Thursday, 18 July 2013

Who Wants a Cuddle?

A recent survey carried out by a famous bed manufacturer came up with some interesting results. Do these challenge common stereotypes and misconceptions?

Romantic young couple  photostock
Have you always believed that women are the ones who long to be held and cuddled more in bed and guys just want to get on to other things? These results might surprise you.


  • 1 in 3 women don't like cuddling
  • 1 in 2 women try to avoid it because they're too exhausted and would rather go to sleep [and we all know why!!]
  • 1 in 4 say cuddling makes them hot and uncomfortable [I think men stop listening after they hear "hot"!!]
  • 1 in 10 say they'd rather spend the time on Facebook
  • 33% say they stopped cuddling after the honeymoon phase of their relationship wore off
  • 50% claimed they gave their husbands a quick cuddle so he would be happy and leave them alone [well they know what that sort of thing leads to!]
Affectionate couple in bed  Imagery Majestic

  • 36% of men have actually argued with a partner about lack of cuddling (whilst only 26% of women said the same thing).
  • Men are much more likely to cuddle their partner on and off throughout the night, whether she likes it or not [don't say you haven't been warned]

It seems women are more likely to hate and avoid cuddling than men and are good at coming up with excuses to avoid it, whilst men are more likely to want it and sulk if they don't get it.

I reckon women just want to get back to that great, hot hero in their current novel!!

A fascinating insight?  I'll sleep on it.

Kristal x

Photos from

Friday, 15 February 2013

Access All Areas Welcomes I J Miller

Welcome to my regular guest spot: Access All Areas which today welcomes wonderful I J Miller! 

Win an advance copy of the trade paperback of I J Miller's brilliant erotic novel, Wuthering NIghts

Just post a comment and leave your contact details by Fri March 1 and one lucky winner will be chosen at random.

Good luck everyone!

This is where you get to go backstage as your fave authors share something different about themselves with you... as well as show you their fabulous work.
My inspiration came from a getting an AAA pass to a famous summer rock festival. Now you're getting past security into a secret world. Grab yours and come right on in! 

Over to I J who is going to tell us about how 

For most of my adult life I have been a two-career person.  There were many years that I was a full time writer who coached college tennis part time on the side.  There were many years when I was a full time college tennis coach who wrote part time on the side.  Now I am just a full time writer.  My first novel was published when I was (very) young, in the 1980’s.  Despite the book having explicit sexual content, I used my real name, the same one I used for coaching.  The book wasn’t famous and neither was I.  It was easy to keep the coach and the book completely separate.  Seven years later, it was out of print.  I even mentioned in my coaching bio that I was a published writer.

One day in the late 90s, one of my college players came up to me and said she saw my novel on Amazon.  I asked her what Amazon was and she explained that it was a website that sold books and that used copies of mine were available for purchase.  I told her that the book had strong sexual content, it would probably weird her out because I was her tennis coach, and that I didn’t want her to buy it.
A few days later she told me she bought the book.  I told her that no matter what she shouldn’t read it.
A few days later she told me she read it.  Worried, but curious, I asked her what she thought.  She said she hadn’t really read it, but skimmed it.  College kids.  We never spoke about it again, but about a year later, after becoming more website savvy, I searched my name on Amazon and saw not only the book, but that my player had written a rave review.
Either way, as the times got more conservative, and everything one did had a chance to explode in cyberspace, I thought it was best to keep the university employee and racy novelist as separate as possible.  I soon took “published writer” out of my coaching bio and published all of my subsequent erotic books under my current writing name, I.J. Miller. 
Now that I am not coaching anymore I can probably go back to using my full first name.  But if I do, no one will find me on the internet.


She unbuttoned his trousers, needing to hold his cock down with one hand in order to slip them off. He wore no underwear, which delighted Miss Catherine. He lay below her, completely naked. She stroked his entire body with her eyes, as if they were her hands: the broad shoulders; the bold, muscular arms with bulging biceps; the narrow hips; the elegant pack of muscles at his stomach climbing from waist to chest like steps on a ladder; the thick, dark legs, fine hairs in abundance. Then, of course, the hands. These she had seen and known since their childhood. Strong hands, with thick fingers, each a tree that gripped everything with power. Often dirty and grimy, but so commanding to the touch that it thrilled her even as a child to feel her hand held by his.
He reached a hand toward her stomach, but she grabbed it, stopped him. “Don’t touch…yet. Watch.”

Amazon US
Author  BIO 

 I.J. Miller is the author of five, distinct, literary, erotic works of fiction: SEESAW was translated into two languages, with over 130,000 copies in print; WHIPPED appeared in both English and German; SEX AND LOVE, a collection of short stories, made its debut in the summer of 2011; CLIMBING THE STAIRS, a novella, was released just a year later.  His latest novel, WUTHERING NIGHTS, is an erotic retelling of Emily Bronte’s classic, Wuthering Heights, and is published by the Grand Central Publishing imprint of Hatchette Books.  It is available now as an e-book and will be in bookstores in trade paperback on April 23.  Miller has a Master of Fine Arts from the American Film Institute and has taught creative writing and screenwriting at the university level.
Visit I.J. here
 Interesting story, I J. Thanks for sharing it with us and the book looks fabulous! It's such a common problem for all of us with a day job. I know...
Kristal x

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Access All Areas - welcomes K D Grace

Welcome to my regular guest spot: Access All Areas which today welcomes the amazing K D Grace! 

