all great characters they first present a vivid image of themselves, impressing upon me the most important aspects of their personalities, beliefs and motivations. I get to learn more about them as I write their stories. Yet the author’s perspective often leaves the potential reader wondering not full of breathless anticipation. It’s time to remedy that and let you all in a lot deeper. And really, it’s beautiful here.

The main character of Making Patterns, Nyra Sellet, is unique in that I have “known” her for many years but only as a tertiary character in the plot for my first novel She Will Become.  I had an image and impression of her perceived through the lens of SWB‘s main character Tristen Callayas. Having spent the last month and a half writing the first draft of Making Patterns I’ve been graced with the opportunity to look at and explore Nyra in greater depth. Now that she’s given me a better grasp on her as a stand alone character I’m happy to share her character profile with everyone.

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A Portrait of Nyra Sellet 

When I think of Nyra Sellet I imagine a slender but curvy woman with thicker hips and thighs. Long wavy chestnut hair frames a quietly elegant face. Guarded emerald-green eyes gaze out at the world with keen attention to detail, glowing with creative fervor when inspiration strikes her. She smiles a mysterious smile, the curve of her lips inviting intrigue. As a seamstress she designs her own clothing, designing against the common trend with masculine styling turned tastefully feminine.

She physically resembles Rachel Nichols, courtesy of the Canadian television show Continuum, and the late Natalie Wood.

Rachel Nichols ala Continuum costuming

Rachel Nichols ala Continuum costuming

Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood

 

A Little Background

Nyra doesn’t like talking about herself much. She’s been quieter and slower in revealing herself than her paramour Astrid Ferelin. However here’s what she’s shared with me.

Nyra. age twenty-nine, comes from a low-born family with roots in the fishing industry. She is the elder of two children. However, her brother, Artis, died in infancy due to illness when she was five so she grew up as an only child.

Her father wanted her to become a fisherman like him, espousing his love of the sea and living a mostly sustainable life providing for his family. Unfortunately after her first few trips out to sea at age ten it became clear the open water was not her friend. Persistent sea-sickness plagued her, officially ruling out the life her father wanted for her.
Because her father did not make much money and there were still bills to pay Nyra began earning a wage at an early age. Most of her neighbors in the tenements of Quoral’s Lower Bay worked in textiles and fabrics. The work drew her, appealing to an unexpected creative drive. As a result Nyra spent most of her formative youth learning the industry from top to bottom, becoming a respected seamstress by age seventeen. Her income supported her family but with little to spare.

In her personal life Nyra realized her attraction to women early on. Her family was never particularly religious or spiritual except an almost worshipful respect for the sea so her explorations of her sexuality were not nearly as constrained by religious morality as others her age were. This garnered her a rebellious reputation of sorts, known in underground circles as a daredevil who flouted Ostian authority with open disdain.
This reputation galled her life long best friend, Tullio Sellet. Having first confided her secret attraction to Tullio, he became her constant confident and sometime conscience. In return he too confides in her his damning secret. This shared deviance from the norm builds a bond between them that eventually turns into a decision to marry each other. The thought of marrying anyone else who did not know their secrets was an agony neither was willing to suffer. Believing in the protection such a public proclamation of commitment would earn them in the church’s eyes the two married when Nyra was nineteen and Tullio eighteen.

Why Marriage Is So Important

Map of Abiniam

My hand drawn map of Abiniam. Kindly Ignore the graph paper lines. (image copyrighted)
Click the picture to see a larger version.

In She Will Become I introduce the world of Abiniam, existing in a separate universe from ours yet mysteriously connected. Abiniam is also the setting for Making Patterns and is ruled by dual iron fists: that of King Reese Westphalia, the sovereign everyone either loves or hates but must obey nonetheless; and the Ostian Church, a religion that dates back thousands of years to the time of the prophet Amryllion, a hermit risen to divine purpose in receiving the Lord God Ost’s promise of salvation should His children follow the word of His Chosen Illumined, the Rabani.

The Ostian church espouses marriage as the only permissible connection between His children. Five years after Making Patterns happens Nyra explains it beautifully in words of caution to Tristen in SWB:

“The Rabani don’t like those whom insistently disobey Ost’s greatest Law – ‘a man is only to a woman as a woman is only to a man, each of equal and corresponding parts.’” She quoted softly.  “Anything other than the godly union of man and wife in their marital bed is forbidden. Caution is your greatest friend Miss and you must pay excellent attention to that friend before the wrong moment arrives and you are caught completely ignorant. It is not a pretty end for those the Rabani sentence to Purification.”

And later in the story, in more detail:

“To answer your question, Purification is a death sentence given by the Rabani if you are caught expressing romantic love for a member the same gender. Should the conclave be able to prove the actions to have occurred and will likely occur again in the future they sentence you to burn. They tie you naked and bald as the day you were born to a carved effigy of Ost and set you alight. It means just as the word implies – to cleanse your physical body of the sin as it returns to ash and to make sure no trace of that earthly taint remains in your soul as you return to Ost’s Heavenly Kingdom.”

In SWB Tristen awakens at Castle Westphalia, the seat of the kingdom. Castle Westphalia is also home to the Ostian Church’s version of Rome, ruled over by a man known as Master Rabani Bastian, Ost’s Most Illumined. The number of Rabani at the castle is far greater than the number occupying Quoral, the coastal city setting of Making Patterns (on the left on the map linked above). Yet their presence felt to a high degree; their wealth as an institution is well-known; their tendency to use the services of cunning and subterfuge to carry out their ends infamous. Anyone anywhere could be in the pay of the Rabani who oversee and control most aspects of cultural life. In many ways the Ostian Church holds more power than the king.

