Never Give Up

I think that about two years ago, I almost gave up writing. I’d been building some momentum publishing short works that satellite around a novel I was working on.  Keep in mind this isn’t the first novel I’d written. I have about four of them under my bed, finished and not good enough to publish.  In any event, I pressed on in the spring of 2014 to publish Dragon Guardian.  I won’t say it fell flat, but I didn’t get the sales I’d been hoping for with the amount of work I’d put into the piece.  Enter discouragement.

I really needed an income stream to help with family finances. I’d published my first work through Rebel Ink Press back in 2011.  I had invested considerable time and concentrated effort into writing professionally. Naturally, I counted the beginning years from 2007 until 2011 as amateur hour, dabble dabble, poke poke.  But after being published with my first short work “The Galloping Ghoul of Hockomock Swamp” I put my shoulder to the wheel so to speak and dug in. By 2014 I ached for a big break and I suppose subconsciously placed that hope in Dragon Guardian.

I never expected to be a person influenced by the negativity of others.  However, just like a ball in a grand game of billiards, a little tick at just the right time can change the course of momentum. That little tick presented itself in the form of harsh criticism from an aging Aunt-in-Law who out of the blue contacted me on FB.  It went something like this. ‘I see you are an author.  My friend Suzy Q is an author too.  She is wonderful. She writes such brilliant stories.  She is quite a success. Why don’t you use your talent to write wonderful brilliant stories like Suzy Q instead of such smutty trash.’ I didn’t quote it because that isn’t exactly what she said but it is pretty close to what I heard. Any other time I could have blew it off.  But looking back, I think her words festered in that pocket of discouragement.

Those voices that were the mainstay of my creative muse.  The voices I’d always heard went away.  Stories in my mind I thought I would never lose were gone. It was just all too hard, too much effort for what? nothing really. My life was more stable and happier than it has been for….I don’t know 30 years or more. Yet, I couldn’t write a word. Paralyzed by something that I logically knew better than to hear and give purchase too.

Eden Glenn was lost and no one really knew. No one noticed. Which in turn my negative mind set turned into…No one really cared. Yet, life went on happily. I have a wonderful spouse. Grandchildren have been born that I embraced with joyousness. I had a heart attack that was quite a life changer. We bought a new home and did a massive remodel project, can we say gut job? Work opportunities shuffled and have settled into something that I love. Entrepreneurship has blossomed in terms of divergent businesses in property management and Essential Oil Education. My Narration contracts continued rolling in. Success on every measure but one. No one really knew, no one really noticed that Eden Glenn has gone into hiding.

And then spring arrived early. Two weeks ago, I started writing again. The whispers are returning. The psychologist in me wants to know why. Maybe the author in me is frightened they will retreat again and the creativity will be lost.I think I’ve found more balance and realism as an author and indeed as a person through the experience.

I think the answer is connection.

I actually think Eden Glenn is back because a couple of dear cherished people, I won’t embarrass by naming, went looking for her and took the time to say. We miss you. You are brilliant. I miss your fantastic stories of adventure and sexy romance. You will write more won’t you?

You never know what influence you will have in the smallest way with a kind word or a moment of attention.  Thank you.Cherry blossoms

Today, I’m a Professional Author, again…still

Today, I’m a Professional Author, again…still.

What does that really mean to be professional versus a person who writes and says they want to be an author. I think of all those people who dream of being published. Or not knowing what they need to do to improve, they’ve lost patience with the system and say heck I’ll just publish this myself. Their plan to wait until people say things in their reviews, to then edit it to make it better (Boy is that my pet peeve).

I really feel the difference today in a piercing way.  I’ve spend many years wanting to be an author. I’ve even been published, how many times…ten I think.  Is ten the magic number for this revealing reflection?

But today, and yesterday afternoon I took a work I been poking at for some time, one near and dear to my heart, and I completely gutted it, Hack and slash time.  Today I took a really close look at what was left and various directions the plot might go in. I will probably slash some more. Was it fun? No. Was it comfortable? NO. Was it easy? No NO NO! Was it right? Yes, Oh YES! It was very right.

The first story was fine, great story, perfectly acceptable with some editing, just the way it plotted out.  I could have let it go as it was. However, the first right answer isn’t always THE best answer. There was a better story hidden in there that I would have missed had I accepted what was comfortable, what was easy, what was fun.

It is like an artist working on a carving for years getting it just right.  Then one afternoon chisels it back to a square block of stone and starts over carving again to reveal what was there all along but she’d missed.

So, today I am a professional again, willing to do the hard work up front. So in a few months…someone will read this story and really want to take the journey with my characters. That maybe, just maybe they might feel something so deeply that they are changed.

New Logo, Like it? Love it? Blah?

