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Publications…Excerpt from “Hunter, Prey”

Don’t forget, you can still vote for “Hunter, Prey” to be included in Circlet Press’s Best of Circlet’s Digital Library Print Anthology. Vote here! Voting runs through March 15, and I thought I’d share an excerpt from “Hunter, Prey” here. If you like it, the full story is available in Like Tooth and Claw.

Meanwhile, come meet feisty, sexy Aisha and her new golden boy Finn.

Excerpt from “Hunter, Prey”

The last native wild mountain lion in Missouri was killed in 1927. Hunters have been telling stories of mountain lion sightings ever since.

One

I met him at the sixth stop on a Halloween bar crawl. My friends and I had a list of ten bars, but at six, we were almost done. It was my favorite, and I felt good enough to stay put.

Better than good. I was sobering up, but still riding a delicious buzz. I noticed him because he was still and silent when everyone else moved around the room, their voices loud and bright.

I twisted my glass of water against the top of the bar and shifted my weight so I could bounce my right heel. I had too much energy to sit.

“We could go dancing,” Shelley offered. She’d been my best friend since birth, when our dads took us to play dates together, and knew my moods better than anyone else.

I shrugged and cast another quick glance in his direction. She followed my gaze, then raised her eyebrows. Didn’t say anything, just took a drink of beer and carefully wiped her mouth after. The understanding between us went both ways. I knew what she was thinking, and she was absolutely right. I didn’t hook up with strangers. I didn’t have much time to date. Anytime I wanted uncomplicated sex—which I frequently did—one of my friends was up for it, too. We were a casual, open bunch.

Shelley glanced at him again and nudged me. I stepped to the side, sure she wanted me to make room for Erica—one of her partners. Trace, the other one, was at work—to join us, but she only nudged me again, harder.

Oh. It was a go get him, tiger nudge.

“He’s hot, Aisha. Go for it.”

I drained my water and looked over again. This time he looked at me, too, and our eyes locked. His corner was so shadowed I couldn’t tell what color his were.

It gave me an excuse to take a closer look.

I took my time crossing the room. I thought it was clear I was headed his way, and I wanted to give him time to give me a signal he didn’t want company. Plus, people kept stopping me to talk.

He was still in place when I got away from the others. A hopeful sign, but there was no guarantee he knew I’d been giving him an out.

“Want some company?” I put my hand on the back of an empty chair, but didn’t pull it away from the table.

He stared at me for a second. I didn’t mind. It gave me a chance to look at him. Up close, he was golden—the long hair in varying shades of blond, the beard and the scruff across his cheeks, and the way the dim light played off his skin—as if he’d been dipped in honey. ost striking of all were his eyes, golden-brown but strangely lit from within, like a candle behind stained glass.

He breathed in through his nose, then nudged the chair toward me. I pushed it closer to the wall and sat sideways in it, one arm looped over the back.

“Werewolf?” he asked. It took me a second, frowning, before I got it, and heat rushed to my cheeks. Probably he wouldn’t be able to tell in the low light. I touched the pointed ears sticking up from my twists. Shelley had made them out of soft black fur only slightly darker than my skin. It didn’t look like wolf, but most people couldn’t tell.

“The Big Bad Wolf.” I grinned and pointed out Shelley. “My best friend is Little Red Riding Hood. There’s a woodcutter around somewhere, too.” I half rose and angled my body so I could shake my ass at him. “Even got the tail. Sexy, huh?”

He chuckled and grinned. It flashed a deep dimple on the right side of his face and teeth that were crooked and sharp. “Very.” I wanted him to speak more. His voice was deep and slightly growly, but it had a hint of an accent, and I couldn’t yet place it.

“What’s your name?”

“Finn. Yours?”

Didn’t he ever use more than one-word sentences? “Aisha. You’re new around here.”

“That obvious?”

Okay. Two words. His reticence wasn’t horrible, though. I didn’t want that lush mouth of his for conversation.

“It’s a local bar. There are plenty closer to the highway. That’s where people stop if they’re passing through and where the college kids go.”

“I noticed. Too crowded for me.”

“So you made it all the way out to this little hole in the wall. Lucky me.”

He scratched the stubble on his cheek. “Want something to drink?”

“Water with lemon. I want to be sober for this.” I flashed him another smile and was inordinately pleased when he grinned back. I bit the inside of my lower lip to keep my joy from bubbling up. It was just a smile. I hadn’t caught him yet.

I made sure to watch him carefully. He might have been hot, and his jeans fit close to nice thighs and a firm butt, but he was still a stranger. Better safe than sorry when it came to drugged drinks. Shelley was watching us, and she stood next to him when he ordered. I trusted her to keep an eye on my drink. She stopped him when he turned away from the bar, all bouncy blonde ex-cheerleader, grinning and tossing her curls and ruffling her skirt at him. I looked good as a modern Big Bad Wolf, leather pants and boots and a distressed gray wrap shirt with a forest of pine trees trailing down the side—another of Shelley’s handmade items, she was so artistic it sometimes made me sick—but she was absolutely gorgeous in her black leather skirt and her tiny red hooded T-shirt. It showed off the shiny jewel in her belly button.

