Archive for October, 2009

Saturday, October 31st, 2009 by Candace Havens
A Treat For You

I was supposed to put up a brief excerpt today, but I wanted to do something fun for Halloween/Samhain. This is a piece of flash fiction that originally was posted on the witchychicks site. It’s a story I’ll be exploring again soon. It’s my treat to you today!

Happy Halloween/Samhain

-Candace Havens

The Psychiatrist

I’m Dr. Aeryn McCready and I treat crazy people. Correction. I treat mentally unstable supernatural beings. There is nothing human about them. Vampires, shape shifters, ghosts, witches, I take care of them all in my little house of horrors.

Okay, technically it’s a small white-framed house with a picket fence on Mulberry Street where I have my office. My patients ranged from narcissistic vamps and shape shifters with impulse control problems, to ghosts with identity issues and don’t even get me started on the zombies. The list is too long. The dry skin and lack of relationship skills is the least of their problems.

It’s my job to make them feel better about themselves.

Some days it didn’t pay to be me.

That isn’t true. Some days it’s the pay that keeps me from jumping off the top of the roof of my office. Well, that and the fact that it’s only a one-story building.   I sat and listened to their problems, and they give me $1500 an hour. The job keeps me in four-inch Christian Louboutans so I don’t complain – much. The hours were sometimes long, like today. I’d seen nine patients and I was exhausted. (You just did the math and figured out that was $13,500 for one day’s work. Believe me when I tell you I earn every cent.)

I’d skipped dinner and my stomach was letting me know by making very un-lady like gurgling sounds. So when the door opened and Daniel Craig stepped in, I was slightly off kilter and not quite myself. I looked down at my schedule. Nope, Daniel Craig wasn’t listed.


He held out his hand as he approached my desk. “Dr. McCready?”

I nodded because my mouth wasn’t working yet.

“I’m Campbell Casen.” When he touched my hand, heat scorched through my body and my nether regions melted. Whoa, libido down girl. This is a patient.

“It’s nice to meet you Mr. Casen.” I was proud that I sounded so professional since my traitorous body wanted to press itself against him and do nasty things. I gave him a smile and motioned to the two leather club chairs in the middle of the office. “Please let’s have a seat. Tell me why you’re here tonight.”

I never bothered with small talk. I’ve found it makes patients uncomfortable. Most of the time they were anxious to get to the heart of the problem and I obliged.

His hands gripped the arms of the chair and I sensed tension. Perhaps this one did need some coddling.

“There’s no reason to be nervous with me. Take your time.”

He waved a hand. “It’s not that. I’m here more for you than me.”

Great. A crazy hottie. Weren’t they all? “Excuse me?”

Sighing he leaned forward with his elbows on his knees. “I’m butchering,” he winced at the word, “this. Are you by chance psychic?”

The question wasn’t as strange as it might seem. Most of us in psychiatric care had some ability. It was a necessity when dealing with supernaturals. They couldn’t always communicate on a human level and needed other ways to express themselves. “I can receive but I can’t read. Why?”

“I think it will be easier for me to show you what’s going on, rather than telling. But I’m warning you upfront. What you are about to see is beyond disturbing.”

I quite honestly have seen it all. Lycanthropes were big fans of show don’t tell and I’d witnessed more than one animalistic orgy. Then there were the vampires who accidentally ripped out jugulars and zombies with eyeballs falling into their laps. And that was just what happened today.

“I’m a professional, Mr. Casen.  I’m ready when you are.” I gave him a look of encouragement. Strange, but I couldn’t tell what kind of creature he was. Usually I get some sense, but he felt human to me.

He took a deep breath and blew it out. “I have to touch you in order to send the thoughts.”

I moved to the sofa, which was nearer his chair and held out my hand. At first all I saw was darkness and then – me. I wore my favorite sapphire Marc Jacobs swing dress, and the earrings my mom gave me for Christmas last year. I was smiling and looked genuinely happy. The image was as if someone had put a soft focus lens on a camera.  It made my skin look dewy and perfect, which I assure you is not the case.