To be discovered by the Rabani is a guaranteed death sentence so every precaution taken to conduct these illicit affairs as safely and as discretely as possible. Like the lavender marriages of our world, there is safety in operating within the greater world under the guise that most allows us to pass unseen and unsuspected.

She has goals and knows how to use them….

Nyra operates a low profit business offering her seamstress and tailoring skills to the gentry and Peerage alike – if only the Peerage ever visited her shop, that is.

She someday hopes to earn the patronage of a member of the Peerage for they hold a great deal of the kingdom’s wealth, power and influence outside the Rabani. Realistic in that this is a lofty goal Nyra applies herself in earnest to her current occupation. Life as an adult is not so different from her life as a child – there are always bills to pay and stomachs to fill. Tullio’s refusal to settle into steady work the way that Nyra has means their income is variant and usually sourced only by Nyra. Tullio works on infrequent commission, relying upon his social prowess and charm to win attention.

Finding lasting love is an ever-present goal but one not easily achieved in a society that condemns her love and choice in partner. Having outgrown her wild ways and tamed by her marriage to Tullio – prudent despite his professional aspirations – she limits her relationships to dalliances yet always craves more. What fledgling relationships she has experienced typically ended when her paramour became frightened of discovery.

 The mystery of love’s blossoming….

Nyra has no expectations of finding love when she first encounters Astrid in The Seven Houses tea shop, local to her seamstress shop in Merchant’s Hill. Astrid is merely the beautiful blond girl who sits at a patio table deeply ensconced in some new sketch as her hands bring images to life on the pages of her sketchbook. Nyra enjoys watching her, recognizing in Astrid a familiar creative surge and depth of focus – so much so that the outer world disappears into the haze of the inner.

However, love is a mysterious force that worms its way deep into the fiber of our beings without most of us ever knowing it has happened. We only realize the truth of love’s presence when suddenly we forced to go without. It is the same for Nyra once she and Astrid finally speak and begin getting to know one another as more than patrons of the same tea shop. When Astrid suddenly and inexplicably disappears when before she frequented the shop daily Nyra goes into an emotional downward spiral that she is hard pressed to admit stems from strange feelings of affection and longing for this girl who has somehow captivated her during the long weeks of silently watching her.

Complicating their relationship is Astrid’s patroness, a woman named Richelle Daeras. Once an artisan of the highest rank whose fame had her rubbing elbows with the upper Peerage and nobility, age and the shift in power from older generations to new who aren’t as interested in her talents has seen her fade from grace. Hugely jealous and possessive, she keeps a tight rein and watch over Astrid, a rising star in the artistic world. She is the story’s antagonist, manipulative and devious. She has extensive reach and underhanded influence within Quoral’s various communities. Her constant assumptions and manipulations of external forces that end up affecting both of Nyra’s most meaningful relationships give Nyra the most unexpected moments for personal realization and growth in overcoming everything this woman indirectly and, eventually, directly throws at her.

Tullio, oh, Tullio….

The relationship between Nyra and Tullio is full of opposites that attract. Best friends since childhood there are no secrets between them. They know each other better than they individually know themselves. Nyra has always been rather brash and impulsive while also having a “No nonsense” demeanor. She tolerates little in the way of foolishness while enjoying the lighter side of life but in her way and when she wants. Nyra prefers her solitude compared to Tullio’s interminable socializing.

Tullio is an adept socialite, his demeanor charming and effusive. He is proud and not afraid to put himself out there professionally. To the contrary in his personal life he is prudent and highly selective. As the child of immigrants from the Ostian river plains where the belief in Ost and adherence to His word is paramount, Tullio knows full well the risks and consequences of loving against Ost’s commands. Originally it was his idea for them to marry knowing how the holy union is viewed by the Church and by society.

The two enjoy a complex game of communication. Information is never plainly delivered. Instead their conversations are question and answer, each turn of phrase meant to give just enough information to invite more questions. It makes for a sort of verbal sparring that is always well-intentioned and deeply heartfelt.

Tullio often serves as Nyra’s confidant, conscience and emotional lodestone. Having her implicit trust, Nyra rarely likes Tullio’s words of advice or admonishment but she knows he is always right.

In order to make their marriage appear genuine Nyra and Tullio have a distinct and purposeful social existence and presence. They make a habit of being seen out and about as a doting couple which isn’t all that far from the truth. The emotional connection is there between them even if the sexual will never be, and physical affection between them is normal as best friends.

Part of maintaining the ruse is an agreement made upon their wedding night. They are free to take lovers but with the utmost discretion. These potential lovers are never brought back to the house the two own and occupy as a married couple. The marriage is never  discussed with their lovers and only disclosed should things become serious. In ten years of marriage neither has seen a serious relationship develop. It’s a shared source of disappointment and so a complete rarity when, at the start of the story, both of them seem to discover love at the same time.

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Well folks, that sums up Nyra’s first character profile! I hope this has given you a better picture of who she is as a character and what she brings to the story. If there’s something more you’d like to know please leave your question(s) in the comment section as the end of this posting. I urge you – go on, ask!

I will be creating and posting more character profiles for Astrid, Richelle and Tullio in the coming weeks so stay tuned here or on my Facebook Page for links!

Thanks so much for visiting and reading! Your support is what pushes me to deliver!