This is where you get to go backstage as your fave authors share something different about themselves with you... as well as show you their fabulous work.

My inspiration came from a getting an AAA pass to a famous summer rock festival. Now you're getting past security into a secret world. Grab yours and come right on in! 
Over to K D who is going to tell us about her most bizarre journey:    

Behind God’s Leg in Lapovo

 Thanks for having me on Access All Areas, Kristal. When you told me what you had in mind, the very first thing I thought of was an unexpected trip Raymond and I made back in our dating days. Iza Božje nogu - Behind god’s leg - that’s the phrase in Serbo-Croat for the back of beyond, the south forty, the most remote place. That pretty much defines our little adventure. I’ve done a lot of travelling in some amazing places, some strange and fascinating places, but the most bizarre journey I’ve ever taken is our accidental trip to Lapovo, Serbia.

I was living in Zagreb in Croatia at the time and Raymond was living and working about three hours away on the Bosnian/Croatian border. Our long-distance dating often involved spending our weekends traveling and exploring what was then Yugoslavia. That particular weekend, we had planned a trip to Belgrade to visit friends. I took the train to Bosnia, to meet him. That was about half way to our destination. It turned out to be one of those Fridays. Three cancelled buses and two cancelled trains later, we finally crammed ourselves on a train heading for Greece, but stopping in Belgrade on the way. I knew that it stopped in Belgrade, but I asked the conductor just in case. I asked the conductor three times just to be sure. Back in those days my Croatian was pretty decent. I’d lived there nearly four years. But often train conductors on that busy route seemed to regard the sharing of travel information with passengers as consorting with the enemy. Better safe than sorry.

We rode a good part of the journey standing cheek to jowl in the isle with the masses of people heading for the capitol city. Finally we found a place to sit not long before the conductor announced the stop for New Belgrade, a stop just ten minutes from the main station. There the train disgorged the majority of its passengers and headed on. Twenty minutes later we began to suspect that something wasn’t quite right. We hunted down the conductor, getting more and more nervous as the lights of Belgrade faded in the distance.

Looking completely shocked that we didn’t know, the conductor told us that this particular train only stopped at New Belgrade and not the main station. But not to worry, he told us, we could get off at Lapovo and catch a train back to Belgrade.

Thinking that Lapovo was just up the tracks a bit, we returned to our seats to wait … and wait … When it became evident Lapovo was going to be a bit farther than we’d expected, we found the conductor again and asked the dreaded question. By this time we were nearly an hour beyond Belgrade. The conductor smiled ever so sweetly and told us not to worry that the train would be pulling into the station at Lapovo in just two more hours! These were the days before mobile phones, (yes I know, I’m ancient) so we had no way of letting our friends know just how terribly late we were going to be.

I was upset that I’d led us astray by not asking for more specifics from the conductor, but really I had never taken a trip to Belgrade but what the train stopped at the main station. Raymond just laughed it off. He said it would be an adventure, a unique date if ever there was one. I think that might have been the first time I realised just how much I loved him. So we settled in for a long chat, taking advantage of the chance to get to know each other a little better until we finally arrived in Lapovo in the wee hours. The conductor gave us directions to the all-night café and waiting area, and we disembarked. Our first clue that this was not exactly a metropolitan hub was when we stepped off the platform onto wooden planks laid down to cover the mud from the previous day’s rain, mud which was squelchy and deep on the unpaved path. We quickly learned that we had another two hour wait for the next train back to Belgrade, so we headed for the coffee house.

Inside the dimly lit room smelled of strong coffee stale pom frit and cabbage. There were a dozen dilapidated wooden tables with plastic tablecloths, a bar, and a television playing some old American programme about the occult. There were Serbian subtitles.  There were maybe a dozen or so other weary travellers waiting, drinking coffee or beer or slivovica and munching sandwiches and pom frit. We found a table away from the telly and ordered coffee. Everyone seemed to be well settled in, so we assumed we were all waiting for the same train. The accents were strange and clipped, without the Croatian lilt I was used to, and the travellers were travelling heavy, gifts for family and friends, big plastic bags full of treasures and goodies that would not be making the return trip. The café was warm and steamy and the soft buzz of conversation made the television fade to background noise. And I was there in that strange place we never intended to be, in the middle of the night with the man I loved. It could have been a whole lot worse.

The train returning to Belgrade was right on time and, strangely enough for the hour, packed to the gills. Again we found ourselves standing in the isle trying to converse with very limited German with an Austrian couple on their way back from Turkey. Unlike the train on which we’d arrived at Lapovo, this one stopped at every little hole in the road. After about an hour of standing, we found a seat, and I dozed with my head on Raymond’s shoulder as the sun came up over rural Serbia.

It was daylight when we arrived in Belgrade. We took a taxi to our friends’ house. They were just getting up, still in robes, rubbing bleary eyes and wondering what took us so long. We had breakfast and lots of coffee while we shared our adventure with them. Then we took a little nap and woke up no worse for the wear, all ready to begin our slightly delayed weekend in Belgrade.

