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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tales from Belinda's Darkside

I got to thinking today...about some of the more stupid things I've done in my life. Some were stupid, harmless fun, some were flat-out stupid, dangerous things. For example, sliding through a culvert in a fast-moving irrigation canal, when everyone around me was drunk. (I wasn't drunk, I was just stupid.) Yeah, rural Utah. Not much to do.

Some of the stupid things I've done literally chill my skin, and I'm going to share one now.

Some people know that my degree is in History. My specific specialty is Public History, which trained me to get out in the field quite a lot. My minor was Cultural Anthropology. Again, that field puts you out among people, sometimes not always in the best places. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I often have no compunction about going someplace that I don't belong, primarily out of curiosity.

I show dogs. Every few years, I gird up my loins (Hi D!) and head to Manhattan to go to Westminster Kennel Club. The second time I went, my plane was delayed in Chicago for 3 days, and I missed seeing a dog that I bred on her day to show. In fact, I got there in time to have one day of shopping before Best In Show. My friend who will go by the name "Jane" suggested we go purse shopping. You see, all the dog show people go purse and scarf shopping when in Manhattan. It's just the thing to do. Heck if I know why, I'm no fashionista. Nevertheless, we went to Chinatown to go shopping.

Well, my friend Jane is with the Sheriff's department in her home county, so I didn't think we were going to be doing anything particularly off-track. I am a total goodie-two-shoes at heart. So when we went wandering into Chinatown, the adventure that we would have was the last thing from my mind. I thought it'd be like San Francisco, brimming with legal knock-offs, like Louis Vuitbone dog logo wallets, and so forth. But that's not what we found.

We hit a corner, and a little Chinese lady came up, tapped on Barb's Coach purse and said, "Cooche...Louis Vuitton..." and we followed her. We didn't follow her to a store, but to a back alley, where she gave a series of knocks on a cleverly hidden door. Inside, we wound through a maze of little corridors, up stairs and into little tiny cubbies. Inside those little rooms were mounds and mounds of purses, wallets, umbrellas and so forth. Louis, Coach, name it, it was there. The bulk of what we saw there that day were counterfeits, but salted among the dross were some real items. I was later told that they were seconds that were to be destroyed, but were sold off the back of the truck.

After we visited the first site, it became an obsession. I'm not an accessories fiend, but we went from place to place, exploring the underbelly of Chinatown. We went into basements, behind false walls in stores, and into abandoned, boarded store-fronts. At one place, we climbed several flights of stairs, and our procurer got really angry at me when I snuck off to peek into a little factory, where dozens of people were busy sewing away on designer sportswear. I recall that at that location, the glue was so fresh on the purses that I came away a little dizzy.

The dubious highlight of the day was when we followed someone into the boarded up front of a store; it was painted black, and we slipped between two loose boards and went into this dark hive of silent corridors. There were several of us once we got to the tiny room, a wealthy couple, (I may not know fashion, but I do know gemstones) a mother and daughter, and a young couple. Midway through our browsing, a young man came to the door, whispered urgently to the man who was watching the room. They ran away, and very soon our original guy returned. He closed the door, locked us in and told us to be very, very quiet. For awhile, the lights were off. We waited in that locked room for fifteen minutes, but it seemed like hours. When he returned and unlocked the room, he quickly hustled us back out the entrance, and then sent us on our way one or two at a time.

Holy. Shit.

To this day, I don't know if they were hiding from cops, but I have a suspicion these operations are Triad operated, and we could very well have found ourselves in a truly nasty situation between competing "vendors." As we left, Jane shook her head. "If I get arrested, I'll lose my job." The realization of just how dangerous this industry really is hit me like a ton of bricks. By buying fake and stolen merchendise, we were breaking the law just as surely as the vendors.

I personally know people who have tangled with the Triads. One man uprooted his entire family and fled Canton, coming to the US for safety. In Hong Kong, I know actors who have been forced into projects that they don't want to participate in. I once worked on a project with a few Hong Kong based celebrities, and was warned that the bad guys might contact me for a shake-down. Honestly, I cannot explain my naivete in this instance, except to say that I have that stupid desire to see what's under the surface of things.

I haven't been to Manhattan since that time, but if I did, I'd probably visit Chinatown. New York Chinatown is just amazing. And if someone approaches me saying, "Louis Vuitton," would I follow?

Probably. That's just the way I am. Is visiting these places illegal? I have no idea, but the things that I saw that day were stunning. I have no doubt that brothels also operated out of these covert businesses, not to mention a drug industry.