Then the image shifted and I was in my bedroom wearing my lavender La Perla bra and panties. I had an enticing smile on my face and I crooked my finger urging my partner to the bed.

A flash of light and then I saw myself on the bed. My chest and stomach split open leaving a very good view of my heart. The bra and panties were gone, and there was blood everywhere. Then there was darkness again.

I realized I’d closed my eyes and opened them to see a worried Mr. Casen. He pushed the hand I’d been holding through his hair. “I’m sorry. I really am, but I didn’t know what else to do. I’ve never had anything like this happen before. I don’t even know how I knew what number to call but I did.”

I moved back behind my desk and opened the drawer. “No, I’m glad you did. You’re right it is disturbing to see oneself murdered, but perhaps now we can get down to business.”

I sighed. My past had caught up with me. I wasn’t sure how that evil nerd Damian had found me, but he was using poor Mr. Casen as a tool, and I couldn’t have that.

“Mr. Casen,” I reached into the drawer. “I’m truly sorry about this.” Then I shot him. Right through the frontal lobe. “You are pawn in a dangerous man’s game, and this simply could not be helped.” I continued to explain just in case his spirit lingered. “Trust me when I tell you this is the best thing for both of us.”

I set about disposing of the body and even managed to get a restful night’s sleep. I’d long ago decided to stop running. If Damian wanted another fight, I’d give it to him. No matter how many minions he sent to do me in.

The next day everything seemed back to normal until my four o’clock appointment time arrived and Mr. Casen walked through the door with a murderous look on his face.

Friday, October 30th, 2009 by LViehl

I think the Publishing industry may be growing extremely near-sighted. So are writers. Yesterday is some fuzzy, forgotten place, tomorrow is too far away to worry about, so we’re all focused on the now. The right this minute now. The Twitter now.

With no health care, no benefits, no job security, and the ever-present, incredible amount of talented competition out there, writing professionally has always been a high-stress job. Today writers are also expected to produce multiple books per year, have a platform, aggressively promote their books, finance their own marketing and navigate through the always-rocky waters of the internet. Is it any wonder that the professional stress has gone from constant to unbelievable?

We have editors telling us that we must have a web site, a FaceBook page, a MySpace page, a blog, a newsletter, an author page on five different bookseller sites, mailouts, bookmarks, book videos on YouTube and giveaways and contests. Add to that reading all the feeds we’re supposed to subscribe to and commenting on all the other industry blogs out there, making the conference rounds, doing the writer org things, holding booksignings, giving luncheon speeches, submitting books for awards, and oh, let’s not forget about updating the Twitter account every five minutes in case someone wants to know what we’re writing right now—

Does any pro who does all this crap really have time to write anymore? Or is it something they try to squeeze in between logins and updates? Sometimes I wonder.

I won’t debate the merits of social media or self-promotion; I’m more concerned with the negative effect trying to keep up with all these demands is having on writers. Many pros I know are already coping with significant health problems: migraines, ulcers, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, carpal tunnel syndrome, weight issues and various forms of mental and physical fatigue. The majority of these are related in some way to the biz of being a writer. I’m not going to suggest that working in the industry is killing us, but all that pressure is not doing us any favors, either. Since publishers have plenty of eager, willing talent to choose from, they’re really not worried about our personal longevity. If anyone is going to look after us and see to it that we stay in good shape to write, it has to start at home, with us.

Everyone should know what they need to do to combat stress in their personal lives, but I believe that destressing your professional life is just as important. It’s fairly simple, too; with all the demands being made of us we have to start making intelligent choices instead of trying to do everything. Here are some of my ideas on how to do that:

Put the work first. No matter what some social media junkie tells you, writing is your job, and doing it should be the number one priority in your professional life. If it’s not, you need to change things so that it is.

Accept that you can’t do it all. Look at what you’re trying to do, and choose to do what you like most, what you can reasonably handle doing, and what provides the maximum amount of career benefits. And then dump the rest. It’s better to do one thing very well than a hundred things badly.