 About K D Grace
K D Grace believes Freud was right. In the end, it really IS all about sex, well sex and love. And nobody’s happier about that than she, cuz otherwise, what would she write about?
When she’s not writing, K D is veg gardening or walking. She walks her stories, and she’s serious about it. She and her husband recently walked the Coast to Coast rout across England. For her, inspiration is directly proportionate to how quickly she wears out a pair of walking boots.
K D has erotica published with Xcite Books, Harper Collins Mischief Books, Mammoth, Cleis Press, Black Lace, Erotic Review, Ravenous Romance, Sweetmeats Press and others.
K D’s critically acclaimed erotic romance novels include, The Initiation of Ms Holly, The Pet Shop. Her paranormal erotic novel, Body Temperature and Rising, the first book of her Lakeland Heatwave trilogy, was listed as honorable mention on Violet Blue’s Top 12 Sex Books for 2011. Book two, Riding the Ether, is now available.
K D Grace also writes hot romance as Grace Marshall. An Executive Decision, Identity Crisis, books one and two of her Executive Decisions Trilogy are now available.
Find K D Here:                                
Facebook Author Page:

    Kinky Boots

After a sizzling encounter in KINKY BOOTS, a quirky all-night shoe store, with the store’s hot owner, FINN MASTERS, JILL HART walks away in the most gorgeous boots ever. Her new boots come with an unexpected bonus, a sexy demon named ELEANOR, who’s looking for a good time. All she lacks is a body, and Jill’s will do nicely.
Jill quits her dead-end job and, not knowing what’s come over her stops by the nearest pub intent on doing tequila shots until she falls off the stool. Instead she does FINN MASTERS in the beer garden, unwittingly participating in her first ever threesome. The boots were the bait, the timing was right and Eleanor has new digs. It’s Finn job to prevent Eleanor’s misbehaving. His failure means he’ll have to ride shotgun and do damage control until Eleanor moves out at the next full moon.
With Eleanor in residence, Jill’s bolder, sexier, willing to take risks. But is she a whole new Jill, or is it just demon courage? And how will Finn feel about her when she’s just plain Jill again? Will the maddeningly magical ménage make Jill’s dreams come true, or will it break her heart?
The clerk lifted her right foot into his hand. She tried to squirm away but he held her firmly flashing her a concerned glance from under a drawn brow. ‘You could have seriously injured your feet walking around Shoreditch at night in someone else’s shoes.’
The skirt she wore was a denim mini, and the way he sat between her legs made her feel exposed, vulnerable, and something a lot more yummy. As he ran his thumbs up her instep and over the pad of her foot, she shifted in the chair sliding down to accommodate his inspection.
‘Shoes are so important. They protect our feet, our soles, the only part of us that regularly contacts the earth. They allow us that intimate connection with our planet while at the same time keeping us safe from it.’ He continued his inspection of her feet, hands moving gently over her arch to the ball then to her toes as he cupped her heel in a warm hand. ‘No two people’s soles contact the earth in the same way.’
Her pulse thudded at the enthusiasm of his little speech which, along with his gentle inspection of her feet, felt shockingly intimate, even more so than if he had actually peeked up her skirt. His actions were having a cumulative effect low between her hip bones. ‘Maybe you could sell me something a little more suited to me.’ Her words rushed out breathless and unsteady.
He placed both hands on his thighs and looked up at her. ‘Did you have a pair in mind?’
She gave a quick glance around the store, and her eyes lit on a pair of mauve boots that came up just over the ankle, low on the calf. They sported delicate kitten heels and were threaded with sage green laces that looked more like ribbons, ‘How about those,’ she said. Then she blushed fiercely. They were lovely, elegant, and any idiot could see, totally not suited for someone like her. ‘Or maybe something a little more practical.’ She avoided his gaze. ‘A little less flashy.’
Ignoring her second thoughts, he stood and walked to the rack. She couldn’t keep from noticing how nicely his butt filled out his jeans. She could imagine that arse had sold more than a few pairs of shoes to women who liked a good view. It was then she realized he had taken the boots straight off the display. ‘I’m hard to fit,’ she said as he knelt in front of her and unlaced one boot.
‘Trust me–’ he smiled up at her, opened the boot and offered it to her like Cinderella’s Prince Charming ‘– I can fit you just fine.’
Buy Kinky Boots Now

Thanks for sharing that rich & romantic travel tale with us, K. D. - I'm still sighing! (Small world: I have a little adventure of my own from somewhere near there - Ljubljana, Slovenia - but that will have to save until another time)
Kristal x

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Access All Areas - Kay Jaybee

Welcome to my regular guest spot: Access All Areas which today welcomes the sensational Kay Jaybee!

This is where you get to go backstage as your fave authors share something different about themselves with you... as well as show you their fabulous work.

My inspiration came from a getting an AAA pass to a famous summer rock festival. Now you're getting past security into a secret world. Grab yours and come right on in! 
Over to Kay who is going to tell us about her very unusual job (below) but first for some special 'secrets':    

Collecting Secrets

Thanks ever so much for inviting me to your blog Kristal!

Today I thought I’d share a little about my book, The Collector (pub. Austin & Macauley 2008 & 2012) and maybe, if you’re good, I’ll tell you a few secrets about some of its stories!

The Collector, now in its second edition, was my very first solo project, and an absolute joy to put together! The 21 stories were all ‘collected’ by the narrator of the story, who shares with us how she found all these tales- and how she found them. The Collector is an ordinary woman with an extra-ordinary hobby- she hunts down other people’s kinky adventures, and then writes them down.