Favorite Making Patterns excerpt

The masses have responded! In honor of my Facebook Author Page reaching 500 likes I am sharing an excerpt of my current work-in-progress, Making Patterns. An erotic romance featuring seamstress Nyra Sellet and her paramour Astrid Ferelin, Making Patterns takes us deeper into the world of Abiniam (the setting for my other novel She Will Become in which these two characters are first introduced) in the years prior to Nyra’s appointment to Court Clothier under King Reese Westphalia. This story explores how Nyra and Astrid met, fell in love, and came to the positions they hold in She Will Become.

Without further ado I give you the promised excerpt from Making Patterns.

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Astrid made Nyra wait in the front room of her shop while she dressed. The seamstress fidgeted anxiously, straightening her mannequins and adjusting the clothing they displayed although they didn’t need the attention. She kept a keen ear out for any sounds of difficulty or distress but heard nothing from the other room. Alternating between worrying over Astrid’s opinion of her work and awareness that the girl was in some tantalizing state of undress only feet away, Nyra’s mind was a whirlwind of conflicting thought.

It had taken her only four days of designing and choosing fabrics before she began work, having taken Astrid’s measurements that same afternoon of the proposal. The session had been a challenge to her professionalism and creative drive. Astrid had smelled of hot sun and sweat intermixed with the sweet aromas of cream and berries rising off her skin and from her hair; a heady combination that set hunger blazing through Nyra’s limbs. She had been hard pressed not to turn her knotted strings into tools of foreplay, constantly reminding herself to count the knots and take the string away lest her fingers linger too long in one area or stray beyond the lines that needed accounting.

The most difficult moment of all had been in taking the measurements for Astrid’s inseams, needing to place the end of her string in sensitive and as yet unexplored areas. Nyra had felt the girl’s pulse leap as she’d pressed the string along the length of Astrid’s inner thigh, inches away from her center. Her knuckles were basted in rolling waves of moist heat and her head spun as desire made her dizzy.

Feeling Astrid’s trembling and hearing her sudden ragged breathing had only made it worse. She’d wavered, achingly tempted to simply shift her hand upward into the yielding flesh visibly hungering for her touch and give the girl the rousing bout of lovemaking they were both craving. It was only the thought of Astrid garbed in a shirt, jacket and trousers of her design and made thoroughly Ahron that brought her back to her purpose. Taking care to keep her touches light and counting quick Nyra had made swift work of taking the rest of the girl’s measurements before finally giving in to the ardent need to taste and devour Astrid’s lips.

Now, a day ahead of schedule Astrid was donning the results of Nyra’s determination and talent. They had no plans to immediately set out, having agreed to stick with the original plan and lunch the following day against the backdrop of the ever present ocean as it pounded the shore and made Quoral the trade city it was. Today was for introduction and last minute adjustments or fixes. Yet Nyra was still apprehensive – what if Astrid didn’t like it? What if she was uncomfortable in the cut? She’d said she’d never worn trousers before. Would all her work be for naught, their outing canceled due to Nyra’s failures?

She fretted and fidgeted, twitching and pacing. Time stretched on endlessly or so it felt. The silence emanating from the other room was a double edged sword that bled Nyra of her anxiety. Without realizing it Nyra played with her hair, something she hadn’t done since she was a child full of nervous tendencies and tells. Twisting and twining her chestnut curls between her fingers in mindless repetition, she chewed her lip and resisted the urge yet again to call out to Astrid and beg comment.

Just when she thought she might go mad with the silent waiting the curtains separating the rooms parted as a figure stepped through them. An involuntary gasp escaped her when, for a dozen startling seconds, she didn’t recognize the person standing in front of her. Dressed in a smart brocade vest of luxurious brown against a vibrant bronze over a high collared indigo shirt, a strange man with familiar dusky blue eyes and fair eyebrows surveyed her from beneath the upturned brim of his hat. He stood with a slight swagger in the set of his narrow shoulders and angle of his hips, thighs long and muscled under a pair of mahogany trousers that bloused at the knees and tucked into calf length black boots.

Normally unaffected by a man’s body Nyra reeled with sudden and visceral sexual attraction. Her throat went tight, her mouth dry as paper. The rest of her body burst into flames and every ounce of liquid her mouth once held now flooded her core. A low growl of appreciation and hunger rumbled out of her.

The sound served to shatter the effect as the man’s expression shifted from remote interest to girlish delight. A jaw line once firm with stoic resolve softened as a pleased smile gushed forth. The swagger disappeared into a sudden feminine withdrawing, the imagined existence of external genitalia no longer an impetus for cocking the pelvis outward.

Ahron dissolved into Astrid so smoothly Nyra was shaken. Her face felt hot and her heart beat so hard she could both see and feel her pulse behind her eyes. Trying to speak availed her not. She could only stand and gape open mouthed, amazed, awed, and overwhelmingly aroused by what she just experienced.

“Did it work? Was I convincing?”

Black spots danced at the edges of Nyra’s vision, distracting her. She focused on them and realized she was holding her breath, having forgotten how to breathe. Sucking in heady gouts of air she tried again to speak but had no words, having forgotten everything but yes, yes, oh love, yes but her tongue felt foreign in her head, unwieldy and useless. But Astrid needed an answer so she did the only thing that felt right; she swept across the room and kissed Astrid. Her mouth opened under Nyra’s sudden onslaught and it was there in the humid cavern of Astrid’s waiting mouth that Nyra’s tongue remembered how to communicate.

You are stunning, she said in deep plunges that plumbed the back of Astrid’s throat and set their teeth cracking against each others.

I want you, I love you, I need you, she intoned licking at the insides of Astrid’s cheeks and dancing along her tongue teasingly.

I am yours for the taking, for mastery if you wish it, she confessed in long draughts that sucked Astrid’s tongue into her mouth.