Learn to say No. I know it’s scary. I know editors and agents can be intimidating when they want you to do something that “all the other authors are doing.” I know you’re worried about your future employment. But if you let them, they will run you into the ground, murmur how sorry they are as they step over your twitching body and move onto the next writer. You don’t get brownie points for being the most cooperative writer, you just put yourself in a position for them to make more demands of you. It’s a little easier to give them a polite no when you remember that to them you are basically a disposable commodity that can be replaced with a single e-mail or phone call.

Live the writing life you want. If you love going to conferences because they rejuvenate you, go and enjoy them. If you hate booksignings, don’t have them. If your blog is way more fun for you to update than your web site, shut down the web site. If you’re so shy that it makes you ill to get up in front of a room full of people and wax poetic about the fruits of your labors, don’t even go there. You should be happy to go to work every day, and the only way to do that is to eliminate as many things as you can from your job that make you unhappy.

Don’t make the biz your entire life. It isn’t, or it shouldn’t be. Unplug. Spend time with your significant other, your spouse, your kids, your loved ones. Avoid online train wrecks and jackasses who piss you off. Take up a non-writing hobby. Get involved in sports, plant a garden, take long walks. Weave baskets if you have to, but don’t try to be a 24/7 pro. You don’t want your eulogy to be “He kept his Twitter account updated.”

Get the help you need now. If you’re already suffering work-related health issues, see your doctor or therapist. I can almost guarantee you that ignoring the migraines, the wrist pain, the insomnia, etc. is not going to make them go away, and may lead to more serious medical conditions.

Destressing and taking care of yourself is one of the best investments you can make in your professional future. If that means taking some time to seriously evaluate your writing life and weeding out whatever causes you the most grief, do it. Then you’ll not only be happy to go to work every day, you’ll be in a better position to keep doing that for a long, long time.

Related links:

A Dozen Proven Stress Busters by Harriet Meyerson

John Carpi’s Psychology Today article Stress: It’s Worse Than You Think

Ten ways from the American Heart Association to Fight Stress With Healthy Habits, or download their information sheet on how to manage stress here.

Thursday, October 29th, 2009 by Candace Havens
Tricks and Treats

I’ve been talking about time management all month, and this is the last bit of that. It’s important to realize that you can have all the time in the world to write and still get nothing done. That’s why it’s important to have daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly goals. Yes ,I know. I don’t plan that far in the future either, but we need something by which to measure our success, and goals help us do that.

So sit down and figure out what you think you can accomplish each day. You can use word or page count it doesn’t matter, but it needs to be a number that you know you can stick to. One page a day is a book a year. But if you can do 10, you can finish your book in a month. If you do 20 pages a day you can finish your first draft in two weeks. Did you know that the average writer takes about two and half hours to write 20 pages? That’s head down fingers on the keyboard typing about 35 wpm.

In my FAST DRAFT class I teach the importance of letting go of that internal editor while you are creating, because there isn’t a bigger time waster than that IE. When you are creating, you have to send the IE on vacation. Send them far, far away.You need to focus on creating.

Sometimes you have to trick yourself to get things done. Or treat yourself with bribes.

In another class I teach THE WRITING GAME (we are starting Nov. 1 on my free workshop loop get to it thru we pull random numbers out of hat and that’s how many word you have to write that day. You can bank words if you do more, but you have to do the minimum amount each day. My students love this game, because it reminds them that writing can be fun.

Now, I don’t want to get to far away from my time management thesis here. But you have to know going in what some of the pitfalls might be, and you have to plan for them. Tricking yourself, or bribing does work well. BUT you need some attainable goals to measure.

Sit down right now and answer the following:

1. What do you want to accomplish this week with your writing?

2. What are two things today you can do to make that happen?

3. What is one thing you can do each day to make that happen?

Now do this for your monthly and yearly goals. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to look back and see what you’ve done.

These time management techniques can be used for anything. What can you accomplish in 20 minutes? Can you clean your kitchen? Write five pages? Walk the dog? Knit half a sleeve?

We use timed writing a lot in the classes I teach, but you can use that idea for any task you want to accomplish. I know it takes me less than 5 minutes to unload the dishwasher. It takes about six minutes to clean the bathtub (It’s kind of big). It takes me about an hour to answer emails in the morning. I have to work these things into my day. It helps to know how long it REALLY takes you do something.