The Collector sits silently alone, engrossed in her tales of lust, submission and dominance. Has she already engraved your erotic exploits on her salacious list?
She may look like she is scribbling randomly in her notebook, but she is secretly listening to, and recording, the overheard fantasies and indiscretions of others.
Forever hungry for stories, when The Collector's sources run dry, her appetite for tales of instruction and voyeurism drives her to do some research of her own before sharing her provocative experiments on paper.
It is time for the world’s raunchiest chronicler to come to light.

From the first story, New Territory, to the last, Alone, The Collector takes us through every gambit of the sexual experience. The question I am always asked when discussing this book is – ‘So, are you the collector then?’

I’ve never answered the question before- but I guess it has to be....Sort of. Ish. Maybe...

Let’s have a little taster of one of the stories. This is from Crushed- a tale shared with me by a student friend- yes- really!
The general din from the concert behind me had reached such a level of confusion that hand signals were now the only possible means of communication. As I slowly inched closer to the bar I began to wonder how on earth I’d get our drinks back through the heaving mass of people.
                Thankful that I wasn’t claustrophobic, I slowly shuffled along with the crowd. I could still move my arms but, otherwise I was almost totally immobilised. For some unseen reason we had all come to a complete full stop. Being above average height gave me the advantage of spotting potential “sliding into gaps” opportunities, but eventually I had to accept that I was going nowhere fast, and was destined to remain thirsty for sometime.
I looked around at my temporary colleagues. Apart from hair colour, and a stab at gender, I couldn’t really tell you much about the people who were standing so close to me that we knew what the sides of each others legs felt like.
                My mind started to wander. A thirty or so deep crowd of people, all piling in one direction – what were they all thinking? How many pockets had been picked? How many people were accidentally on purpose feeling up the person in front of them?
                I began to imagine how I’d react if a strange pair of hands started to stroke my arse as I stood there, unable to move, my protests going unheard.  My hands began to itch as I turned my attention to the person directly in front of me. Female, above average height, red hair in tidy bunches, short skirt; older than eighteen I guessed, perhaps younger than twenty five.
                I was so close to her that as I looked down I had an excellent view of the top of her head. My crotch was already lightly rubbing against her flimsy skirted rear, and the urge to put my hands over her shoulders and slide them down onto her breasts (which my imagination had decided would be both full and firm), was overwhelming.
I still can’t believe I did it. What if she’d screamed? I’d have been arrested for sure, if anyone should have heard her.
                I would like to be able to say I’d been tentative and gentle; testing the water. But I was straight on, squeezing her tits hard (which were actually small, but beautifully tight). I felt her body stiffen as her attempts to instantly turn around were inhibited by the general crush. I tensed, expecting a slap across my kneading digits. It didn’t come. Instead her body shuffled within its confined space, her own hands slipping behind her and flipping up her short skirt to reveal a pair of neat pale buttocks encased in creamy lace knickers, which she pushed against my hard confined dick.
                I must confess to a moments panic then. What if we were spotted? Her intentions were obviously as impure as my own. I took a deep breath to calm myself; there was no way any extra pushing could be viewed as odd. For all I knew the entire crowd could have been at it. The only person who may have been more suspicious than the rest was the guy behind me. As I pulled back slightly from this amazing girl, I could feel his cock was also hard. Or was I simply imagining it?
                Wriggling one hand down between her arse and my denims,’ I undid my flies and freed my cock. She must have known what I was doing as she instantly pressed back harder, standing on her toes to feel my length better against her buttocks.
I eased the delicate lace knickers to one side and rubbed myself against her rounded flesh. Her hands snaked around behind her and she grabbed my tip with expert fingers. I tried to suppress a groan, but failed, and anxiously looked around at the still oblivious crowd, as her fingers grasped the end of my shaft.
                I have no idea how I kept such an impassive expression on my face. A total stranger was wanking me against her bum, and my head was full of the picture we must be creating. What’s more, each time she forced me back fractionally I brushed against the anonymous guy behind me. I swear he was getting harder all the time and I longed to be able to include him in our secret sex.
I guess I became reckless then, because as she smoothed my dick I began to push back harder. All the time I was waiting to be found out, waiting for a cry of protest. None came.
                Grateful of her perfect height, I slipped a hand down as far as I could, feeling between her legs, fingering her slippery wetness. Perhaps she was wearing high heels, I couldn’t tell.
                I knew I couldn’t hang on much longer. Sandwiched between this horny girl and a hard man, I thought I’d explode with the thought of the situation alone...

Yes- I really am going to leave the story there...- mean aren’t I!!

So, Crushed came to me via a fellow student. So, are all the other stories in The Collector true? some cases I am sworn to secrecy, in other cases, I’d get shot if I said (even though I’m not sworn to secrecy), and the others...well, let’s just say that the occasionally featured  ‘Lady of Negotiable Affection’ called Kitty is a cover for a real person. Her story however, has been sanitised, which if you’ve read Tequila, you may find hard to believe. As to the lips are sealed. I mean, why kill the magic...