Astrid’s arms came up to surround her and Nyra was crushed to a firm, flat chest. Her attention momentarily diverted to marveling at what felt like the complete erasure of Astrid’s feminine endowments, her fervent communications stuttered and then stopped as Astrid nudged her head aside to nuzzle and nip at her neck. A soft yet distinctly masculine growl washed over her tender, sensitive skin. The vibration traveled through her and touched something deep inside turning her innards to water and knees to jelly. She sagged into the crushing embrace and reveled at this unexpected side of Astrid – so confident and self assured in demanding the dominant role.

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If you’d like to read more of Making Patterns or get to know Nyra and Astrid better be sure to Follow my Facebook Page or this blog for more information on character profiles and possible further excerpts!

 

As always support your Indie authors by leaving feedback or a review! I would absolutely love to know your thoughts on this WIP or any of my other projects!

 

Adonis Mann visits courtesy of All Authors Blog Blitz 2014!

Hello my faithful and ever patient readers! Today, June 15, 2014, bloggers all over the world are participating in an online event known as the All Authors Blog Blitz. Each of us hosts another blogger for the day and allow them to reach a wider audience.

I’m honored to host fellow erotica author Adonis Mann.

 

Adonis MannWell Hello there! Adonis “The Mann” here!

Thanks for having me today on your blog. Wordsmith, thank you so very much for having me here! I’m so happy and obliged to be here—especially for this special occasion known as the All Authors Blog Blitz.

This is my very first blog blitz of any kind, so I was a little on the fence as to what I was going to share with you all today.

So, turning to my publisher they suggested that I should share an excerpt of my current WIP. I’ve named it “… and we“.

At first my publisher was like, “’… and we?’ That’s a weird title. Why no cap’s and the ellipse at the front?”

My reply was simple, “Well think of it this way, ‘… and we, did this. And we, did that.’ Make sense now?”

“Oh! We get it now!” They replied happily.

All I could do was wipe my forehead and think, “PHEW!” I honestly thought I was in trouble. (giggling)

phew!

 

Now before I get into the excerpt, I’ll tell you a little bit about my background and genre.

My name, as I’m sure you all know by now, is Adonis, Adonis Mann (insert James Bond voice here). I am of a bisexual/pan-sexual nature and proud.

I have been an aspiring author for some time now. I’ve always wanted to write, but never really knew what I wanted to write about. Another problem was that I knew I’d never be able to write a full length novel. I was like “HOW many THOUSAND words?!?!”

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Then one day…

I swear it was like lightning! A little voice in the back of my head said “Adonis, you twit, write short stories! People love those too!”

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In comes my friend Synful Desire…

She was all, “Hey Manny, I got signed up with this new, up-and-coming publishing agency called All Authors Publishing House. These people are the bomb. They’ve got a magazine, a blog, I mean everything! Give ’em a try. Cause they actually took a few of my short stories and now they’re working on my full length. Good thing is that they’re taking newbies like you and me.”

And I was like, “O! M! G! Genius!” And following the prompts, I went to their site, submitted my stuff and VOILA, I am now under their label.

As for the story ideas, they pretty much took a life of their own. I just took what I knew, added a little spice and BING, BANG, BOOM! I had my first short story… then my second… and my… well, you get the idea.

So, without further ado, an excerpt of “… and we” by… well, ME!

Enjoy!

PS:

I don’t have a cover as of yet, but will soon.

 

***

 

DISCLAIMER:

This is a work of an erotic nature and will have sexual and sensual content.

 

The bitter sweet sizzle of my tongue against her scorching hot nipple was like a droplet of water on a searing hot piece of coal. It sent a tiny shockwave of electric revelry coursing through me; from the tip of my tongue ton the edge of my indulgence, which at that very moment was battling to come free of its confinements. By this point, I could feel that it was red with throbbing need to feel the slick warmth of her inner cove.
She hummed deep in her throat as the delightful sensation tickled her erect pink nub. She liked it—I licked it—it was fantastic.

Gripping it between my teeth, I grazed it, running it through them. She moaned again. “Mmmm.” She was a vixen for pain, this one.

From behind, I felt his hands caress my back from bottom to top, and top to bottom. He puffed his satisfaction. He enjoyed watching—he was fond of participating even more.

“That’s right Papa, take her!” He commanded in a sensual, sing-song voice. It was a combination of horniness and ravishment—a male siren.

Lifting my other hand to her awaiting breast—one unoccupied by either a mouth or hand—I fondled it too, pinching that nipple between my fingers, knowing that she enjoyed the olio of indulgence and pang. She was a rarity, the sort that happily mixed business with pleasure, and pleasure with pain. A sexual phoenix.

He was wanton. Libidinous was his desire.

All of this was the foreground of a masterpiece night. The three of us, a room full of passion, pheromones and testosterone—a banquet for coition. The spice for magnetism which would produce a night full of carnal merriment. Three covetous souls with each other. A cocktail of absolute perfection.

And perfect it was…

***

And in conclusion, if you enjoyed what you just read connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or by email at adonis.mann@mail.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Cheers!

 

Links:

Twitter

https://twitter.com/AdonisMann1

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/adonisthemann

Blog

http://adonis.mann.wordpress.com

“7 Years Passed” Excerpt

Somewhere around 15 years ago (yikes, has it truly been that long?!) I started writing a story titled “7 Years Passed”, taking inspiration from a recent relationship gone afoul. Like most stories I started at that time it never went past a dozen pages before another idea took over and was shuffled to the way-back burner. A recent exploration of a box of old writing brought the story back to the front burner.