Would I buy anything? Are you kidding? At $50 for a knock-off purse? I buy my purses at the thrift possible way!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Cover! Devil's Advocate!

Isn't this just yummy? Last Call Europe: Devil's Advocate will be available Feb. 5 at Changeling Press! Read on for an excerpt!

TITLE: Last Call Europe: Devil’s Advocate

GENRE: Paranormal, Bisexual Menage

RELEASE DATE: February 5, 2010


Tiger shifters Mya and David have a problem. Every time Mya gets aroused, it wakens a beast within her that threatens to overpower her tiger. Unable to consummate their marriage with a proper mating, they turn in desperation to the Last Call, looking for a demon to undo the curse that afflicts her.

Jedidiah Wormwood Worth is a powerful demon and at the top of his field. He's not only a devious trickster who will rob you of your soul; he's also a successful attorney for the underworld -- the real underworld. When he sees the straitlaced shifters at the Specialty Bar, he knows that they'll be his. What he doesn't realize is that by the time the night ends, his heart will belong to them.

Devil's Advocate: Sex for a service, damnation not included.


Jedidiah Wormwood Worth scanned the room, taking a deep breath. He sorted the psychic fragrances of the room like an elderly woman arranging the colorful threads of her embroidery. To one side were the bitter, dark scents of those who were close to the edge, ripe and ready for temptation. On the other side of the spectrum were the sweet, bright tastes of the truly good. The rest played like a symphony over his palette, so full of potential and challenge.

But Jedidiah wasn’t here to work tonight. After all, even angels and demons needed the occasional night off.

He flicked a spot of lint from his impeccable Savile Row suit and removed his fedora, setting it to the side of an unoccupied table. His Burberry trench coat had been safely checked in the coat room. He tapped a manicured nail on the table as the waitress took his order.

There was no doubt that the Last Call was the place to be for the paranormal set in London . He admired the toe of his polished wing tip and contemplated the prospects for the night.

“Vampires and werewolves and fairies, oh my.” Without looking, he handed a bill to the waitress and accepted his drink, sipping at the smooth whisky in the glass. Why bother with all those silly mixed concoctions when a man could have the water of life? It was one of the higher accomplishments of humanity.

The waitress hadn’t moved, so he sighed in annoyance.

“Hello Shelly.”

“Good evening, Jedidiah.” Uninvited, she slid into the chair across from him. In the dim light of the bar, her red hair glowed like fire. Her smile was false and fierce; the tips of her fangs glinted past ruby lips. She was head of security here at the Last Call, and more than capable of drop kicking his sorry ass out the front door.

“I’m here for leisure tonight, so no secret meetings; no contracts in blood.” He sipped the whisky and caught a glimpse of a couple over her shoulder. They were a stunning Yin and Yang image; the man was dark to her ivory pale coloring. Lovely. He shifted, letting his trousers caress his balls.

Too steeped in innocence, but they were damned alluring.

“Just checking, Councilor. Last time you were here, you left a bit of chaos in your wake.”

“Just enforcing a contract. I have my boss and you have yours. That vampire had passed his expiration date. If I hadn’t gathered him, you’d have had a blood bath on your hands.”

She smiled sweetly. “We did have a blood bath on our hands, darling. You tore him to pieces, and in the process, destroyed half the bar.”

He cocked a brow. “But no lives were lost save his, Shelly. He was fleeing his contract, and the breech was tearing his soul from his body. I averted a catastrophe. As per your request, I’ve never returned until now. My exile from the Last Call is at an end.”

She sighed in disgust. Under that facade, he scented discomfort and a tinge of fear.

“Don’t worry, my dear; that one made his deal with the devil long before he was turned. You’re simply a vampire.”

“Simply a vampire, eh?”

“You aren’t evil, in spite of your wicked packaging.” He looked at the vampire steadily. “The most evil men and women can wrap their vile intentions in charitable disguise, my dear. Never forget that.”

Her smile was dangerous, but she scooted her chair back and rose. “No trouble tonight, Jedidiah. Do you promise?”

He raised two fingers. “Scout’s honor. I’m simply taking a day off.”

She cast him a final look before leaving. “I know you’re big shit in the underworld, Jed, but here you’re just a demon like all the others. The rules here apply to you.”

He grinned and stretched, seeing a couple demons at the edge of the dance floor; they were eyeing him like he was some sort of celebrity. They’d probably ask for his autograph before the evening was out. It was hard not to preen.

“I promise to be a good little demon, Shelly.”

