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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Q's, A's and My Upcoming Projects

I've been fielding a couple questions lately about Educating Evangeline from the Doms of Dark Haven book. I'm completely delighted that there's been so much interest in my little story!

First off: Are there any other stories featuring the Napa/Truckee Wolves?

YES! I've got a novella at Changeling Press called Sex and Chocolate: Toxic. It is set in the same world and has overlapping characters. You can find it here: Toxic is a CAPA nominee and has been critically praised.

Secondly: Is this an ongoing series?

Well, yes...or at least, it will be. I tested the waters with these two stories and have decided to go ahead with it. If all goes as planned, I'll begin writing the first novel by the end of the summer, so hopefully we'll see a late winter/early spring release. That's pure speculation on my part, just my personal goal. There's some serious world building, especially given the history of Chase, Sage, Ethan and Kurt. (Ethan and Kurt have both been in the sad situation of having their parts cut from the novellas! LOL!

What characters will we see more of?

I'll be focusing on Rex from Toxic to start with. Next (in no particular order) will be Kevin, Deuce (the 'tracker' in Evangeline) Ethan, Kurt, Chase and Sage. Heroines include Kimee, an Asian-American woman that is picked up at a truck stop; Tansy, a rather feisty drifter with surprising ties to our four main lieutenants, and one of Tex's sisters.

Will this feature BDSM? Menage? M/M?

Well, we shall see. As the Truckee Wolves are the precursors to the AmWere in Belle Starr, you'll be mostly likely be seeing menage scenarios. Yes, there will be some D/s, and possibly some club scenarios. As its going to feature menage, there will be m/m elements.

What's next for you?

The three Imperative books and the three first Black Planet books will go into collections later this year. Both will include some extra, original material.

Well, I have a list as long as my arm at the moment! LOL! I'm working on a new Black Planet book for Changeling, that will release in July. It's Kit Jung's book. Yes, Kit Jung. It took quite a lot of contemplation to figure out how to redeem Mr. Nasty Pants! LOL! It's working titled, "Kitsune" and his heroine is the daughter of Aiden Chen and Annie Tanaka.

I have an October release date for Blacque/Bleu, a m/m paranormal for Loose Id. This is the story of a closeted werewolf and a insomniac vampire.

Bandit Queen is in the queue, and nearly through its first draft. This is the sequel to Belle Starr, and is Cali Polis' story. Her heroes are Wolf and Gato.

An Uncommon Beauty is the follow up to An Uncommon Whore. This book takes up after Helios and Griffin have returned home, and are now picking up the pieces of the kingdom. Expect politics, betrayal, and some unexpected drama.

So there you have it; my summer writing list. This is all subject to change, of course, but that's the plan.

Friday, May 14, 2010

First Look! Doms of Dark Haven!

Available May 18, at Loose Id!


Met Her Match by Sierra Cartwright

Simon Says by Cherise Sinclair

Educating Evangeline by Belinda McBride

Three women, three Doms. One extraordinary night. Welcome to Dark Haven, and may all of your darkest wishes come true.

Evangeline Jones was looking for safety when she ducked into the doorway of Dark Haven. What she found was a alpha wolf named Harte Sommers. In her whole life, Eva had never considered submitting to another, but in just hours, Harte would teach her everything she needed to know about survival, pack life, and the power of surrender.

EXCERPT: Educating Evangeline by Belinda McBride

Shapeshifter BDSM, M/F

The sign was small and subtle just over the door of an inconspicuous building. After blocks of running, Eva had merged into a large group of men and women who wore Victorian attire like hers. It didn’t look like a private party, so she followed them inside the club, praying she’d find her haven from the hunters who were just blocks away.

The group moved quickly inside, clearly accustomed to the place.

“Do you have a membership?”

