Monday, November 17, 2014

Brantwijn Serrah ~ Guest Post ~ Authors don't work alone...



Hello everyone! Please welcome Brantwijn Serrah, erotic paranormal romance author of a new release, His Cemetery Doll. Thank you so much for being here Brantwijn I’m happy to let you take front and center stage sharing your guest post with us…





Authors Don't Work Alone:
5 People Who Made His Cemetery Doll Come to Life


Folks underestimate how much work goes into getting a novel onto the bookshelf. Yes, everyone knows the book has an editor and a cover artist and a support team...but I'm not sure readers understand exactly how much these teams bring to the final product. Authors get a lot of credit, but today I'd like to give credit to the other people who put their stamp on my new release, and the work they put in to helping me bring my baby to life. Without further ado, I give you the Top 5 People Who Deserve Credit for His Cemetery Doll.
No numbers on this list, though...each of these people deserves a #1 spot!


·        Jayne Wolfe, my Editor

I see "editing" often listed as a pet peeve in negative reviews. When books get criticism, editors get noticed. Well, I want to share with readers all the work my editor put in to helping me make His Cemetery Doll its best.  Jayne puts me through at least three rounds of edits, with every manuscript, and every round she also reads the book from beginning to end again. Her attention to detail catches lots of things I miss, and things
that would be incredibly embarrassing to me if they'd made it into the final product! During edits, Jayne gets to listen to me pitch ideas, asks question after question, and debate with her down to the word. She keeps notes for me and she's never been afraid to tell me honestly if I've fallen flat. Fun Fact: the last two paragraphs of His Cemetery Doll went back and forth between me and Jayne at least three times before we could agree on the most effective wording. I'm glad she put me through my paces, though...I know the book shines even brighter because of Jayne's careful eye and her fearlessness in pulling me the extra mile.


·        Victoria Miller, my regular Cover Artist

Victoria Miller is the terrific artist behind Lotus Petals, Goblin Fires, and my upcoming novella Angel's Keeping. Now, I have to admit, I'm a difficult author to work with, when it comes to cover art. Poor Victoria must dread receiving my forms because I can write for pages about how the cover ought to look. She's great at honoring the important requests and bringing out the best details. Like Jayne, though, Victoria has no fear when it comes to standing her professional ground with me, and honestly, she's right to do it. Each cover she's made for me is phenomenal, and I'm not ashamed to admit her visions blow mine out of the water.  When it came to designing the cover of His Cemetery Doll, I knew it would be more complicated than usual. So when I turned in my cover art form, I told her she didn't have to include the grey ribbons, the figure of a ball-jointed doll, the ceramic skin. I'd searched stock art sites myself for a long time and not been able to find the right kind of images. It was Victoria, however, who looked over the details of the character and decided we had to have a cover that could depict the doll completely.  She went to bat for me with the publisher to request a custom illustrated cover, even though it meant handing off the project to another artist. It's thanks to Victoria this book got such a special cover.


·        Happi Anarky, the cover artist behind His Cemetery Doll

With Victoria's help, our publisher Breathless Press commissioned Mia of Happi Anarky to create the cover you see now on His Cemetery Doll. Mia was a joy to work with, incredibly attentive and passionate about the work. Not only did she create a terrific piece of art from scratch for me, she took the time to talk with me about all the details. Readers may not realize that weeks go into producing cover art, both digital and illustrated, and as an artist, even the tiniest details need your most focused attention. Mia put serious time, effort, and talent into this cover, and therefore this book.


·        Gayl Taylor, the layout artist

Gayl is the gal behind turning our manuscripts into polished, formatted books, and she's dedicated to quality work. When it came to His Cemetery Doll, she rescued me from some serious embarrassment! Two days before the release I happened to be going through my advanced reading file and found a formatting error which was completely and utterly my fault. With the book already uploaded to Amazon and the Breathless Press sites, reviewers already set up, and scant hours to go before the e-books went live, I sent Gayl a panicked message at—I kid you not—12:30 AM on a weeknight, after she'd very clearly told the authors she would be unavoidably away from work for a few days. I thought for sure the entire snafu would bring hell down on me, and if Gayl would be so kind as to reformat the whole book for me, it would push back the release to do so.  She was a total champ, though! Then and there, on that half-past-midnight message string, she brought up the formatting files and fixed the error. She didn't even get upset with me (or if she did, she was incredibly polite with me about it!). Gayl really came through for me and saved me some confusion and embarrassment.