“And I know you’re twisting your words, Jed. It’s bad enough that you’re a fucking demon, but you’re a lawyer too. Say what I need to hear, Councilor.”

His smile became wicked, and Jed fiddled with the hat on the table. His small, curved horns emerged, and he allowed a bit of red to seep into his eyes.

“Shelly, I promise that I am here for drinks, music and company. I am not here to hunt. I will abide by the rules of Last Call.” He glanced up at her face, seeing a look of disbelief lingering there. “Besides, even I can’t violate the wards that protect your clients.”

“Try telling that to Antonio.”

“Oh, I’m sure he’s thinking of that even now. He’ll have plenty of time in Hell to cogitate on his wrongdoings.” Jedidiah glanced back out to the dance floor, watching his little vanilla couple with appreciation. The man was wearing a black silk shirt and dress pants; she was wearing a vintage Laura Ashley frock. The prim and proper style looked good on her.

When the music stopped, they parted quickly, as though they’d burned one another, and returned to their table. Her fair cheeks were flushed, and the man’s groin swelled behind the zipper of his slacks. When she turned her head, a reddish gleam burned in her eyes.


Jedidiah finished his whisky and didn’t even notice that Shelly had left his table.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Build a World Woes

First's a disclaimer: I am in no way an expert on world building. I'm far from qualified to teach a class or workshop on the subject. I've seen some amazing online resources on the topic, but for now, I'm just doing a little free association.

I'm working on a new urban fantasy series. I'm not going into detail about what it is, because this project is really a long way down the road, but at the same time, it's on my mind. A lot. I've written several sci fi/fantasy series now, and have a couple different "Worlds" under my belt, but because of the scope of this series, and the location (an alternate version of Las Vegas) I'm being really careful how I lay this thing out.

In the Coalition universe of Belle Starr and An Uncommon Whore, there is a pretty good infrastructure in place. There are rules that have been established and yet an entire universe of possibilites exist in and outside of the Coalition.

With this series, it's a bit different. I'm using a geographical location that really exists. Some of the history that will pop up is real history, interspersed with fantasy. I'm spending some serious library time on this project, and will probably have to schedule a road trip just to get some ground time there.

The other difference for this project is the subject matter. I'm bringing in paranormals of all sorts, from Native American shifters to traditional Euro-style vampires. When I first started with the idea, it seemed so cool!! And in truth, it still is. But the groundwork is certainly a challenge.

The other challenge? Its not erotic romance. The sex isn't going to carry the story this time around. In a way, that's a huge relief. But of course, it presents it's own challenge as well! And of course, a longer book means a larger cast. That's more voices whispering in my head in the quiet moments.

Why Las Vegas? Well, obviously the spark and glitter of the place makes a fascinating background for a paranormal series. But also, Las Vegas has been such a victim of its own growth. In the rush to get bigger and better, wonderful historical buildings and landmarks have been torn down to make way for new, slick development. In my way, this is a tribute to the wonderful, kitschy town that's been long gone.

My Vegas will be a magical city with showgirls and gambling, neon and the ghosts of the Rat Pack...literally. I mean it...I heard that they'd signed Elvis' ghost to do an appearance at a local casino...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Extended Excerpt! An Uncommon Whore

I didn't have time to do today's blog article, but hey, I've got to put something up...right? Well, why not a never-before-seen, extended excerpt from An Uncommon Whore?

Look for this January 26 at Loose Id Publishing.

Excerpt contains graphic sex.

“And as apology for ruining your clothing, my boy here will be glad to service you. No charge, good sir.” He poked me, and obediently I dropped to my knees, waiting for the stranger to accept or reject the offer. He looked me over, no doubt seeing heavily lined gray eyes behind the mask, but little else. He grunted in acceptance, and I awkwardly crawled under the shelter of the table and folded the robes to cushion my knees.

I knew my job -- keep him unsettled, distracted. U’shma was a conniving old bastard. We’d played this game before. Kneeling between the stranger’s spread legs, I palmed my cock, moaning silently at the agony of denial. Unless he hired me for the night, my climax was expressly forbidden. I mean, what if the next client wanted to be fucked? It happened often enough. The electro-magnetic cock and ball ring kept me in a continual state of discomfort. U’shma kept the remote that would free me, and that particular service cost the client dearly.

The stranger’s legs were long and hard as iron beneath the leather of his pants. I ran my palms over the insides of his thighs, wondering how much foreplay I dared to indulge in. It really depended on the game they played up on top of the table. U’shma tapped once on my right shoulder, telling me to take it slow.

Fine by me.