I’d left my truck a couple blocks away at the start of the night, pretty close to the last few bars on our list. There were streetlights, but all my windows were tinted, the back doors limo dark. I hit the unlock button on my keychain, but before I could open the door, Finn pushed me against it and put his mouth on my throat.

He ran his hands up my sides, under my shirt, until his thumbs brushed the bottom of my bra. My nipples tightened still further from the mix of his touch and the cold air. I hooked a leg around his calf and urged him closer, up between my thighs.

His hair was rough and thick around my hand. I palmed the back of his head and forced his face up. His mouth was open, his breath heavy, and I brushed my lips against his once, twice, before kissing him deeply.

He tasted like lime and beer. He shoved my bra up and strummed his thumbs across my nipples, catching my moan and swallowing it. Swallowing me. I rocked my hips forward, rubbing against his thigh. My bra was tight against the top of my chest, constricting the blood flow, and my breasts tingled.

Finn kissed the corner of my mouth, the edge of my jaw, the curve of my shoulder, and then licked the hollow of my throat. His tongue traced designs on my skin. I tilted my head back, gasping for air, and my breath hung in a white cloud overhead, melting away slowly. I tugged hard on his hair. He groaned and pulled against my grip, but I knew that sound, that movement. He wasn’t trying to get away. I fisted my hand and twisted it in his hair, giving myself a much better grip, then pulled again, hard and steady, moving him where I wanted him to go.

“I want to see you naked,” I ordered and reached behind me to open the door. I shoved him inside, scrambled in after him, and locked the doors behind me, trapping us.

Publications…Vote for “Hunter, Prey” for Circlet Press’s Best of Circlet’s Digital Library Print Anthology

Vote for “Hunter, Prey”

Circlet Press is celebrating its twentieth anniversary of “celebrating the erotic imagination,” which is a damn fine thing to celebrate. As a part of the celebration, Circlet is releasing a print anthology of the Best of Circlet’s Digital Library. The editors have shortlisted stories from Circlet’s ebooks, and now readers get to vote on their favorites for inclusion in the print anthology and some monetary prizes.

My story “Hunter, Prey” was shortlisted! Originally published in Like Tooth and Claw, “Hunter, Prey” is the story of Aisha, a black woman in her thirties who loves to hunt, both animals and sexual partners. Her Halloween fling with the strange and sexy Finn becomes something much more when she’s attacked by a mountain lion while deer hunting in the wilds of Missouri and suddenly she’s faced with a whole new meaning for the word hunter — and the word prey.

Asylumgirl at Night Owl Reviews had this to say about “Hunter, Prey”: The attraction between the characters is immediate and something that the reader can feel and be a part of. The sex is hot and rough, with bites and bruises to go around. Hunter, Prey is an excellent example of shapeshifter romance, full of raw animalistic eroticism.

I love kinky, dominant Aisha and golden big cat Finn, and am absolutely honored that “Hunter, Prey” was shortlisted, particularly because I did receive some negative feedback about it because Aisha was a dominant woman and Finn willingly submits to her. I normally try to take what I can from negative feedback to improve and don’t let it bother me, but since the core of some of this feedback was simply that women shouldn’t be dominant, it got to me, a little. Being shortlisted like this reminded me that not everyone feels that way. (I talked about this in more depth here.)

I would really appreciate your vote for “Hunter, Prey” if you enjoyed reading it. Other stories I particularly recommend include “A Woman of Uncommon Accomplishment” by Elizabeth Reeve, the story I love despite disliking Austen, and “The Dancer’s War” by N.K. Jemisin, which is breathtakingly hot and made me want to dance.

Vote for “Hunter, Prey”

Publications…Review of Daughters of Artemis and Bonus Link

Well, Month of Thanksgiving ended up being very sporadic, but maybe next year I will be able to post daily. I still haven’t decided what I want to do to celebrate the December holidays; obviously from Month of the Werewolf and Month of Thanksgiving, daily posting is not going to work for me right now (the day job has been super hectic lately). Maybe I will try a couple stories instead.

But first, here is a fun review of Daughters of Artemis, which contains my story “The Fullness That Love Began.”

Over at Lamba Literary, Sinclair Sexsmith included Daughters of Artemis in Cliterotica Fall 2011: Storm Moon Press is a relatively new publisher, and one of their first anthologies is the lesbian werewolf collection Daughters of Artemis. The beastly nature of these stories surprised me, and when I got deep into the characters and plots I felt a connection to my own animal nature. Lesbian sex can certainly bring out the lusty, raw animal, and this collection pulled deeply on those tropes. Though we usually see werewolves as alpha males, there are plenty of alpha females out there and many have just as much command and demand.