Okay, okay, I promised you secrets. I’ve already shared more about The Collector than I have before, but a promise is a promise- so I asked Kristal if there was something that you might like to know about my life before erotica, and she asked me-
  • What was the most unusual job you’ve ever had?
Lol- well writing erotica is pretty unusual- but apart from that it has to be the time I formed part of a production line making Welsh Hats for the tourist trade. My job was to dip large squares of black felt into a huge square vat of emulsion glue. This stank to high heaven, and used to make us all a little drugged up (this was in the days before health and safety had been invented!).
I would poke the felt with a long wooden stick until it was coated, then- wait for it- I would squeeze it through a genuine Victorian mangle until the glue was all out, and then place it on a drying rack. There it would hang until it was stiff enough to mould into a hat shape!!!
Strange but true!!

Thanks for inviting me over today Kristal. xx

If you’d like to read The Collector, it is available from 

Amazon UK       Amazon US

Kay Jaybee wrote the novels Making Him Wait, (Sweetmeats Press, 2012), The Voyeur (Xcite, 2012), The Perfect Submissive (Xcite 2012), and Not Her Type: Erotic Adventures With A Delivery Man (OCPress, 2011). She has also written the anthologies The Collector (Austin & Macauley, 2012 & 2008), The Best of Kay Jaybee (Xcite, 2012), Tied to the Kitchen Sink, Equipment, (All Romance, 2012), Yes Ma’am (Xcite e-books, 2011), Quick Kink One and Quick Kink Two (Xcite e-books, 2010). Kay has had over 60 short stories published by Cleis Press (inc. Best of Best Women’s Erotica 2, Best Women’s Erotica 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012; Best Bondage 2012, Sweet Love, Smooth, Gotta Have It, Sweet Confessions), Black Lace (Sexy Little Numbers), Mammoth (The Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotica), Xcite (inc.Ultimate Sin, Boy Fun, Power Play, Threesomes, Finger Music, Tricks For Kicks), Penguin (Oysters and Chocolate; Erotic Stories of Every Flavor), Seal (Oysters and Chocolate; Nice Girls, Naughty Sex),and Sweetmeats Press (Immoral Views)
Details of Kay’s work, past, present and future can be found at

Thanks for sharing your fabulous stories, Kay. ps  Hat making looks like fun :)

Monday, 21 January 2013

Access All Areas - Sommer Marsden

[For Happy Endings Giveaway Hop see tab above]

Welcome to my regular guest spot: Access All Areas which today welcomes the fabulous Sommer Marsden!

This is where you get to go backstage as your fave authors share something different about themselves with you... as well as show you their fabulous work.

My inspiration came from a getting an AAA pass to a famous summer rock festival. Now you're getting past security into a secret world. Grab yours and come right on in! 
Over to Sommer who is going to tell us about:

The Most Famous Person I Ever Met...

Some folks might not even know he is. Some might think it's no big deal. But Peter Straub is an author I've admired for ages. I bought his book Koko once upon a time in an airport store and read almost the entire book during a very long, very drawn out (like four layovers) flight from LAX to BWI airport. He's a writer I still read whenever possible and still admire greatly.


So, yeah, I met him. But it was under duress.

I was a very young, very green writer at the time. I think twenty-three years old or about. I'd wanted to be a writer all my life and had focused on writing during my college days and at that point, I think I'd only been published in the college's anthology and maybe a small poem or two. The man (that is my husband for those of you who don't know me) suggested we go to the bookstore where his friend worked because Peter Straub would be doing a signing.

I snorted. No, really. I snorted. Because I am a shy and somewhat elusive creature in real life, I do not seek out those who I admire or who intimidate me. Which fit Straub to a T. I told the man there was no way in hell I was going to go try and meet Peter Straub because I'd pretty much die of embarrassment and possibly become temporarily mute.

He just shook his head, but didn't press the issue.

Because he's evil.

So I went on about my merry way for a week or so, completely forgetting the ridiculous notion he'd had that I was fit to share air space with Peter Straub.

The following weekend we were planning on doing some shopping, some drinking at the bar, some hanging out with friends. Saturday morning he said, "Oh, I just have to stop by the bookstore and grab something from Rob” (is friend who ran the store). I thought nothing of it, to be honest. We stopped by to see all kinds of people on a regular basis. So off we went, to the bookstore, where I damn near walked straight into...Peter Straub.


Firstly, I must say, he is (or my perception of him made it appear so) a big man. Secondly, he is a genuinely nice man. Thirdly, he shook my hand and said it was nice to meet me despite the fact that I was definitely stammering and possibly drooling and twitching.

We stood and chatted for a few minutes. Me, Peter Straub and another writer who was there with him who I'd actually had contact with through Writer's Digest's (ancient) writer pen pal program. It was all good in the 'hood as they say until other people started to filter in and the man came up to stand next to me.

I was saying my goodbyes, as was the man, when he--the well-meaning love of my life--said those dreaded words right to one of my writing gods..."You know...she's a writer too."

And then I died.

Okay, not really. But I am proud to say that I'm a writer now and thanks to the trickery and deceit of my now-husband, I met one of my writing heroes when I was still fresh and green.

P.S. I find it ironic that one of my favorite books by Peter Straub is Ghost Story book today is just that. A ghost story. Talk about spooky...ish.

Buy Links

Resplendence Publishing       All Romance ebooks    Coming to other vendors soon!

House bought for a steal online when it turns out there’s a damn good reason—check.