·        My husband 

Most authors have terrific support from their loved ones and especially their significant others, and I'm fortunate to have a wonderful network of my own in that sense. However, when I name my husband here, it's not only because of his emotional support and encouragement. Readers will notice the dedication on His Cemetery Doll mentions the characters in this story go back to our shared efforts from way back when we were kids. He has always helped me out when it comes to writing, especially the research parts. Details about the setting, the time period especially, Conall's background as a soldier, the tools and weapons he uses, are all details he cheerfully helped me with. When it comes to working out the nitty gritty details in anything I write, my husband sits down to work with me in an incredibly useful way.


Ultimately, it's important to remember there are many hands at work when it comes to a good book, and His Cemetery Doll—quite possibly my favorite book—owes its life to many people other than me. Without the hard work and investment of all of them, there might not be a book to speak of. Books don't roll credits after the final scene, so readers rarely see the names of the director, producer, animators, gaffers and stunt crew, but they are there, and they are just as important in the world of storytelling as in the film industry.




His Cemetery Doll
Brantwijn Serrah

Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance

Publisher:  Breathless Press

Number of pages: 173
Word Count: 53,000

Cover Artist: Happi Anarchy

Book Description:

There's a woman in the graveyard.

Conall Mackay never put stock in ghost stories. Not even after thirteen years serving as the cemetery keeper in the village of Whitetail Knoll. But things change. Now, his daughter is dreaming of a figure among the tombstones. The grounds are overrun by dark thorns almost faster than Con can clear them. White fog and gray ribbons creep up on him in the night, and a voiceless beauty beckons him from the darkest corners of the graves.

When the world he knows starts to unravel, Conall might finally be forced to believe


Excerpt:

He hadn't slept long before he heard sounds from down in the kitchen below.

"Shyla!" he called gruffly. "Weren't you heading into town?"

No answer came from below, but the sounds of pots clanging told him his daughter toyed about down there. Perhaps she'd decided not to leave him after all and taken it into her head to now re-organize the house, since he'd so clearly wanted her to stay out of the cemetery. With a low groan, Conall rolled out of bed and stepped out into the hall.

"Shyla!" he called again, coming to the head of the stairs. If she had stayed home, she could at least do it without making a lot of noise.

"Shyla, I—"

He staggered then, as the hallway dimmed. Afternoon light flickered strangely, lightning cracking a dismal sky outside, and in the space of time afterward everything else darkened. Conall darted a glance around him as the house fell into shadow.

From the top of the stairwell, he saw the first whispering tendrils of white fog.

The heat of adrenaline shot through his limbs. Conall stumbled back into his bedroom, even as the fog pursued. His gaze shot to the window as the last gray light of day faded away and eerie darkness replaced it, like an eclipse sliding over the sun.

More cold mists veiled the glass, dancing and floating. Trembling overtook him as he spun to find another escape.

He froze, finding himself face-to-face with the broken mask of the cemetery doll.

"You—" he gasped. His breath came out white as the fog enveloped them both, leaving a space of mere inches between them, so he could still see her expressionless face. Gray ribbons wound and curled through the air around him.

"Who are you?" he asked.

The doll stared up at him. He sensed her searching, looking into his eyes even though hers remained covered. She held him there with her unseen gaze, until her cool, cold hand came up to touch his bare chest.

Conall let out a low breath. He closed his eyes, and a shudder of strange ease rippled through his body. The cool pads of her fingers ran down his sternum, to his navel. The silky ribbons brushed along his side.

Then he noticed her other hand. She lifted it up, to her own chest, and she held something tightly in her fingers: Shyla's stuffed dog.

"I made that...for my daughter," he whispered. The woman with the broken mask tilted her head down toward the small toy, studying it. For a fraction of a second, her fingers appeared to tighten around it. She returned her gaze to him, then, and the toy fell from her grip into the fog, forgotten.