And the Bonus. Despite the fact that I frequent Werewolves.com, I missed this post about upcoming werewolf books that includes Daughters of Artemis. It made me grin to see it.

Site…Search Terms (Month of Thanksgiving Day 7)

(Month of Thanksgiving is exactly what it sounds like: a [hopefully] daily dose of the things for which I give thanks during the month of November.)

Today I am thankful for ease of access to site statistics. (I’ve used Dreamhost for years, and am really pleased with the service and the tools I have access to through them.) Sometimes, as with most website owners, I take a look at the search terms that send people to the website. Frequently they make me grin, and today I thought I would share them with you all.

marie carlson: Fitting, obviously.
blood moon werewolf mask: The new werewolf western?
dominant woman submissive man (and variations): Fitting in a certain way. I do write a lot of dominant women.
female werewolf tf: I found this delightful animation when performing this search myself.
wolves and werewolves pack a.d: I featured this song in a couple of the Music Mondays posts. It’s a gorgeous song.
authors who write about submissive men: I write more about dominant women, but I hope you all found what you wanted.
dont fear the reaper artist in the howling reborn: Like I said in a Werewolf Wednesday post, I think it is the Gus cover, but I don’t know for sure. Can anyone confirm that?

Delightful search terms this time around.

Publications…DAUGHTERS OF ARTEMIS release day; Contest Winner

Purchase “The Fullness That Love Began” in DAUGHTERS OF ARTEMIS today.

The contest winner from my pre-publication DAUGHTERS OF ARTEMIS contest is Eliza Reeve! Eliza, obviously I have your contact info and I know you pre-ordered DAUGHTERS OF ARTEMIS, but let me know your bookstore preference and I’ll get that gift card to you.

Yesterday, August 26, was release day for DAUGHTERS OF ARTEMIS from Storm Moon Press, which contains my short story “The Fullness That Love Began.” DAUGHTERS OF ARTEMIS is available as an ebook or print (though there’s a bit of a delay on the print version due to printing issues), and is an anthology about strong werewolf women and the women who love them.

“The Fullness That Love Began” is a special story for me and has had a twisty path to publication, and I am so glad it is now available.

Blurb: Werewolf lore has long been dominated by tales of the strong alpha male, but what of the strong alpha females? The Storm Moon Press anthology Daughters of Artemis explores this mostly neglected aspect of the werewolf mythos, with an erotic twist.

Bounty hunter Toni McGowan has faced supernatural beasts that would send most running, but her latest assignment may be the toughest yet—playing babysitter to a New Ager wannabe. Jade Nicols, though, has a few secrets of her own, the darkest of which may just get them both killed.

Luna Rivers isn’t the most graceful of people at the best of times, and being stalked by shadowy figures and prowling wolves hardly qualifies. But after being rescued by the beautiful and sensual Syrene, Luna learns that there is more to herself than she’d ever suspected. She’s a werewolf, too, and in a whole new world of danger.

Andrea—Andy to most—is a pack leader in the forests of Washington state. Poaching in a nearby pack’s territory throws suspicion on Andy’s leadership. In order to find the truth, Andy and her mate Fiona find themselves forced into an uneasy alliance with Rafael, the other pack’s alpha.

Susan Runningwind is forty-five, but already strong enough to have earned a seat among her pack’s elders. Jesse Westfield is a documentary filmmaker investigating the so-called “Werewolves of South Dakota”. But when Jesse begins to get too close to the truth, Susan must make a choice between her pack’s welfare, and the growing attraction she feels to the younger woman.

Sasha is the first female in the kingdom of the shapeshifting House of Wood to be granted leadership of her own pack. The transition is hardly smooth, however, and Sasha winds up at odds with Aneira, her mate. Failure to maintain control of her pack would mean demotion and shame, but doing what she knows she must could drive Aneira away forever.

When werewolf Katya captures blind weretiger Yun alone in the wilderness, she sees only an opportunity to finally end the raging conflict between their two peoples. Yun remains loyal to the tigers, though, and as time passes, Katya finds herself less and less inclined to force the information from her. But when the fight comes to them, both will see their loyalties tested in the crucible of battle.

Purchase “The Fullness That Love Began” in DAUGHTERS OF ARTEMIS today.

Monday Musings…What Won’t You Write?

A couple different things came together to inspire this post.

First, Eliza Reeve and I talked about her accidental prophecies; as she mentions here, first she said she would never write werewolves, then she wrote “Lunacy”, which is an excellent story you read; then she said she would never write vampires, and now she has a couple stories out with publishers; and just last month she said she’d never write a historical romance, but Circlet Press just put out a call for subs, Sense and Sensuality, which looks like a lot of fun.