It’s a little too anal for me, but it helps if you keep a log, at least for a short time. You might be surprised how short or long a time it takes you to do certain things.

I hope these tips have helped this month!

I’d like to hear about your time management tricks? Or feel free to share your goals.

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 by Sasha White
Tracking Your Work

I try very hard to be organized. Organized is good. Especially when you’re trying to run a business, which is how you should think of your writing. When you’re organized, life is much easier, and you have more time to spend doing what you should be doing (writing, promoting, relaxing), instead of trying to remember what you did, or wanted to do.

There are many aspects of running a business. For a writer, keeping track of what you’ve written, where you’ve sent it, when you sent it out and how it all ended is important.

When I first started writing I used index cards to keep track of things. Then I started using notebooks, the small ones you buy at the dollar store. heap and easy, but that way of doing things can get wieldy, and just plain tiresome. Some friends suggested using Excel and making a spreadsheet, but, for me, creating any sort of spreadsheet is hours of frustrating hell. Which is why I gave up about three years ago and simply started to email myself reminders and notes on things.

It was easy because my Mac Mail program allows me to create folders for each of my publishers, and my agent. When I want to check on something I just search through my stored emails. Despite this not being a full-proof method, I’d never really thought about finding a better way of keeping track of it all until I posted a call for Topics to Blog about on my Facebook page. Thanks to Sheila Lee for this topic suggestion, because it made me go looking around the net for other options and wow, I’ve found some great things.

I’ve chosen to try out the WRITERS DATABASE. It’s an online submission tracker, and it’s free. I chose an online program instead of a desktop one because I switch back and forth between my laptop and desktop often, and I travel a lot and want to be able to access my notes from anywhere if I have to. Plus, this program offers ways to input more than titles, dates, and adresses. Since I’ve just started using it I don’t have much to say, except it seems pretty simple, which I like.

(There’s a downloadable Desktop version Here, but it only works on Windows.)

Here’s some other options to check out. You need to find the method that works best for you, or you won’t keep it up.

Microsoft Word – It’s simple, easy, and chances are you already have the program. Take a look at this YouTube video installment of A Writers Guide TO Office:

SLUSHOMATIC: This is a test version of the program, but it works for PC’s and MACs.

WordHustler is something I found that’s very interesting. It’s an online storage and tracking system, that does so much more. It will also print and mail your submissions, including SASE’s and postcards if you want. I took a look around the sight and saw that they only charge you a fee when they print and mail out a submission for you. It might be something to think about, especially as a way for for those that don’t live in the US to save on postage.

WritersPlanner is also an online storage & tracking site. Be sure to read the Terms and Conditions before you start loading up your projects.

I hope you find something that works for you, because the longer you’re at this gig, the more you need to keep track of. And if you’re like me, you want to be at it for a long time to come. 😉

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 by Joe Nassise
Story Structure and NaNoWriMo

With November less than a week away, I thought I would use my column this week to provide a little assistance to those who are attempting NaNoWriMo.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month.  Every November more than 100,000 people try to write a short (50,000 word) novel between midnight on Nov 1st and midnight on Nov 30th.

In the words of the program’s founders:

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

I unofficially participated in NaNoWriMo back in 2006 and 2007.  This year, I’m going to be doing so on a more formal basis, joining the ranks and posting my daily word counts to keep me pushing forward on a new work I’d like to see completed before the end of the year.

One thing I learned from previous attempts to write a novel in thirty days is that you need to be prepared ahead of time.  The more prep work you do, the easier it is to meet your writing goals each and every day, which, of course, means you have a greater chance of completing the challenge overall.

I’ve heard many a would-be NaNoWriMoer (is that even a word/) state that their storyline just sort of fizzled out after a week’s worth of effort, that they didn’t know where to take it from there.  Their failure is not due to a lack of effort, but rather a lack of understanding the structure of stories in general and a lack of applying that structure to the work they are doing.