She blinked, looking down at the cute…and scantily dressed receptionist. Eva cleared her throat. “Uh…no…” The girl’s breasts were clearly visible through the Goth-inspired Victorian outfit that she was barely wearing. The girl smiled, and a diamond winked like a brilliant beauty mark over the side of her upper lip.

Gotta love San Francisco.

“That’s okay. Is this your first time at Dark Haven?”

Eva nodded, brushing a loose strand of hair from her face with a gloved hand.

“No problem, then. Membership is five dollars, plus tonight’s entry fee. Just fill out the paperwork. By the way, my name’s Destiny.”

Somehow she doubted that was really the receptionist’s name, but heck, her name wasn’t her own either. She paid and then scribbled a false name and address on the form, grateful that they weren’t checking IDs.

Eva looked around the dark little reception area. The place was clearly a club, most likely a dance club. Music reverberated through the walls. She heard muffled laughter, and the occasional woman’s squeal punctuated the air. A bulletin board on the wall held flyers for alternate-lifestyle events in the area. Eva’s stomach sank. Was she in a sex club? She looked back at Destiny.

“Restrooms and lockers are to the right. If you have any questions, look for a staff member; the DMs have bandannas on their left arms.”

Eva decided to skip the ladies’ room. There was no doubt that the people following her would venture into the club soon enough. She didn’t need to get cornered in a toilet. Hesitantly she stepped through the curtains and into the main room of the club.

Immediately she was assailed by the pungent mix of sweat, alcohol, perfume, and sex.

Lots of sex. Adrenaline and the bite of fear saturated the air.

Her skin prickled; phantom hackles rose in panic. She blinked, trying to focus on the room and the myriad of possible dangers within. A woman’s scream carried faintly from downstairs, and Eva’s wolf growled. Blindly she turned to run, to escape. She found herself surrounded by people moving into the club and nearly staggered to the floor. A hand steadied her elbow; another patted her rump. She jumped away, barely hearing their laughter.

Run! The wolf whirled and spun in panic.

Just yards away, a woman was lying prone over a man’s lap. Her skirts and petticoats were pulled up, leaving her bottom bare. With a crack, he slapped her ass bare handed. A strangled cry left Eva’s throat. Against another wall, a naked man was suspended from chains that dangled from the ceiling. A collar circled his throat, and a complicated ring held his penis upright.

She whimpered.

Bodies in ruffles and frills and frock coats milled around tables. Some danced, and some leaned together in intimate conversation. The civilized behavior was a paper-thin veneer over the raw lust that drenched the atmosphere.

Too much. The sensory overload was too much. She tried to make a run for the door and slammed into a broad expanse of velvet and silk and man and the most wonderful fragrance in the world. He was sandalwood and vanilla and something she couldn’t define.

Eva screamed, and her scream was echoed by that of the woman who was being spanked.

She screamed again.

Hands gripped her upper arms, and she began to struggle; her feet were caught up in the long, trailing skirts of her dress. A booted toe connected with a shin.

“Damn! Take it easy, sweetheart!”

“Sorry! Stop! I need to go!” She twisted in his grip.

Strong hands lifted her clear off the floor. “Sweetie, look up at me. Now!”

His voice was deep and compelling, and it cut through her panic. She shook her head, doing her best to bring herself back under control. For a moment -- just a moment -- she rested her forehead on his chest, inhaling deeply. The yummy scent of the man helped distract her from the surrounding chaos. Eva’s entire body reacted to that fragrance. To her great humiliation, she was growing aroused and wet. She blinked hard and looked up into his face. His beautiful face.

“Now that I have your attention, can I help you?” His nostrils flared. He leaned a bit closer, his face coming dangerously close to her throat. She whined in panic. And then she bared her throat in surrender.

What the fuck did she do that for?

“You’re scared witless. Follow me.” He lowered her to the ground and turned away, clearly expecting to be obeyed.

On trembling legs, Eva followed the stranger until they reached a little room that opened into one of the walls. As soon as the door closed, the music muted, and the scents faded to a tolerable level. She panted, fighting down the panic that still played at the edges of her consciousness. Gazing around, she gulped. The room was the exact duplicate of a police interrogation room.