Running my hands up his groin, I felt the length of his cock. He was aroused. Through the thick leather it was hard and broad and hot to the touch. I rolled my face over it, sliding my hands up to his stomach where the skin was a bit sticky with wine. Swiftly I pulled the shirt up higher, unlaced his trousers, and then, lifting the veil, lowered my mouth to his belly, slowly licking his skin clean. My lips tingled. The house wine here packed quite a kick; I’d probably pick up a mild buzz just by cleaning him up.

He shifted a bit, which told me to get down to business. Reluctantly I left the hard planes of his abdomen and followed his silent command. With a gentle nudge, I urged his hips up and slid the leathers down just a bit. Much as I’d like him bare-ass naked, they couldn’t come down far, not with my kneeling so close.

His cock spilled out, as hard and dark with blood as I could have imagined. Even in the dim light under the table I could see the thick shaft capped by a heavy, graceful head. Again my cock gave an answering surge, which was rather amusing. As often as I serviced men, usually the women were the ones who really did it for me.

Maybe I just had a thing for big, battle-scarred warriors.

Gently I worked my hands into his pants and lifted out his scrotum. I rolled his balls in my hand and then paused. Make that…ball. He had only one. That didn’t seem to be affecting his pleasure though. I lowered my face to the silky skin and gently cherished that one ball, taking care not to injure what had already been so badly damaged. I ran the tip of my tongue over ridges of scar tissue there. I was gentle…so very gentle. He became very still in his chair. I paused until he flexed his hips, urging me on.

Raising my head again, I shifted his heavy cock to the side and laved my tongue over the surprisingly soft skin of his belly, picking up sweet wine and salty man as I followed the trail of fine hair up to his naval and then back down to his groin. His pubic hair was thick and wiry, and I nuzzled into it, grasping the root of his shaft to hold him ready.

The first taste made me shiver. I lapped up the salty tear of precum and let the thick hood of his cock slip between my lips.

He was big and powerful, and I adjusted my position, angling his cock so I didn’t accidently slam my head into the table above me. That was an occupational hazard around here. I’d seen whores carried out unconscious and bleeding after their client got a little too enthusiastic at the moment of truth. He was strong, and I was a little too tall to give a blowjob with the table above my head, so extra caution was called for.

When I took him deeply into my mouth, he sighed. Not much; he probably didn’t even betray himself to U’shma, but I saw it…felt it. For a few moments, I allowed him to gently ride my mouth, shifting my hand so that the penetration wasn’t too deep.

And then I let him go, placed one fist at the base, squeezing hard, and nuzzled down to his scrotum again.

If I could reach, I’d have fucked his tight ass with my finger, but that wasn’t happening. Not this time. And somehow I got the feeling that this man was just dominant enough to refuse that particular service. But he’d probably be more than willing to dish it out. That thought made me shiver in delicious fear.

I played. Up the length with my tongue, and then down with my lips. I pushed his foreskin back and teased that tiny, precious spot behind his cockhead. I kissed my way down that faint line of skin as far as I could possibly go. When he grew close -- so close that he grew that shade harder -- I opened my mouth as wide as possible and laid my teeth in warning at the base of his cock. His hips jerked.

God only knows what compelled me to do it -- he was so fucking close, and I knew my instructions -- but I wanted this man to come. I wanted his seed on my skin and in my mouth. I wanted his hands on me, his skin against mine. I wanted to make him want me so very badly that he’d pay for the night. Just one night. Was it completely inappropriate to pray for such a thing?

I bore down just slightly into the meaty flesh of his cock, feeling him go still…so very still. He liked that…a lot. Releasing the pressure, I dragged my teeth up the length of his shaft, then slid my incisors lightly over the ridge of his cockhead. It would be too much for most men. Not him. My pirate liked that kiss of pain.

Without warning, his rock-hard hand came down and fisted into the veil. I could see his belly pumping. No doubt he was panting for air. His hips thrust as I swallowed down his cock. As his hot semen spilled into my mouth, his hand dug under the fabric of my veil, trembling fingers skimming over the surface of my skin. He traced the hollows of my eyes, the slender length of my nose. Pushing back the covering on my head, he dug his hand into the long braid of my hair and held tightly, his fingers flexing convulsively as his climax twisted his body in the chair above me.

He pulled away, and I let his semi-erect shaft slip from my mouth, but he did not release me. In fact, he pulled me closer to his body until my face was pressed against the damp warmth of his groin. He adjusted his pants and then pulled me close. I rested there between his powerful thighs, feeling oddly safe and content.