So, in order to help my fellow NaNoWriMoers (I’ve decided it is now a word, so there!) come to grips with their stories ahead of time, here is a basic structure that you can find in many successful stories today and which might help you plan for the challenge ahead.

Step 1:  Characters, Conflict, and Major Story Goal are introduced

At the very beginning of your story, the characters, the opposition/conflict, and the overall goal of the tale are introduced.

Step 2: Characters begin their journey

The characters will begin consciously or unconsciously making preparations for the “journey” or adventure that they will be undergoing throughout the tale.  A deeper sense of their abilities and motivations is given to the reader during this section, a means of letting the reader “get to know them” better.

Step 3: First Goal is determined

The characters make a decision to take some action relative to helping them reach the story goal.  That goal is identified for the reader, as are the reasons behind it.

Step 4: Actions are taken to reach that goal

The characters take some action designed to bring them closer to the goal outlined in the previous step.

Step 5: Characters are prevented from reaching their first goal

The first goal is thwarted, either through the actions of the opposition or some other circumstances that are not under the characters’ control.

Step 6: Characters react

The characters react to the fact that they failed to reach their goal.

Step 7: Stakes are raised

The stakes the characters are facing if they do not reach the story goal are raised, which in turn raises the tension and excitement of the story for the reader.  This is also where the characters react to the raising of the stakes.

Step 8: A new (second) goal is developed

Determined not to let one set-back prevent them from reaching their goal, the characters develop a new, larger goal (since the stakes are now higher.)

Step 9: Actions are taken to reach the second goal

The characters take some action designed to bring them closer to the goal outlined in the previous step.

Step 10: Characters are prevented from reaching their second goal

The second goal is thwarted, again either through the actions of the opposition or some other circumstances that are not under the characters’ control.

Step 11: Characters react

The characters react to the fact that they failed to reach their goal for the second time.

Step 12: Stakes are raised

The stakes become even higher, with greater consequences in the event of failure.   The characters react to this change.

Step 13: Low Moment Begins

At this point the characters are feeling their failures.  They are demoralized and uncertain just what to do next.  Some may even be on the verge of giving up.  It is only the high stakes that keep them in the game now.

Step 14: Third Goal is developed

With uncertainty and confusion running rampant, the characters try to rally and push onward.  A new goal is developed, though this time the specter of failure looms close at hand.

Step 15: Actions are taken despite uncertainty

Determined not to give up without a fight, the characters push through and attempt to reach the goal one more time, despite the fact that their chances of success look slimmer by the minute.

Step 16: Dark Time Begins

The characters fail miserably and the terrible circumstances they have been trying to avoid seem all too likely.

Step 17: Characters react to the dark time

Despair sets in as the characters reach their lowest emotional point in the story.  Everything they feared is about to come to pass and they seem to be completely out of options.  The stakes are at a fever pitch by this point.

Step 18: Pivotal change occurs

A crucial event takes place that makes the character’s all too well aware that they don’t have the option of failing.  Maybe their lives are on the line.  Maybe it is the life of a loved one or the fate of the entire world.  Whatever it is, the characters must face it and decide that they have to give it go or die trying.

Step 19: Goals are revised one last time

For the last time, the characters set a goal and go for it with all they’ve got.

Step 20: Final showdown happens, the opposition is defeated and the characters react to their success

The characters face off against the opposition and this they succeed.  The opposition is defeated and they are left to figure out just where they go from here.

So there you have it, a twenty step, tried and true plot structure that you can use to plan your NaNoWriMo novel ahead of time and be ready to go when the clock strikes midnight on Sunday.

Monday, October 26th, 2009 by Carrie Vaughn
Chasing the Noises

“They ought to stop playing a composer’s music as soon as the last one who knows what it means is gone.  The last one who knew the noises.  The stuff I play has hawkbells in it and mill wheels and pikes all grounding at once.  Chamber pots being emptied out of the window, banks of oars rattling into the water.  People screaming because the hangman’s just held up somebody’s heart for them to see.  I can’t hear the noises, I just play the notes.  Shouldn’t be allowed.”
She said, “All right.  Come on, I’ll take you where the noises are.”