She knew; she’d seen the inside of those a time or two.

“This is a bondage club.” He looked serious, but she could see he was stifling a smile. It was there in a dimple that flashed in his cheek.

“Thank you. I think I just figured that out,” she said wryly. Good God. Of all the doors she could have ducked into, she’d chosen a bondage club’s.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Things That Remind Us

Recently, we've had an experience as a family that was so tragic in its fashion. We have a large storage building that we've used as storage for many years. Due to a huge misunderstanding, when the neighbors defaulted on their loan and lost their house, the bank came to be under the impression that our storage building was part of that property. On March 13, they dispatched a crew to the building and cut the locks. Over the course of 3 days, they emptied nearly 70 years of heirlooms, artifacts and memories.

On Monday, they returned our property. Well, put it this way, they returned what they hadn't sold or discarded.

Some of what we lost is replaceable; dog show equipment, paperback books, and so forth. Some really doesn't matter too much, but I'll never replace the notes and textbooks from all my years in college. There was the copper tub that my grandmother did her laundry in during the 1930s, and my grandfather's harmonica. Every day, we discover another item that is missing, and I watch my mother wilt a little more....the heavy pottery bowl that her mother made bread in, or the set of pine needle baskets woven by an elderly Native American artist shortly before she died, taking her art with her.

I've known people who have lost everything, either to disaster or theft, or sheer carelessness. I've never seen this sort of wholesale abuse before, and ironically, the company that did this is protected under the law. We can sue, but how can we replace such things?

So much memory is attached to the items around us. In a way, when we realized the bowl was missing today, I remembered learning to make bread in that bowl, and when I think of the harmonica, Grandpa's face comes to mind. So even in loss, there's some reward, because in storing away such precious items, we stored our memories. I'll never have my bread bowl back, but this year, I'll scour the antique stores and find another. I'll keep it in the house and use it often. When I do, I'll remember my grandmother's hands, all covered with flour and dough.

I'll do my best to remember that what I value most is the people who are attached to those memories.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Declaration of Belindapendence

Sounds a little arrogant, doesn't it? Well, not really. I just had one of those little moments where things came together in my head regarding my writing. Nothing earthshattering, but still, it opened my eyes a bit.

I got good news today, a book proposal that I sent was accepted, in spite of my having really just pulled the thing together last minute. When that happens, I get the feeling that the story is really just hankering to get out and fly. It might be a bit scary to sell on proposal with a deadline, but what the hey, I've got three chapters written, right? (panic mode!!!)

The story is a m/m paranormal, and as I opened my current projects today, it occurred to me that of the books I've written over the past year, 3 are m/m; that's roughly half of my writing. Am I crossing to the dark side, never to look back? Not really.

I've never limited myself to a single genre, beyond saying that I write mostly speculative fiction. That's an awfully big umbrella to write under. If you look at my website, you'll see het, menage, (both bi and het) f/f, cross dressers, BDSM, shifters, paranormal, interracial/multicultural, and science fiction. Obviously, I have problems limiting myself to a single genre.

Here's how it works; I often think of a character, but don't have a plot for him/her, or I start their story and it stalls. That goes into my files for later use. Other times, I have a story that's really compelling, and it might literally be anything. Sometimes that story knows exactly where it wants to go, and I follow it like a dog on a flexi-lead. If the hero happens to be an alien or a werewolf or gay, I go with it. If a story stalls, I know something is fundamentally wrong with it and I set it aside to reconsider.

That was the case with "An Uncommon Whore." I started it as an exercise in first person, then decided to prep it for an open call. I worked on a couple chapters in Griffin's voice. Grif was one of those characters languishing in my files. He was a one eyed, one balled rapscallion. I envisioned him in a fantasy setting, coming in to deal with an uptight, spoiled princess type.