Having finished the draft for “She Will Become” I decided it was high time to start finishing projects and began to work on “7 Years Passed”. At first I was fearful I could not slide right back into the main character, Misha’s thoughts and continue the story in the same style. I was more than elated to discover she has been waiting all this time and was ready to help me tell the rest of her story.

Since resuming work “7 Years Passed” has grown considerably in length. While as yet incomplete I wanted to share an excerpt. I am as proud of Misha as I am Tristen, the main character in “She Will Become”. It is my hope that this new character will prove as emotionally evocative and connective as the crew that lived in my head for twenty years.

Proudly, I present to the world: an excerpt of “7 Years Passed”, an erotic f/f novella.

~

7 Years Passed

Why are you here, I wonder?  I thought you’d gone on, having had enough of suburban life and housewife drama.  I thought you saw bright lights and the big city on your horizon.

I thought you had another girl on your arm.

Why are you here then, standing across the street, watching me watching you in the flower shop window?  You look out of place for having been gone so long. Your movie star blond streaks and eye candy nail polish give you away as the outsider.  Your foreign-ness is obvious in the way you hold your body- half stiff, half undulating in the common stance used to attract attention in Hollywood.  Even your eyes, at half -mast to suggest a sultry sexual appetite, speak of your not belonging.  They have the wild look of having seen too many secret atrocities of famous peoples’ lives.

I don’t understand.  Why are you here, again, bearing that half smile, being beautiful- not the way you were back then but still beautiful because there’s no other way for you to be- and bringing back the faint impressions of old emotions thought resolved?

I turn away.  You are not here.  I’ve had this walking dream before.  It’s never been this real before but I know… you’re not really here.  You’re off in Hollywood, making B-movies, sleeping with that girl you picked up in Anaheim, living your life the way you always said you would.

But you are here, maybe.  I hear your voice, suddenly calling to me.  I wait to turn- it could be another auditory hallucination- but then you’re tapping me on the shoulder.  I have to turn around, as my heart quadruples its beat.

            This moment is happening…this moment is happening….

There you are, so close I can smell your perfume- something musky, something I don’t know the name of.  You’re wearing make-up and it looks good on you.  Blue always was your color.  I like the silver lipstick, but I can’t look long… you stand too close and all I can feel is the familiar urge to reach out and touch.

“Misha,” you say.  I close my eyes.  It’s been years since I’ve heard you say my name.  I suddenly feel like crying.  I’m at a loss for words.  I used to think if you ever came back I’d give you this eloquent speech about the power of love, about how two people belong together, about how you destroyed my idea of life by walking away, by pursuing a dream I was so obviously not a part of.  Now… now all the words are gone.  I can barely breathe.

            This moment is happening….

“I thought it was you,” You say, half smiling still.  You shift your weight to one booted heel- high heel boots, your shoe of choice.  I make myself nod, trying not to let my eyes drift down your body.  It is a well-mapped territory but it’s not my territory anymore.  “How have you been?”

I try to take a breath.  My chest is heavy.  My knapsack seems to have doubled its weight.  I shrug. “Good, I guess. You?”  I manage.  Your smile widens.  My heart catches.

Why are you here?

“So, so. Hollywood… well, its not-” You halt, look around wistfully.  I’m taken aback.  “It’s not Pine Falls. It’s not home.”  Your eyes come back to me.  I want to ask why.  I want to ask about Janet.  Instead I am silent.  I will let you tell me, if that’s what you want.  I’ve been long done with asking the questions.  “You still live in the same place?”

I nod, remembering how to breathe now.  I haven’t moved since you left, even though the memories continued to live in the house with me.

“You wouldn’t happen to have a spare room would you?  I’m in need of a place to crash for awhile.”

I forget how to breathe again.  A spare room.  For you. In my house. The house we once lived in together, as a couple.  I can’t think, can’t comprehend.  Why are you here?  Why are you asking me for a room?

            This moment is happening….

I should say no.  I suddenly remember Nan.  She won’t like my ex-girlfriend coming back to town, wanting to live in the house we now share.  She’ll be angry.  She’ll think something is up.  She’s so smart.  She knows I never fell out of love with you.

“Nan,” I blurt without meaning to.  You look at me, not understanding.  Then, like the dawn in the sky, it hits you and you nod.

“Oh.  Sorry.  I didn’t even think.  You’ve got a girlfriend.”    Am I going crazy?  You sound disappointed.

I find my voice.  Nan is a distraction from you.  I can talk about her.

“Three years now.  She moved in a year and a half ago.”  We share the same room you and I slept in.  “Where’s Janet?”  Damn, I didn’t mean to say that!  You frown, and then shrug.

“Gone.  We were too different.  I wanted to make artsy films.  She wanted to be in porn.  She said that’s where the money was.  I told her to go and she went.”  You look around again, as if Main Street has changed since you were last here.  It hasn’t changed- only you have.  You shift weight again.  I suddenly feel terribly awkward, standing here.  Nan could come along and see us.  What would she think? “I’ll catch a hotel then. I just thought I’d save a few bucks by staying with you.”

There it is- that tone.  You always were good at making me feel bad for playing it safe.  I nod, pushing that old feeling away.  I’m with Nan now.  You have no power over me anymore.

“Sorry.  I have to go.  Nan’s waiting.”  It’s time to go.  Nan’s not really waiting but I can’t stand here anymore.  There are too many questions I can’t ask, too many things I want to do to you but can’t.  I have to leave.

“Okay then.  Can I call you sometime?”

I barely hear the question but bob my head to it anyway.  I’m turning, walking away.

            This moment is over….

*

She kisses me when I come home.  She was waiting for me, it seems.