The Folk of the Air, Peter S. Beagle

In the novel The Folk of the Air by Peter S. Beagle, a musician who specializes in Renaissance music has a moment of doubt, knowing that the world that produced the music he loves is dead and gone, that what he plays is a frozen museum artifact rather than a living, breathing art.  That’s when his friend Julie takes him to a dance organized by a medieval recreation group, and Farrell discovers that the world lives on in a new form, and that he can experience, at least a little bit, the context of the music — the swishing skirts, the figures moving in the dance, the lights, the atmosphere.

Writing is a form of role-playing.  To some extent, we become our characters while we’re writing them.  We have to think about what they’re like, what they do, what they’d wear, what they’d say.  That all involves getting into their skin, the way an actor gets into a character’s skin.  When we’re writing fiction that takes place in another world — historical, fantastical, science fictional — we especially have to think about the world, the context, the little details that make it fully realized and not just a static picture.  Not just think about it — experience it.  Or convince the reader that we have.

Sometimes, I feel like the reason I write is a little bit backwards.  I’m not interested in the “noises” because I write.  I write because I’m interested in the noises.  Because I want to feel like I’m living in another world, living another life, at least for a little while.  Writing is one way to do this, but not the only one.

I’ve talked about my adventures with theater and role-playing games.  I haven’t talked much yet about my costuming, my horseback riding, my membership in the Society for Creative Anachronism (which Beagle’s fictional League for Archaic Pleasures is said to be loosely based on).  Or my absolute, deep and emotional love for movies like Labyrinth and the Chronicles of Narnia, Robin McKinley’s Damar books, the artwork of James Gurney or Kinuko Craft, the music of Loreena McKennitt or the very recently discovered Abney Park.

Basically, anything that even hints at telling a story, I’m all over it.

For me, it all comes from the same impulse.  It’s all about the noises.  About wanting to live in another world, at least for a little while.  It’s about giving free reign to my childhood daydreaming, when I pretended I was (at various points) Wonder Woman, President, a submarine captain, a starship captain, and so on.  I count myself extraordinarily lucky that no one ever told me daydreaming was bad.  In fact, lots of people encouraged me to get involved in theater, and to keep writing.  My imagination grew rather than atrophied.

I’ve worn a corset and hoop skirt and danced a pavan to live music.  I’ve tilted at rings on horseback.  I’ve gone on a week-long pack trip on horseback in the wilds of Wyoming.  I’ve walked the city walls in York.  I’ve fenced in a tournament.  I’ve made hand-bound books.  I’ve played a ghost on stage.  I’ve also played a singing dancing nurse from World War II.  I was once part of a Commedia dell’arte troupe.  Every Halloween, I try to come up with something a little different.  This year, it’s steampunk, which combines so many loves I can see myself getting really sucked into this aesthetic.

I get a lot of inspiration from all of this — from watching the movies, reading the books, wearing the costumes, having the little adventures, from following these impulses of the imagination.

Why am I a writer?  Because as a writer, I can do it all.


Carrie goes Steampunk

Saturday, October 24th, 2009 by Sasha White

A while agoI wrote this Back to Basics post, and in it I talked about how I’d analyzed some reviews and reader letters to help list what my strengths were as a writer. I think readers and reviewers often see things in our stories that we are either unaware we put in (like certain aspects of ourselves or our own personalities) or things that we’re not sure they’ll get. for me MY PREROGATIVE had plenty of both of those things. While I was writing it I knew that because the main character was a bartender, (and I’ve been one for almost 20 years) that certain parts of my own life and experiences would certainly leak into the story. I also knew that I was creating a character that many readers wouldn’t ‘get’, especially since I like to create the characters and let the readers get to know them through their own actions without me having to hit them over the head with the same clues over and over. It thrills me to no end when I read a review and see that I’ve done my job, and someone has connected with, and understood, my characters.

Because of this review by one of my first time readers, I’ve chosen to give you an excerpt from MY PREROGATIVE today. It is an explicit one, but it’s also one that proves the point that in erotic fiction, the sex scenes are about more than just the sex.