"Wait—" he said, but she brought her other hand up to his chest to join the first, and he recognized eagerness in the way she pressed her icy skin against his. Her face tilted to him, and then came her lips again, ivory and flawless.

"I—" Conall breathed. "I...don't understand..."

Her fingers slid up, around his neck, but he pulled away.

"No, this...this can't real. I'm asleep. I must be."

Gray ribbons danced, pulling him back to her, and she stroked his face. He sucked in a breath at her touch and found his own hand coming up to brush hers.

"You're so cold," he said. "Like stone...but..."

Her cool touch thrilled him; it made his skin tingle and the heat of his own body sing. Her perfect flesh did, in fact, prove soft under his hands, as if the contact with his worn calluses infused cold ivory with yearning. She caressed his cheek, and Conall leaned into it. Before he could stop himself, he bowed his head to her and kissed her frozen lips.



About the Author:

When she isn't visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can't handle coffee unless there's enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.

In addition to her novels, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology.  She's also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on.  She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work.

Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at http://brantwijn.blogspot.com

Brantwijn's Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/qf2bzwk

Foreplay and Fangs Supernatural Romance: http://tinyurl.com/q2cmnep

Brantwijn's Foreplay and Fangs blog: http://tinyurl.com/ljvvl6p

Twitter: @Brantwijn

Amazon Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/n4rnjqx

Goodreads Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/mxv9bmr




His Cemetery Doll Tour Giveaway

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Monday, November 10, 2014

S.S. Hampton, Sr. - Guest Post - Everyone has secrets...


Hello everyone! Happy to welcome back a good friend and Muse It HOT brother – S.S. Hampton – he’s the featured guest this week – erotic romance author of Sharing Rachel (which you’ll get a peek below: )
So good to see you again, Stan (hugs) – and wow! Thanks for the topic of your post, good clarity in understanding some secrets.



  
Everyone Has Secrets…

          …And sometimes for very good reasons. Think of criminals or unacceptable perversions.

          But, what of secrets where no one is harmed, yet society has judged some types of behavior as being immoral or unacceptable. Though we can be a very caring and giving society, we can also be a very judgmental society.

          That being said, there is a lifestyle called “cuckolding.” Simply put, cuckolding concerns a husband and wife whose lifestyle allows the wife, the “HotWife,” to have a lover, or “Bull,” on the side; the HotWife belongs to the Bull and not to the husband, the “Cuckold.” As with anything else where people are involved, there is a wide variation in how this lifestyle is practiced.

          Unless you actually know a cuckolding couple, you may pause for a moment to consider if you do know such a couple. The young couple sitting next to you at a movie theatre might be a cuckold couple; the ordinary looking middle-aged woman working next to you in a call center might be a HotWife; your overbearing boss might be a Cuckold; and the scruffy cable repair guy might be a Bull. You never know because these people are generally discreet due to how they may be judged by family and friends.

          And, you might even think that cuckolding is a bunch of “hooey” dreamt up by a few perverts hiding behind drawn window shades.

          Well, just google “Cuckold,” “HotWife,” “Cuckold blogs” and “HotWife blogs,” and you might be in for a big surprise. My guess is there are thousands of such websites with plenty of photographs. These cannot be the result of a few enterprising perverts and a few hundred Cuckoldees, HotWives, and Bulls. There must be something to this phenomenon, there must be real numbers to this phenomenon (albeit I suspect a very small percentage of the general married population) that in recent years has been so written about.

          So, regarding those who practice cuckolding and those who are curious, what do you think the attraction is for these people? Remember, the HotWife belongs to the Bull, not the Cuckold-husband. So, what is the attraction for a husband to watch his wife having sex with another man? What is the attraction for a wife having sex with another man while her husband watches? And what is the attraction for a man to have sex with another man’s wife while her husband watches?

          I am sure the reasons are as varied as the grains of sand on a beach.

          At my age and due to many life experiences, I try not to be too judgmental of others unless there is good reason (criminals, etc.). Regarding cuckolding, well, it is not for everyone, but if the activity is not hurting anyone, if everyone is willingly in agreement (not forced or nagged to participate), then why not?