She’s in a mood and doesn’t speak as she leads me to the couch.  I usually like it when she takes control like this but not now.  I’m not really paying attention.  I can’t stop thinking about you.

She pushes me down on the couch and unbuttons my shirt.  Her hands are all over me, squeezing my breasts, fingers tweaking my nipples.  She licks my neck, and bites my shoulder.

Why have you come back to Pine Falls?  How did you find me downtown?  Was it by chance or were you looking for me?

Nan licks my nipples and she takes off my jeans and underwear.  Then her hand is between my legs, fingering my clit.  I hardly feel her touch.

I was single for four years after you left.  I was afraid to love again.  You had taken my heart with you.  I wonder if you know that.  Most likely you don’t.  You paid attention to whatever you wanted or needed and I- I was always left wanting.  But- oh, you had talented hands, a skilled mouth.  You were so good at making love.  I always wondered how you got to be so good.

I feel the first spark of desire as Nan slips two fingers up inside me.  Vaguely, I realize it’s not so much a response to her but to the memories of you.

She strokes up inside me and I think of her fingers as yours.  You used to be able to make me cum with a few strategic rubs to my G-Spot.  I wonder if you still could.

She’s pushing in and out now, fingers creating friction.  I tighten inside, eyes closed, remembering.  You used to talk to me, asking me if I liked it, if I wanted to be fucked, if I wanted it harder. You would tease- bringing me up to the very edge of orgasm, then stop, waiting, wanting me to beg for you to make me cum.  When I would, you’d get this sadistic grin on your face.

She adds a third finger and drops down, using her tongue on my clit.  I feel it now- the hot, wet stroke of her tongue.  I take a breath, trembling.  She licks and licks, pulling my clit in between her teeth to suck on it. I’m going to cum soon….

You loved to tongue fuck me, using your tongue- which always seemed so long- like your fingers, pushing in and out as your fingers toyed at my clit, with my nipples.  You said tongue fucking was always the best because you were right there, drinking up the juices as you made them.  You said it was a turn on for me to cum on your mouth.

Suddenly, I’m cumming in huge waves.  Nan is down there, where you should be, receiving what you should be receiving.  I struggle against crying out- I know it will be your name I scream, not Nan’s, and to scream your name would be relationship suicide.

I cling to the couch, body spasming.  I picture you between my legs, licking me clean, and then climbing up the couch to share it with me.  Then Nan is kissing me, her lips and tongue tasting of my own sex, but somehow it tastes different.  These are not your lips.  This tongue is not yours and your own flavor does not mingle with that of my sex.  No, this is Nan…Nan, whom I’ve sworn to love, to hell and back.  But oh…I’ve never stopped loving you and now you’re back.

~

Loved what you just read and want more? Stay tuned for more updates, publication and release dates!

REVIEW: Darkness of Her Soul by Elle Anor

Review for Darkness of Her Soul by Elle Anor

Originally posted via The Review Board here.

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Synopsis via Amazon:

A serial killer is on the loose in Pretoria, South Africa. Older lesbians are not safe in gay bars and clubs anymore. Will Captain Laura Gooding and her team be able to stop the killings? Something happens and the killer doesn’t kill according to profile. The Killer kills again and vanishes into thin air.

My Review:

When I read there are a few key things I’m looking for, namely and in this general order:

  1. Are the characters detailed enough in physical description, background, behavior motivations and interactions with other characters so as to be easily relatable?  Are the characters authentic? Will I care what happens to them throughout the story?
  2. Is there an actual plot that carries these characters forward through time and events in a coherent and pleasing/attention-keeping way? Are there plot holes?
  3. Does the writing (the words chosen and structured to tell the story) match up in quality to the story itself?

Darkness of Her Soul met two of the three requirements to merit having invested the time necessary to read the work.

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The author gives us a cast of characters that reach out and connect with the reader through a fast paced plot of unexpected and often snicker-inducing twists and turns. Frequently, when not reading the book, I discovered I was wondering just what was going to happen next and very much enjoyed the developing relationship between the characters Lynn and Laura, the primary character around whom the novel revolves. The book is full of moments of surprising attention to detail in a variety of fields: I now know how to make several alcoholic mixed drinks, know how several pieces of medical equipment work and why, and dove into a psychology class and came out a little more understanding of the mind of a victim of a sexual crime at the hands of a trusted relative.

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A little editing goes a long way

This was enough of a connection with the story in order for me to slog my way through the writing. Ms. Anor admits in the post script that this is her first English language novel but this is no excuse for what appears to be a complete and flagrant disregard for editing. It should be fact enough to compel the author to hire on an editor whose native language is English. Yet English speaking or not any editor worth their salt (and the wages they might be earning in the process) might have taken a hand in pointing out the rough if not non-existent scene transitions. Scenes change often within the same sentence which is jarring, pulling the reader away from the story as they try to comprehend how the characters started in one place and ended up in another.

Pause much?

Pause much?

The overuse of commas was dreadful, making for stuttered reading until I trained my brain to see the extra comma but not pause in response. This did not seem to be something that was stylistic either. The text read as though the author inserted a comma every time she paused in her thinking. If so, she paused a lot.  As a fellow writer this is something understandable but I strongly recommend a refresher course in grammar and punctuation.

No, I don’t think it’s what the author meant, but it seemed to fit.

No, I don’t think it’s what the author meant, but it seemed to fit.

In several places there were incorrect words being used. “Sequenced dress” instead of “sequined dress”; a character put on cloves at a crime scene, not gloves. The author also seems to appreciate the word plunge a great deal; she uses it with zeal to describe the characters sitting and laying down. They plunge to the couch and to their beds almost exclusively. I pictured these people moving in such jerky, compulsive ways that it detracted from the story.