Malicious ghost with a body count to his name—check.

Sad, lingering female spirit pining for her still living (but currently dying) fiancé—check.

What’s a widowed medium to do when a departed soul asks to ride piggy back in her body?

To share her space and get under her skin? Juliet Bale does the only thing she can do—with her twin sister’s good counsel—she lets Lanie share her body to help her dying beloved Elijah cross over. The problem is that with all the reuniting, and sharing one body, things get seriously intimate and Juliet can’t help but see exactly why Elijah Rivers was so beloved.
It’s so wrong to sorta kinda fall for a dying man, and 

Excerpt from Under My Skin
© Sommer Marsden
 “I’m telling you, Minnie, it feels off.” I tucked the phone under my chin and tried not to trip on the damn thing. My brand new kitchen had a way-old phone. It actually had a cord, for goodness’ sake.
“Off how? Off is relative when it comes to you, twin sister, dear.”
I snorted, and Minnie made a high-pitched sound that said she was laughing at me. “Har har.”
I slipped my silverware—triple wrapped in plastic—into my freshly washed and tidied drawer. I had just spent three hours wiping down the room and cleaning everything. I wanted it as spic and span as possible for me and my own energy. Most people don’t realize when you move in a new home, along with other people’s dirt, you get other people’s emotions.
“I mean, what is off, Juliet? Is the paint too bright or the window too small or…what?” My sister was mocking me.
“The energy,” I said, pushing a stack of brightly colored cake plates into a small side cabinet. “Don’t play dumb, Min. You haven’t just met me. You know, your sister…the sensitive. Resident psychic medium,” I chuckled, making a joke at my own expense.
I swore I heard her smile over the phone line. I could picture my sister in my mind. Same long unruly dirty blond hair as mine. Same startling blue eyes that could turn gray with mood, weather or depending on what color we wore. But we weren’t identical, we were fraternal. She was shorter and curvier than me, her nose just a bit sharper. And her tongue.
“Juliet, let’s face it, any place is going to be off to you, right? Any place you go is going to be steeped in someone else’s emotions and past, yes?”
“Yes,” I agreed, wiping my hands on my shirttails and leaning against the giant butcher block island in the center of the room. “True story.”
“Well, then, just deal with it. There is no clean space for you, really. Unless you build a brand new home from scratch and not a single worker has a bad day or an illness or any of that.”
I nodded even though she couldn’t see me. She was right.
“So take this new home and treat it as your own. Smear your own energy all over the place.”
I snorted, eyeing my shirt. It had been Justin’s. My heart crimped up at seeing it. Three years had not dulled my loss, and despite being psychically sensitive and talking to spirits more often than not, I had yet to see or talk to him. I wondered if it were somehow taboo for us to speak or if he thought it would be too painful for me to see him.
“Hello?” my sister sighed.
“Sorry, I hear you. You’re right. Though I don’t know about smearing my energy all over the place. Kind of makes me sound like a monkey—”
“Juliet!” she snapped, knowing where I was going with that analogy. “Onto other things. How are you doing? I mean…how are you doing?”
She meant moving out of the former home that Justin and I had shared before he died. She meant on my own. She meant finally embracing the fact that I was single and maybe moving on with my new life. Montgomery House was that chance. I mean, how often do you get to buy a house with a name? And I’d gotten it for a song. Which worried me, but…
“I’m fine,” I lied. “No worries.”
“I’m coming to see you soon,” she threatened, and I smiled.
“You’d better.”
* * * *
He was big—big and looming. But he was also thin. The kind of build that made the mind pull up images of a praying mantis or some ungodly sea creature trapped in the darkness near the ocean floor. Just seeing him turn his muddy eyes to me made my heart thunder.
“You’re here,” he said and smiled.
The smile was the most frightening aspect of his appearance. It twisted his face in such a way that it reminded me of a molded rubber mask that had gone askew. Almost as if his skin didn’t quite fit on his bones the right way.
I turned to run, and when I did, his long arm shot out to plant a big, strong hand on my shoulder. Being touched by him was like experiencing the most sudden and all-consuming emptiness imaginable. A sob ripped out of me.
“I thought three was my lucky number,” he said, his voice gravel turned under a tire. Sand scraped across stainless steel. It made my head hurt, and my heart followed suit.
I pulled against his strength, knowing I’d never break free until I awoke. I knew by the energy I was trapped in a dream. Knew he couldn’t really hurt me…not yet. But I also knew that as long as I slept, I was his. This was the secret my new house held. This energy. And this was where I’d be until I could drag myself back up to my conscious mind.
“Three what?” I managed, stalling.
“Three girls before you came.” The cadence of his words stirred goose bumps along my skin. The fine hairs of my scalp prickled with dread.
“You killed them?”
“I consumed them,” he said. “Their essence.”
The urge to scream was overpowering. The urge to weep even stronger. Instead, I did the only thing I could do. I turned into his grip to face him. He looked surprised for a moment, his long rubbery face and his sick brown eyes showing shock. But then he smiled, and that hole seemed to open in my stomach again. I studied the face. The old-fashioned brown suit. The proper white buttoned-down shirt. Cufflinks, a tie clip, wingtip shoes and close-cropped hair.
Then I bit my tongue as hard as I possibly could and tasted blood. His face lit up when the coppery taste flooded my mouth. Maybe he could smell it. But then he realized what I’d done and frowned at me.
“You’ll be back,” he said. “I’m here all the time.”
I woke up.