          Ahem…I see the two of you staring thoughtfully at the computer screen. I see the curiosity in your eyes. I see the two of you casting furtive glances at one another with, perhaps, a hint of a smile. Well, as long as you have a strong marriage and strong communication skills, then why not try it at least once? After all, you might just discover that…you like it!

          Have fun, and be safe.


AUTHOR BIO: Stan Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, and a published photographer and photojournalist. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007) with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.

          His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.

          In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. A future goal is to study for a degree in archaeology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology (and also learning to paint).

          After 13 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters.

          As of April 2014, after being in a 2-year Veterans Administration program for Homeless Veterans, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran, though he is still struggling to get back on his feet.

          Hampton can be found at:

Dark Opus Press

Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing

Melange Books

Musa Publishing

MuseItUp Publishing

Ravenous Romance

Amazon.com Author Page

Amazon.com. UK Author Page

Goodreads Author Page






Sharing Rachel
 MuseItHOT, MuseItUp Publishing.

TAG LINE:  Sometimes people choose to live life to the fullest…


BLURB:  Burt and Rachel Markham are ordinary small business owners of a seed & feed store in a small Kansas farming and ranching community. Many years before, as young university graduates eagerly anticipating exciting overseas employment, a lifetime in Kansas was the furthest thing from their minds, particularly Rachel who was raised overseas and dreamed of going back. 

By July 2013 their twin 18-year old daughters, having graduated high school several months before, go east to attend a university. Burt and Rachel settle into their new life of an empty house and a predictable and unchanging routine that threatens to stretch far into the future. 

One summer evening Burt has an idea—but will Rachel accept the idea? If she does, will the idea add new excitement to their marriage, or destroy it?


EXCERPT:  A song of reserved exuberance began; the feminine voice rolled the sound of many of the French words. Rachel tilted her head to listen to the music.

          “Edith Piaf, France’s premier singer back in the ‘60s,” she announced fondly. “She died of cancer. This song, it’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien,” or “No, I Regret Nothing.” It’s one of her most famous.”

          She put her elbows on the table, folded her hands and rested her chin on them. She looked at Burt.

          He listened. Maybe it was the title—the voice and music had a slow almost melancholy, and yet proud and defiant feel to it. The music and words added an authentic touch to the dim bistrot. If he closed his eyes for a moment he might be able to imagine a rainy night in Paris, sitting in a French bistrot with his wife in the shadow of Notre Dame Cathedral, overlooking the Seine River. Paris was a city he always wanted to visit; he knew Rachel and her parents had visited when stationed overseas.

          “I’m not really hungry yet,” he said.

          She nodded. “Like I said, after.”

          Burt looked at the empty foyer. There was “After” again.

          Rachel followed his gaze and touched his hand. “I don’t think he’s late yet.”

          “I have a feeling he’s about as punctual as you always are,” Burt said with a small smile.

          “Any last minute thoughts or rules?” she asked.

          He shook his head. “Just feel him out and make a common sense decision. If he doesn’t ask to fuck you, how do you let me know you’re interested or not?”

          She chuckled. “If I’m interested I’ll touch your foot with mine. If I’m not, I’ll kick you.”

          Burt lowered his head and gave her a sarcastic look. “Got it.”

          He looked at the foyer again. Saturday night, 7:00 p.m. They were really sitting in a French-style bistrot waiting on a man who wanted to fuck Rachel with Burt’s permission. Would it really happen? Maybe GentlemanNate was a jerk in real life—Rachel didn’t like jerks. She didn’t like men who were loud and pushy, profane or who spoke badly.

          The waitress returned with their drinks.

          “There’s not a wide variety of food because we follow the old European tradition of few selections, but each one is of loving preparation and excellent taste. Would you like to order something? The figs wrapped with grilled bacon is really good. So are the marinated mushrooms. Both are authentic French recipes.”

          “Perhaps a little later,” Rachel answered. “We’re waiting on someone.”
          “Of course,” the waitress said. “Just catch my attention when you’re ready to order.”

          Burt took a drink of his beer and glanced at the TVs. Sports and news. She took his hand in hers, tilted her head and continued smiling at him.

          Maybe GentlemanNate wouldn’t show...


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