There is a tense consistency that needs to be addressed. The text switches back and forth between third and first person tense sometimes in the same sentence.

I also found the usage of the F-bomb a little out of place in many places. Pat, one of the secondary characters, uses it in front of her sister’s young daughter and no one bats an eye. The words butch, dyke and dildo are strewn throughout the text lending a crudeness that is either intrinsic to the culture Ms. Anor is most familiar with in Pretoria, South Africa or words thrown in for the visceral reaction most people are going to have when reading them. I’d like to be clear in my meaning. What is at issue here is not the fact that this story revolves around lesbians but rather how the lifestyle is stylized in this text, particularly by the South African press. Do the newspapers there truly use those words in their headlines? Do the police and medical examiners use such vernacular terms in referring to a vibrator/sex toy as a dildo? It just didn’t read as professional to me – as though the author took the time to research medical procedures and equipment, police procedure and operations, but not how the press actually handles publicizing such atrocities. Because I had these questions I found this aspect to the story hard to connect with and digest.

My impression of Darkness of Her Soul was that the author has a genuine desire to tell stories and may even be pretty good at it. She gets people and creates characters that deserve better writing to support them. I followed the story on intrigue alone and often thought “this could be so much better if the author took a writing class, learned her craft and how to use it with finesse.” There is a great story in this book but the author tells it like she’s wielding a blunt axe instead of waving a baton and conducting a symphony.

Lastly this book is classified under the erotica genre. While there were aspects of sensuality and scenes of explicit sexual nature I would not consider this to be erotica. It would be more accurate to label it as a lesbian themed crime drama with a dash of sex and romance thrown in.

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Save your hard earned money for filet mignon. Ms. Anor is serving only mediocre cheeseburgers here.

BOOK REVIEW: Bernie and the Putty

Bernie and the Putty

 

Genre: “Humorous fantasy for young adults to adults”

Synopsis via TheUniverseBuilders.com:

How can you stop a god bent on destroying everything…  Even if you are a god?

This humorous fantasy explores a world where Gods and Goddesses go to school, fall in love, and struggle with bad bosses and horrible bullies while designing complex universes.

Meet Bernie, God School’s latest graduate, described by his teachers as careless and lacking focus, yet lucky enough to land a job building a sun with three planets.

Meet Shemal, the boss who eats young gods for breakfast. When Shemal isn’t terrorizing Bernie, our young god has to deal with Billy. Think Satan is God’s adversary? Billy’s the Bully God with a grudge and a plan to sabotage Bernie’s universe with mysterious asteroids, volcanoes and more.

 My review:

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy, having signed up for the possibility based solely on the synopsis and cover art. I was immediately intrigued which says a lot about Mr. LeBel’s ability to hook a reader before they’ve even started reading the book itself.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Bernie and the Putty. The writing is superb; so much so that I forgot that Mr. LeBel is not a teenager fresh out of school. Bernie and the cast of characters reach out and grab you from the get go, even if only to make you wonder who they are and why they’re even friends (or enemies) with Bernie.

In the reading it is obvious that Mr. LeBel is writing from a place of deep personal experience and a passionate interest and expertise in the sciences. I love a book that I can learn from and this book delivers a gamut of lessons ranging from weather systems to plate tectonics, right down to the fundamentals of what it would take to create not just life but a solar system to which that life will eventually belong. All of this wonderful sciencey-geeky-nerdy (I can reference this phrase because I’m one of those sciencey-geeky-nerdy people) information is delivered couched within the frustrating woes of a budding builder with pacifist tendencies that often proved to be his ruin in the past and still threaten his success. My brain is full of not only plot and characters but solid information and knowledge to support both. That scores highly in my appreciation factors.

Bernie and the Putty is an entirely unique book and well worth the read. This story delivers consistently, and often with surprising plot twists that serve to add layers of complexity and keen insight into what makes us all gods – our very humanity.

The true proof of enjoyment is my willingness to reread the book at some future point. This one is a keeper and I thank Mr. LeBel for sharing his talent.

REVIEW: Severed Ties by Angie Skelton

Originally posted via The Review Board, here.

severedties-angie

Amazon

Genre: Paranormal (Coming of Age?)

Synopsis via Amazon.com:

By the use of divination and magic, some ties can never be severed.

In the beginning, by the light of the Full Moon, Frankie connects with Candice’s energy through dream time and witnesses her involvement in a terrifying act of violence. After receiving information from Sandra that their childhood friend is missing, they pack their bags and head to the inner city to find her.

Frankie, afraid for her own safety, has a chance encounter with a local named Calvin who is plugged into what’s happening. Using his workable ideas—as well as Frankie and Sandra consulting tarot, ordinary playing cards, astrology, and spell-casting—they set forth to free Candice from the dangerous situation she is in.

My review:

Severed Ties was a short read and mercifully so. While definitely well-written (the author knows her craft) this story missed some key aspects that are what kept it from achieving the full 10 out of 10 stars, ranking in at 5 for this reader.

