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Challenge extended, Ms. Hawthorne? Challenge accepted.

(Or as L.D. Blakeley most cogently quipped, “Bring the Payne!”)

So I’m sure that many of you have heard of a certain kerfluffle regarding an indie author who put up a GoFundMe fund to support herself while she wrote. I actually have no problem with people being patrons of a writer. That’s been a perfectly functional income stream for centuries, and in fact Patreon exists for creators who want to use it.

Unfortunately, this indie writer made it clear that she was in possession of, let us say, a rose-colored worldview on writing, publishing, and all that comes along with the scribbling dodge. Things became more fraught when her call for funding was then picked up by social media, bloggers, and writers (the awesome Jenny Trout did a marvelously fair-handed analysis of the situation). Many people pointed out the worst of her impractical expectations, often in some rather harsh terms. In response Indie Author lashed out, first on her GoFundMe page and then on her FB page.

(By the way, never do this. Never. Just no. Write nasty letters to your critics and then delete the letters, burn the critics in effigy, make voodoo dolls of them, whatever makes you feel better. But do not go on social media to lambaste them with phrases such as “cock-juggling thunder cunts.” Although I did like the use of that line in Blade Trinity. But I digress.)

Now, I’m not going to criticize the lashout — I don’t know the lady, I don’t know what challenges she faces, yadda yadda. But I was particularly intrigued by one comment of hers, to wit:

“I’d like to challenge each and every one of these wonderful women to a writing contest. How about an 80K (that’s 80,000 words people, not dollars!) novel. It needs to be fully edited, proofed and a professional cover designed for it. Oh, and they have only 6 months to do all this. Ok, go.”


*pauses to look at WIP list*

*nods to self*

Challenge accepted. In fact, I’m gonna go one better. I hereby state to the internet at large than I am going to finish an 80K fantasy erotic romance novel and have it fully edited, proofed, and provided with a professional cover in six weeks. And just to make this totally fair, that novel will be Navigator’s Star, since I only have 3K of it done and a vagueish outline so total word count will be 83K.

UPDATE: I’ve renamed the novel to Empress of Storms. You’ll see why.

Official start date is September 21st, release date will be November 1st, and I’ll be posting daily updates on word count, editing process, cover reveal, et al on FB and Twitter with a weekly roundup here. So stay tuned. This should be fun.

Mid Week Tease: Navigator’s Star #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15Okay, so if you go back a post you’ll see that I wrote about this crazy MF high fantasy erotic romance that the Muse dropped on me a few days ago. Which makes no sense whatsoever as 1) I don’t write high fantasy, and 2) my single MF title to date sank like a stone.

And yet the adjoining lands of Ypres and Hellas are calling to me like you would not believe. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it when it’s finished, but I’ll worry about that when it happens. In the meantime, here’s a snippet from King Matthias and Queen Danäe’s somewhat disjointed wedding night.

Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

Widower King Matthias IV of Ypres is called upon to fulfill a treaty with the neighboring country of Hellas and provide a royal consort for young Queen Danäe. But with his son’s disappearance, the only Ypresian royal available for marriage is himself. Can he overcome his grief for his late wife and risk letting a blue-haired witch queen into his heart? And can Danäe, still training as a Water Mage, root out a magical threat against Matthias before it kills the man she’s loved since childhood?

“So, here we are,” Matthias said softly.

“Here we are,” Danäe echoed.

He put the candle down on the bedside table, and sighed. “This is not something that either of us wished for,” he said quietly. “But we are now married, for better or worse. And this union will do much to help both our countries.”

And Flavia was worried about me talking politics in my wedding bed. “I know.”

He sat on the bed, reaching across to take her hand. “I know we are no lovematch, and I won’t bother you again after tonight, but…” He trailed off, uncomfortable.

She squeezed his hand. “It’s traditional,” she said. “Sympathetic magic for the union of the countries. I do understand.”

He nodded, relieved. “I will try to make this as pleasant as possible.”

Leaning over, he blew out the candle, plunging the room into darkness. Out of respect for her modesty, she presumed. There was no way he could know about adept-trained darksight. Intrigued, she watched as the king shed his nightshirt.

Apart from scars earned in battle, the years had touched Matthias’s body only lightly. A slight sag in the chin and a thickening around the waist was all that separated him from one of his younger warriors. Danäe appreciated his broad chest, with its light scattering of curly hair, and the well-muscled arms, strong from years of fighting with sword and pila. A long, thin scar along his side ran down across his abdomen; she studied it, following its path downward to his groin. His cock was already stirring there, rising from its nest of curly hair, and promised an impressive girth when fully erect. You claim to be uninterested in me, milord king, but your body says otherwise.

Her own body reacted automatically, nipples hard and tingling. The brush of her silk shift across them felt like a caress. Danäe swallowed in what she hoped was silence, trying to keep her excitement under control. But gods, it was difficult. After years of fantasizing about this man, she was finally going to lie in his arms, feel his body enter hers, hold him close as she flew on the wings of pleasure.

Yes, except that he’s only doing this to fulfill the treaty. Erection or not, he doesn’t actually want to be married to you, remember?

The reminder helped to cool her ardor. The mattress sank slightly as Matthias climbed in beside her. In the dark the scent of his skin, a pleasantly woody scent underlaid with clean male, seemed more intense, and she breathed it in deeply. He moved closer to her, his erection pressing like a long, hot stone against her hip.

“I believe this would be easier if you removed your shift,” he said gently.

“Oh. Yes, of course.” Now grateful for the blush-hiding darkness, she sat up and yanked the delicate silk over her head, tossing it to the side. She lay back against the pillows, the chill air of the room bringing goosebumps to her exposed skin and inhaled sharply when Matthias laid a hand on her stomach.

He moved his hand upwards, delicately running his fingers along the underside of her breast, then cupping it, running a thumb over her nipple. The sensation caused a sharp spark of desire to crackle through her. His head dipped down, lips brushing against the hollow of her neck and nuzzling the soft skin there.

Cautiously, she touched his hair, stroking it. He lifted his face, eyes closed in a brief spasm of pleasure that quickly turned to grief. In a sudden burst of insight she realized that the dark was for his benefit, not hers. Without the light, he could pretend that the hair against his face was blond, not black, that the body he caressed was Ypresian, not Hellene.

Her heart ached in mingled sympathy and dismay. I cannot be Hanne, my husband. But for tonight, dream of her while you hold me.

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