* * * * *

my prerogativeThe bar was packed that night and time flew.
I’d called my Mom after my talk with Val, and let her ramble on about Ariel’s wedding plans, my cousin’s new baby, and an interns position in one of the city’s top marketing firm’s she’d heard about. Yeah, more like she’d hunted down.
No matter how many times I told her I liked my job, she never quit trying to find me something ‘better’.
Whatever. I accepted that I’d never change her mind about following my own path.
A few drinks, plenty of flirting, and a complete lockdown on those pesky twinges of lonely had me feeling pretty damn good as I exited Risqué. It was my life, and I was living it the way I wanted.
Dave, the cocky young stud visiting Jack, was leaning against my car with his arms folded across his chest.
“It’s my last night here.” he said when I stopped in front of him. “I thought you might want to give me a going-away present.”
A tingle of heat started low in my belly. I hadn’t heard from Randy since I got back from Jamaica and my needs were riding me hard. Dave was pretty hot. Nice face, nice body, good sense of humor … and leaving town the next day. He’d be good for a quick fix, if nothing else. “Sure, hop in.”
The drive to my place was short, filled with flirtatious one-liners flung back and forth. Dave’s hand rubbed up and down my thigh as I drove and my temperature rose. When we hit a red light I turned and grabbed him by the shirt collar, pulling him in for a kiss. Our lips met, parted and meshed with the heat and passion only strangers can have.
Kissing a stranger – fucking a stranger, is hot. For me, the turn on came from more than what the guy looked like, or who he was. It came from the fact that we’d never see each other again. I could be free with a stranger, as down and dirty as I wanted, as sweet or as slutty, and not worry about repercussions. Or judgements. Or gossip. It was an aphrodisiac, and by the time I pulled back from Dave we were both panting hard.
“Is it much farther?” he asked.
Instead of answering I put the pedal to the floor and pulled into the parking lot of my building two minutes later. Dave got the hint and didn’t bother talking anymore. He smacked my ass when I went up the stairs ahead of him and pinned me to the wall on the first landing with a kiss.
His tall, lean body rubbed against mine as his hands ran down my back and fondled my ass. I started to lift my leg and wrap it around his waist but stopped myself and pushed him away to dash up the last set of stairs.
Dave caught up with me as I pushed the door open and we stumbled into my apartment together. The tank top I was wearing came off and I tossed it to the floor as I walked backward toward my bedroom, leading him along teasingly. His hands shook as he unbuttoned his shirt and belt, dropping his clothes on the floor where he stood. I eyed his pants and he understood. Reaching down, he pulled a condom from the pocket. When he came up, my skirt and panties were on the floor and he tackled me with a growl.
We hit the ground kissing and touching, hands everywhere as we rolled around on the floor of my living room. It didn’t matter that we never made it to my bedroom; all that mattered was the feel of bodies rubbing together as we wrestled.
Dave tried to slow things down, to gentle me, but I wanted none of it. I didn’t want gentle. I wanted hard and rough and passionate. Pushing against his shoulders I finally gained the top position.
I sat up, straddling him. “Put the condom on,” I said.
Panting filled the room as he ripped out the foil package and reached between us to slide it on. I lifted up, and got rid of my bra.
He froze, slack jawed and staring as I pinched my nipples and tugged on the piercings.
“You are so sexy,” he said, his eyes glued to my every movement. A shudder racked his body and I grinned. His cock was so hard it was flat against his belly.
“So eager,” I whispered, trailing my finger over his cheek to the corner of his mouth. I played it over his mouth, dipping between his parted lips. “Do you want to fuck me, Dave?”
“Oh God, yes!”
“I’m not some sweet little girl, you know.”
“I know,” he panted the words out.
“Then do it.” I gripped his shoulders and rolled over again, pulling him on top of me. Wrapping my hand around the back of his head I pulled him down on top of me. I pulled my finger out and kissed him. I sank my hands into his hair and pressed my body against him. My mouth opened and I shoved my tongue between his lips. He met me with fire and passion, his body rigid and straining against mine.
No more foreplay, no more teasing. I reached between us to grab his cock and showed him the way in. Once his thick head breached my entrance, he started to pump his hips. I planted my feet on the floor and moved with him, but it wasn’t enough. “Don’t be gentle, Dave. Fuck me hard.”
“You asked for it,” he said. Bracing his hands by my shoulders he thrust deep and didn’t hesitate. His hips pumped fast and hard, shafting me so deep it almost hurt. Pelvic bones crashed and my clit absorbed every shock with a cry of pleasure. I wrapped my legs around his waist, closed my eyes and enjoyed the ride.
Dave didn’t last long at that pace, and soon he was grunting. “Come on, sweetness. Come on.”
I knew what he wanted, but I wasn’t even close to coming. I was just enjoying the feel of his body above of mine and his cock inside me. I tilted my hips to change the angle and gasped. That was it, right there. Dave started to adjust to my change and I grabbed his hips. “No, right there, baby. Don’t stop.”
Another grunt and he dug in. I moaned and grabbed my breasts, tugging on my nipples, pinching them until the pain shot through my body and made my pussy clench. Yes, there it was. “Yes, harder. Harder!”
He slammed into me and the pressure inside exploded. I caught my breath, and absorbed the sensations that washed over me.
“Yes!” Dave cried out, his back arching as his cock hit home one last time before he collapsed on top of me.
I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and stroked his hair for a few minutes while he caught his breath. When he rolled off me I got up and went into my bedroom for my robe. I slipped the silk kimono on and went back to the living room flicking the lights on as I went.
Dave was stretched out on the floor, naked and looking way too sleepy. I walked past him to the kitchen and opened the fridge.
“I have tequila, would you like a drink?” I called out as I poured myself some over ice for myself. Please say no.
“No thanks, sweetness. I’m ready to crash now.”
Crash? No that wouldn’t do. I picked up the phone and walked back to the living room and flopped onto the sofa so he could hear me. “Yes, I’d like a cab please.”
Dave’s sleepy gaze snapped open at my words. His face went blank and he stood,heading for the bathroom as I gave my address to the dispatcher.
A minute later he walked back to the living room naked. “Thanks for that, I really should get going. My flight leaves early tomorrow.”
“You mean today,” I said.
“Yeah, today.” He glanced at his watch and grinned before pulling on his clothes. “No rest for the wicked, right?”
I shook my head and chuckled. I remembered when it was a point of pride to stay up all night. My skin began to tingle and that being watched sensation rippled over me again.
Turning my head I walked slowly to the balcony and focused on the building across the street that housed some pretty fancy lofts. And I spotted him.
A guy alone, in the window directly across from me. Light spilt out from the room behind him, delineating his silhouette and leaving his face in the shadows. I didn’t need to see his eyes to know they were on me, I could feel them. My nipples snapped to attention and my insides clenched in undeniable acknowledgement.