The synopsis is spot on as to describing the plot but what I immediately noticed is that the “inner city” that Sandra and Frankie move to is never identified by name, location, geographic area. Specific streets are named when scrying for Candice produces results indicating to me that this was set in some actual city somewhere but the author never gives us that answer.  I found it hard to connect with the story fully from the beginning due to this lack of information.

where_am_i

Correspondingly it takes the entire story to explain exactly how Sandra, Frankie and Candice know each other. I’m not sure if the author has written other works in which these characters have been previously featured and this story is something additional but there was a disappointing lack of familiarizing the reader with who these women were.

tarot_cards

It is clear the author knows her magic and there are two sides to this coin for me. The story moves very quickly into discussion of magic and magical abilities through such practices as tarot reading, scrying, spell-casting, and communing with spirits. This is an area of study that appeals to this reader for a variety of reasons all going to the point of making me a fan of this subject and genre but there was very little easing a “newbie” into what a few things meant. The characters rely a great deal on their tarot decks but the author doesn’t spend much time at all in explaining what some of the cards meant when they came up, providing only the character’s automatic knowledge and response. I am unfamiliar with tarot and found this assumption that the reader should have that same intimate familiarity to be a disappointment.  If you’ve watched at least two or three episodes of “Charmed” you’ll understand about 60% of what the characters are talking about.  However if you are someone who does have that intimate familiarity this aspect wouldn’t be a turn off. In fact it’s something you probably wouldn’t even notice.

I found Frankie’s narrow-mindedness tedious and often smirked along with Calvin in agreement with a great deal of his sentiments. Sandra spends quite a bit of time giving her pep talks and speaks more like she is twice Frankie’s age rather than being roughly the same. I almost thought of Sandra as more like Frankie’s older maternal guide than her closest friend and because the author never clarifies exactly how old these girls are beyond inferring they’re still in high school I was consistently confused.

It may have been advertent to make Frankie an intensely naïve and potentially sheltered character but I found this to have a “preachy” element, hence my agreement with some of Calvin’s observations regarding Frankie’s opinions of Candice’s life choices.  At times it read as though the author was writing from a stereotyping viewpoint rather than having experienced any of the darker elements Candice’s life revolved around.

There just wasn’t enough connective, familiarizing detail to make this a story that I could easily relate to. Therefore it was difficult to embrace the characters, their backgrounds, relationships or their motivations beyond something that felt formulaic – a series of ill applied elements woven around a proficient knowledge of Wicca (I’m guessing this is as close as I can get to describing some of the girls’ beliefs but again this is one more detail never specified) in order to showcase the author’s knowledge.

REVIEW: Echoes from the Lost Ones (The Song of Forgetfulness) by Nicola J. McDonagh

Echoes from the Lost Ones: Song of Forgetfulness

Echoes from the Lost Ones: Song of Forgetfulness

Amazon  |  Website | Koobug

Review originally posted via The Review Board.

Echoes from the Lost Ones: Song of Forgetfulness is dystopian done right. Although dystopian fiction is not my go-to, must-read genre I do appreciate a masterpiece when it comes across my desk. This story is one such masterpiece, reminiscent of an Escher painting that ever draws the eye as the brain searches and seeks to map out the complexities of his art.

Ms. McDonagh tells a fast-paced, action-packed tale set in a future so mangled and changed by time and human intervention and war that it is scarce recognizable called NotSoGreatBritAlbion. Through the main character Adara’s point of view we are introduced to a world of Citydwellers whose existence is dependent upon rationed supplies provided by a militant governing faction of people known only as the Agros. Adara is a Citydweller, having fled the Cityplace of her home in search of her brother Deogol whom has been kidnapped by the Agros. As she sets out on her quest to find him she encounters a lively and growing cast of compatriots, starting with Wirt the Nearlyman, a member of an outcast tribe of teenage boys and adult men, all of whom are Wooddwellers. It is with them that we learn of Adara’s unique abilities, and that she is not the only one with seemingly supernatural abilities.

After a violent encounter with the Nearlymen and Manlymen Adara and Wirt flee to the Ladies whom are more than they appear to be. Aided by the Ladies Adara and Wirt are sent on a quest that takes them into the Beyondness that in description harkens to thousands of years of warfare, death and desolation. In the Beyondness, where no souls go for fear of mutant Clonies of all sorts or catching the virus that decimated the population and caused such mutations, Adara and Wirth meet a S.A.N.T. named Eadgard, a Backpacker whom has been sent to escort them and provide security. Confused but willing to accept his expertise on the dangers of the Beyondness Adara and Wirt accompany him through the dark and foreboding landscape where they are soon waylaid by a snarling pack of mutant wolfies under the control of a duo of Clonies. Much mystery and rumor surrounds the Clonies including cannibalism.

The story continues on as such with the adventures of Adara and Wirt increasing in importance and reveals itself to be, like the Ladies, more than it appears to be.

What really drew me in was the surprisingly eloquence of the language both used as the first person narrative and spoken by the Adara and growing cast of characters. While truncated and often reduced to rudimentary there is a wonderful fluidity and shocking presence of vocabulary even in the characters one would assume have the least amount of formal education, if any. To some this may prove a detractor but for this reader it added an element of plausibility. I enjoyed how McDonagh has broken down and restructured the system of spoken language to illuminate thousands of years of evolutionary changes while still being able to communicate the basic elements of humanity – civility and good-will.

I have only one note to the negative (and this may be due solely to my having converted the digital document from a pdf to an e-pub for greater reading ease): but the text was continually interrupted by what appeared to be a header with the book’s title, author and page number. The first few times I ran into this it was a detractor and pulled me out of the story when I was deeply engrossed in it. Eventually I just trained my eye to see it and skip past it but there were quite a few sentences that dead-ended in the header and then continued on after a few lines. I recommend some formatting tweaks to make the reading experience flawless.

New to McDonagh’s works this story has me craving more. Echoes from the Lost Ones: Song of Forgetfulness is a delicious appetizer, serving only to whet the appetite while the entrée cooks.

Verdict: 9 out of 10 TRB Stars.