Thank you, Sommer so much, for sharing your fascinating story and, of course, Under My Skin. It's going straight on my TBR list!

Come back soon, everyone, 
Kristal x

Sunday, 13 January 2013


[For Happy Endings Giveaway Hop see tab above]

Welcome to my new regular guest spot: Access All Areas

This is where you get to go backstage as an author shares something different about themselves with you... as well as show you their fabulous work.

My inspiration came from a getting an AAA pass to a famous summer rock festival. Now you're getting past security into a secret world. Grab yours and come right on in!

I'm kicking the whole thing off by doing my own AAA post. Well, it only seems fair. 

Not many people know that I once learned to play the cello.

Well perhaps play is somewhat of an exaggeration! I was just in my teens and attended a small, girls-only school. They hired a cello instrumentalist to teach my friend and me (2 silly young ladies) the great instrument for the school orchestra. That earnest young man suffered the tortures of the damned trying to teach his wayward pupils.

I burn with shame at memories of him trying to tell us how to hold the instrument properly (we knew!). His cries of “Open your legs. Wider. Wider!” were met with howls of laughter to the point that we were unable to sit upright, let alone play. Well, we did wear a uniform skirt and knee high socks, I mean to say…

He persevered. We didn’t.

In fact, I was so hideously awful that, on one occasion, I took a wise (in hindsight) decision to simply pretend to play it. How so? It was a grand school recital before parents, pupils and governors and I, for my sins, was placed at the very front of the stage (God’s strange sense of humour?).
Unbelievably, I managed to ‘bow’ the old bugger (as I fondly referred to it), hovering an undetectable millimetre beyond point of contact (nothing wrong with my sense of timing or spatial awareness). Throughout the entire performance, that bow never touched those strings!

This was infinitely preferable, I decided in my youthful wisdom, than the mortification of producing ear-screeching 'bum' notes. How I got away with it, I will never know.

The cello and I were soon destined to part company. I always did prefer a good book. Although he might have made me change my mind when I was a teen...

Have I any regrets? None. I haven’t given it a thought until today.

"Only become a musician if there is absolutely no other way you can make a living."
- Kirke Mecham, on his life as a composer

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

PI Honeytrap - a dangerously sexy romance!

I'm thrilled to announce the release of  my new novel; the first for 2013. 


Hayley doesn’t trust men. She thinks most of them are only good for one thing. And she gets plenty of that honey-trapping cheating husbands or satisfying her own needs with local gym owner, Reuben.

And woe-betide him if he even tries to get emotionally close to her. Because tough girl Hayley is running. From her past. From herself.

Will Reuben ever understand this girl? Will Hayley ever accept exactly who she is and what she needs from a man? Will she learn to trust again?


[Hayley is interviewing a potential client, but she's daydreaming about last night...]

‘Go on.’ Hayley settled back in her chair. She could listen and drift away at the same time.

She drifted straight back to the gym where she’d retreated late last night, to pound a little tension out of her body. Her private arrangement with the owner allowed her to use the place long after his other customers had gone home …

‘Still running, Hayley?’

Hayley knew that Reuben had been standing behind her in the doorway between his office and the main gym hall watching her for some time. She was observant about things like that. And about his choice of words. Perhaps it was time to cancel the arrangement?

‘Still running, Reuben. Are you wanting to lock up or something?’ She kept pounding the treadmill. The angle was at full elevation and it was hard work to keep going at that speed. She didn’t want to break her stride.

‘I did that an hour since. It’s just you and me.’

She knew that tone. He moved closer but the stare was the same. It meant only one thing, and Hayley didn’t mind how she pounded the tension out of her tonight. Particularly with Reuben.

‘I’m kind of busy right now.’ Hayley liked to tease him; to keep things light between them.

He walked over to her machine. ‘Then let me help you with your workload.’ Reuben punched the controls and the incline began to slowly reduce.

Hayley adjusted her body’s forward drive and stared at him as he started to ease the pace she was running too. She’d been on the machine for nearly an hour. That was the reason she suddenly noticed her pulse rate was so high, her heart pounding. The only reason. Sweat dripped off her skin, which glowed with heat. Even between her thighs.

‘I’m a bit of a mess,’ she claimed. She was jogging steadily now, coming down gradually from her peak.

‘I like my women hot, sweaty, and out of breath.’ The tight lift at one side of his mouth told Hayley he liked his own jokes and he was hot too. For her.

She checked out the bulge in his sweats and cocked an eyebrow. Ready to rumble. ‘You’re a lucky guy, then. You’ve got a machine that does most of the work for you, getting them in that condition.’

‘Look around you. I’ve got quite a few.’ Reuben’s eyes were fixed solidly on hers. ‘Machines. Not women.’

Hayley didn’t need to look around to know what was there. Since she’d opened her private investigation office two doors down from Reuben’s Gym, she’d worked out on most of the equipment – with and without Reuben. With was a different kind of workout. And, whatever he said, there were women too. She’d seen their eyes follow Reuben about. But she wasn’t intending to make that her business. This was strictly casual.