So that’s been on my mind, the idea that once you say you will never write something, you end up taking back that proclamation in the future.

I’ve run into that with kink, as well, and then I read Squick City, a post by Lisabet Sarai that talks about what lines authors draw when writing kinky stories.

The combination of these two things makes me a little leery about talking about what I won’t write, because what if I end up like Eliza? However, the things I won’t write are generally things I also won’t do, kink-wise at least, and I’m pretty confident of my hard lines when it comes to kink.

So here are some of the things which make me invoke Your Kink is Okay, It’s Just Not My Kink: golden showers, scat play, age play, foot worship, necrophilia (though, I do write vampires, so this is a bit of a gray area, technically), bestiality (despite writing werewolves and shapeshifters, so I’m sure this is a bit of a gray area too, technically).

Not a lot, really, though I’m sure there’s more I’m just not thinking of right now.

But that doesn’t include everything I don’t write, because some things I am just not interested in. I don’t write dominant men with submissive women. I don’t often write m/m, though I love a good m/m/f threesome. I don’t write supernatural men and human women, because I’m more interested in stories where the women are supernatural. (“Hunter, Prey” is a bit of an exception, because Aisha is human at the start of the story.) I probably will never write about mummies. (I think.)

Some things I don’t write are kinks my partners left me with. (Anti-kinks, sort of, though that sounds more negative than I want to be for some of them.) I don’t write non-con, though I might write a negotiated and consensual non-con scene within a kinky relationship. (I haven’t, but I might.) I don’t write water play, in that there is a threat for drowning or being stuck in the water or anything that might involve water and being out of control around it because one of my partners is terrified of water and I made sure to edit any such things out of my stories. I am careful when I write about candle and wax play, because of some bad experiences my partner told me about. Etc.

Hilariously, I wrote “I don’t write contemporary romances (though this is a place I think will likely change; however, I am more interested in paranormal romances, so I stick with them right now).” but it’s not true. I just sold a contemporary erotica piece, at least, but it’s so very much not what I’m used to writing it automatically made the list of things I don’t write.

So these things change and one person’s kink is not someone else’s kink and we all have things we do or don’t write and things we say we won’t write but then end up writing. What are yours?

Writing…Dominant Women, Submissive Men (for Hack Gender)

At one point, I saw a review of Like Tooth and Claw that was pretty negative overall. I’m not linking to the review because the review itself isn’t the point. People should be encouraged to leave honest reviews without feeling like the author will come and yell at them for writing a negative review. However, the review did make me think. When I saw Hack Gender start appearing on Twitter, I decided to finally put down some of my thoughts.

The part of the review that stood out for me was when the reviewer basically said zie couldn’t identify with the characters of my story, “Hunter, Prey,” because the woman was dominant and topped the man and the man was willing to be dominated.

I’ve run into this before, both as a writer but also as a kinky woman, especially as a kinky queer woman who is considered dominant. (Theoretically, I’m a switch, but there are very few people for whom I bottom [so far, exactly one], and I am far more likely to be the top when participating in the kinky community.) When people discuss kink — whether they themselves are kinky or are simply analyzing it from outside — most of the time they assume dominant man and submissive woman.

That is not my kink.

One reason it’s not my kink is that a lot of the time, there is no man involved in my kink. Most of the people I played with were women and they were either bottoms or switches who bottomed for me. And yes, I think there is something beautiful about the women writhing in pleasure-pain.

There is something beautiful about men in the same situation.

But this isn’t about my kink. It’s not about your kink. It’s about the assumptions of people — here, readers, but I think this applies in other situations as well — when addressing something considered unusual. A dominant woman and a man happy to be dominated.

I intentionally wrote Aisha to address some of the things which bother me about paranormal romance — and romance in general. Aisha isn’t a virginal slender young white woman. Aisha has a lot of sex without being in a relationship, she is in her thirties, she is fat, she is black, and she owns a construction company and fights to hold her own space in a very masculine field. At the beginning of the story, Aisha picks up Finn — a stranger — in a bar for an uncomplicated one night stand. (Finn later complicates it.)

She is hard to identify with because she dominates her romantic partner in the story.

Women are not supposed to be dominant. Women are supposed to be taken, not to do the taking themselves. Women are not supposed to go after what they want, and they are certainly not supposed to get off on holding power in a sexual situation. They are not supposed to enjoy denying their partner’s orgasm, especially when the partner is male. They are not supposed to enjoy tying up their partners and beating them.

Women are not supposed to have power, and if they do have power they are certainly not supposed to enjoy it.

This is bullshit.

Edited to Add: It has come to my attention that at the end of this post, it may not be clear that I am expressing anger via sarcastic commentary on what people have told me about women and sexuality. I am a dominant woman who enjoys power and sex and fully support dominant women who enjoy power and sex. I apologize for not saying this clearly.