“MY PREROGATIVE is the perfect title to explore this intense tale of a naughty woman seeking love, but refusing to settle for the wrong man in her life… Ms. White grasped the concept of a woman’s needs and weaved a wonderful tale of realization. MY PREROGATIVE is an insightful and thought provoking page turner that I know you’ll enjoy.” —NightOwl Romance

White proves again that she’s a force to be reckoned with…In Kelsey, the author has created a mature, fully developed character who is unapologetic about her sexuality and desires but is vulnerable in her desire to find a soul mate. While this book is a stand-alone, it is loosely related to White’s previous titles Bound, Trouble and Wicked.” — RT BOOKreviews

“Sasha White keeps her characters real and her storyline true with plenty of hot-n-steamy, I-need-a-fan kind of relationships. Her books are always fun and exciting, and this one is no different. I loved it!!” —Fresh

“Watching Kelsey go from throwing men away like used tissues to falling (against her will) for a strong hero like Harlan was a joy to read. I liked MY PREROGATIVE because it wasn’t your typical love story. There was no boy meets girl here; it was boy watches girl from afar and voyeuristic girl loves it! If you like erotic romance that’s not afraid to take a few risks, you’ll love MY PREROGATIVE.” —

Want to learn more about MY PREROGATIVE? Visit my Bookpage and read another excerpt HERE.