Well, the dialogue was stiff and the story just didn't have any heart. All the sudden, a line kept running through my head: "A whore is a whore is a whore, except when she's something else completely." That line gave me the key to the story...the princess really was something else! She was a he. Once I adjusted the character accordingly and let him take the POV, the story just popped. When I started on the second book, Griffin decided that it was his turn to speak, and his voice is surprisingly beautiful and shockingly clear to me. He made me cry, where Helios made me laugh.

I know that many readers are dedicated to their genre and rarely read outside of it. I imagine this limits my sales somewhat, but for now, I choose to not limit myself. My commitment as a writer is to the story, and I have so many more to write.

You see, I write erotic romance, and my personal kinks are plentiful. My perspective on sexuality is very fluid. I think there's nothing sexier than a man and a woman in an intense love story...or a threesome that's really committed. I might not want to be spanked, but there are elements of BDSM that are so damn sexy. Picturing two butch alpha males together melts me in my tracks. And don't get me started on androgyny....*sigh*

Maybe someday I'll write for a New York imprint and will find myself boxed into a genre. I find that idea dreary, but I know there's a lifeline out here for me in e-publishing. Out here on the fringes, I can write anything that I'm inclined to write.

Someone at RT took me by surprise when she summed me up as a writer. She told me that she'd gone online that morning looking for a good Belinda book. Not a menage or a shifter book, but a Belinda McBride book. What more could I ask for?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What Doesn't Kill You

This was my week for a pity party.

I freely admit that on occasion, I indulge in the very annoying habit of feeling sorry for myself. We're in the middle of one of those rare times in life when the stars align, and all hell breaks loose.

Since I generally try to be upbeat when I blog, I won't go into explicit detail, but suffice it to say, I have a sister who is gravely ill and hopping in and out of rehab, another sister who was severely injured last week, and we're still grappling with the great accidental foreclosure debacle. Suffice it to say, the stress level is high lately.

I try to alleviate stress by reading. When I should be shuttling the endless loads of laundry or weedeating the back acre, I'm sitting with my Nook, alternately hating what I'm reading, or wallowing with envy. Right now, I'm reading Crossing Borders by ZA Maxfield and wallowing in envy. (Good thing I like you so much Zam!) Why can't my characters talk like that? Why can't they step off the page in vivid, colorful life? Whaaaah!

There, I just had my moment of pity.

Yeah, things are rough, but they're good too. My kids are doing well, Amanda is moving from Venice to Monte Carlo as we speak. I've got a lunch date with Mia, and she's asking for advice on her new puppy. Just when I thought my writing would come to a grinding halt, it's actually coming through with relative ease.

Maybe it's because of my age, or maybe it's because I've lived through harrowing times, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. In time, things will turn around and get better. I still remember when I was 23 and had two little babies. I left my husband, discovered that my parents were splitting at the same time. I moved in with my mother, and within a year, she lost her house and car because she was disabled, and my father refused to pay court ordered alimony. We were dirt poor, scrambling for change in the couch cushions and pawning wedding rings for milk. My grandpa died, my dog got hit by a car, and to cap it all, I developed a bleeding ulcer and nearly died. Twice. (Go toward the light, Belinda...!)

Those tough times eventually passed and true to the old adage, it didn't kill us, but it did make us stronger. I pushed my way through college and my mother learned self-sufficiency that she'd never have considered while married to an overbearing man. In the years that followed, wonderful things happened in our lives. If I hadn't had the bad experiences, I would never have learned to cherish the good in life. If I hadn't had to survive, I would never have developed the faith in myself that allows me to sit before a blank page and visualize writing thousands and thousands of words...without fear.

So when things are tough, remember that they will get better. Take the experience, hold it close and learn from it. Once you've taken the good, let go of the rest. The next time the roof collapses or every appliance in the house breaks down, you'll be able to take a deep breath and know that not only will you survive, you'll grow.