‘Machinery? Kind of makes your job a bit too easy. What’s left for you to do?’ Hayley was off the machine and twisting the top off the bottle of water that Reuben had handed her. She tipped her head back and downed the lot in one go, needing the rehydration if she was to keep working out. Making out. And she’d already made up her mind that, tonight, she would be.

Hayley wondered if she liked coming here more for the machine workout or for the other kind of exercise she got at Reuben’s place, and if Reuben wondered too.
He stepped in closer. His body was all muscle. He didn’t just own a gym, he used it on a regular basis. In her line of work, Hayley really appreciated a fit guy. She honeytrapped plenty for her clients, and most were creeps. But Reuben wasn’t work. He was all playtime.

‘I step in for the rub-down.’ He took the empty bottle from her and flipped it across to the bin.

‘Good shot.’

Reuben’s grin told her he wanted to show her another kind of slam dunk. ‘My talents are many.’

They sure were. God, he looked sexy when he smiled. Hot body with all the defined tendons and sinews of an athlete. Great features. The complete package. It was Hayley’s turn for her mouth to twist up into a smile of appreciation. Looking sexy in a white vest and sweatpants was only the start of Reuben’s endowments.

He placed his hands on her forearms and ran them up to her shoulders. She was hot before, but now she began the slow rise to combustion as his firm fingers kneaded the tight muscles at her shoulders and ran up the length of her neck into her hairline.

Hayley reached back and pulled out the elastic that was holding her dark hair back into a tight ponytail. Reuben pushed his fingers through its length, curving around the shape of her skull beneath. She moaned softly.

‘You like that?’

She nodded, eyes half closed.

‘I can do better,’ he promised. He gathered the fabric at the hem of her T-shirt, having given her the expression that she recognised as asking her consent, and peeled it off her damp body. She let him.

The air-conditioning hit her hot, sticky skin and sent shivers dancing across it. Reuben grasped her wrist and towed her behind him towards the massage room. There was an urgency about his movements that told her he’d waited long enough; that he wanted to get her to a place where she would let him fuck her as soon as possible. The guy was hurting.

That’s why she came back to Reuben’s. He worked hard to turn things his way, but it was always her choice in the end. With the hard, muscular size of him, no matter how fit she was he could have her pinned beneath him in seconds flat. But she always knew a simple no would end matters there and then. The guy had self-control.

Unlike some of the jerks she worked with. She’d been involved in some pretty nasty encounters to get the evidence her clients needed. To prove their husbands and boyfriends were cheating, lying scum who would chase any pretty woman who looked their way, irrespective of the fact they were supposedly committed.

She could feel her tension mounting again. Reuben could probably feel it too. He threw a warm, fluffy towel on the massage bench and pressed Hayley face down towards it. She twisted her hair again into a loose knot and fixed it on top of her head.

‘I’m going to unhook your sports bra, Hayley. Is that OK?’

‘Mmm.’ It was only the beginning. The tingle in her nipples told her that tonight she was going all the way. But it wouldn’t hurt to let him wonder.

Reuben unclipped the garment with a practised hand that made Hayley smile. They had an understanding. No ties. Just a little R and R whenever they wanted it; needed it. She liked it that way.

She liked what Reuben was doing to her now too. Her nose told her he had poured warm coconut oil into the palms of his hands, which he slicked across the entire surface of her back. He started palm-circling in small movements, slowly up to her neck on one side of her spine and down to the top of her sweatpants. She could feel the tightness in her muscles soften as he worked.

Time disappeared. Perhaps she drifted off to sleep beneath Reuben’s expert hands as he went through his magic routine; lifting, knuckling, twisting. It was those sexy little thumb strokes that eventually brought her back to consciousness.

Or his gravelly voice.

‘I want to give you a full-body massage, Hayley.’ The gruff tone told her the massage was doing as much for him as it was for her. God, she liked this guy.

He was asking her permission again, to take it up a notch. No point pretending. ‘I want that too.’ 

They both knew he had been given approval for more than just a rubdown.

Reuben’s fingertips hooked in her waistband and he tugged her sweatpants down over her hips. She heard him moan softly as she raised her hips off the bench to accommodate him. She smiled at the silence as he discovered she wasn’t wearing panties. What was the point under sweatpants? At the gym. With Reuben.

A little more oil swirled between his hands and Reuben’s strong fingers flowed from the arch of her spine, over the rise of her lower back to the firm mounds of her buttocks and down her thighs, not stopping until they reached her lower calves. Without ceasing, they returned on their journey to her bottom again.

Her legs felt long, strong, and lean under his actions. Reuben always made her feel good about herself. So good. She parted her legs minutely.

His fingers hooked softly beneath her hip bone and he alternately pulled and pushed the heel of his hand across the muscle of her buttock, working the tight flesh loose and warm. He walked around to the other side, drawing his hand across her body, keeping contact as he went, and repeated the firm movements on the other side.

Despite the relaxing slide of his hand across her oily flesh, Hayley sensed a moment when the contact between them changed. She grew taut and tense. She felt Reuben harden too, somehow. This was it. His hand lay over the cleft of her bottom. His oily fingers dipping lower and lower between her legs. She relaxed them further apart to ease his way.


Want more? You can find PI Honeytrap waiting for you:

Amazon US         Amazon UK      Kobo    Xcite Books

Have a fun read and thanks for visiting,

Kristal x