I’ve been well distracted lately by the need to bring in a steady income.  I’ve worked over the past several months and now am getting organized for a bit of housekeeping and fall project completion.  Just for kicks and giggles I’m checking out a potential logo.  What do you think? Eden Glenn Logo cropped

Author Spotlight – Charlee Allden

It is my joy to welcome Charlee Allden to the blog today. Charlee and I have had a critique partnership since way back.  Her voice is unique and fresh. It thrills me to no end to have her here today to talk about her current release, “Deadly Lover”. Show her some love.

From the Author:

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I’m Charlee and I love books and the people who write and read them. Books are a special safe-place where I can play and find myself and invite others to join me. I’ve been writing forever and studying the craft of writing intensely for the last ten years.

I’ve won a few awards and sold a few books, but what I really care about is sharing stories that connect with readers like you. If you’ve read one of my books, I would love to hear from you. That’s the only way I’ll know if I’m reaching that all important goal. And maybe you can share with me a little about your world.

Author Website: www.charleeallden
@CharleeAllden, https://www.facebook.com/CharleeAlldenAuthor
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13709679.Charlee_Allden

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Deadly Lover By Charlee Allden

Love can get you killed.

Security contractor Lily Rowan is clawing her way back to normalcy after a training mission gone horrifically wrong left her physically and emotionally broken. She’s returned to the city she grew up in, but not to hide from her nightmares, to face them. Living alongside the Ormney—genetically altered refugees who’ve settled in The Zone—is a daily reminder of the Ormney trainee who nearly took her life. Lily knew it would be tough, but she couldn’t have known coming home would drop her straight into a madman’s deadly game.

Someone is drugging Ormney men and turning them into mindless killers, reenacting the attack Lily barely survived. To stop the killing spree and put her own demons behind her, Lily must overcome her fear and work with Jolaj, a refugee Law Keeper with dangerous secrets and hidden motives of his own.

Jolaj long ago dedicated his life to his people, risking everything to find them a new home. But working with Lily could prove to be the most difficult task he’s ever faced. Despite the Council’s decree making relationships with the outsiders forbidden, he’s finding it hard to keep the courageous Lily at a distance.

With the fragile peace between their people on the line, Lily and Jolaj must stop the horrific crimes before their growing attraction makes them the killer’s next targets.

In the near future, the world is forever altered when the existence of the Ormney is made known. But two things remain the same—serial killers still walk among us and murder is still as ugly and terrifying as ever.

DeadlyLoverG450

 

I love her cover, don’t you?

Excerpt:

“He crouched in front of her chair, so she no longer had to look up to meet his eyes. His big, clawed hands pressed against his thighs as he found his balance and settled there like an immovable boulder. “I didn’t know you were the one involved until tonight. When Detective O’Leary told me you’d alerted him to the toxin in the claw wounds as well as the possibility that Lanyak had been drugged, I knew of only one way you could have such knowledge.” His eyes searched her face. The pupils had gone a wider, making his eyes look more human. “You still carry the scars.”

He hovered on the razor-thin line between threatening and soothing. His stance wasn’t overtly aggressive. His expression seemed almost tender and protective. In a lesser man his position might even be vulnerable, balanced on the balls of his feet. Thighs slightly apart, leaving his body open. She still had the blade in one hand.

But he was anything but defenseless. He was solid, agile, confident, and very male. His stance conveyed that maleness in a potent way and reminded her she was female. That his masculine strength was there, available, calling her to move closer and be sheltered.

God, she was losing it.”

 

EG:  Now available at Amazon

I can’t say enough good things about this story, it has it all! Love, dynamic hero/heroine chemistry, excitement, adventure, serial killer. It is a must read!

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I asked Charlee three questions to get to know her better. I think we can all relate to her answers.

Q&A

1 Tell us briefly about your writing journey. What led you to writing? 

Like most kids, I loved nursery rhymes. I loved the rhythm and the humor. When I learned that my Granny wrote the poems she liked to recite, I was fascinated. An ordinary person could actually “write” their own poems! By the time I got to high school my poetry was earning me awards, but I strongly believed I would never write anything longer than a short story. I just couldn’t conceive of it. I mean, how can you keep track of all of that in your head? LOL. Now I happily write 100,000 word novels. Never say never!

2 Tell us something people don’t know about you.

People are always stunned when I tell them that in 4th grade I read so slowly that I couldn’t pass the reading comprehension placement tests at my school. I was put in a remedial class. It’s true! And, surprisingly, it was a fun class. Don’t hate me, but I think diagramming sentences is super fun!

3 How do you build your fictional world?

I love playing the what if game. I like to pick something simple, the idea that people might know their world was dying, and start asking questions. How would that knowledge change people? What would become important to them? What sort of religion or culture would develop? In Deadly Lover I came to the conclusion that the Ormney would be so focused on survival that their culture would change from one that honored elders and their ancestors to one that valued children and descendants. Of course, answering a questions always leads t more questions.

 

Audio Books in Production

Hello there readers. I’ve been exploring the adventures in audio book  production. Two of my shorter titles are in the hopper and should be for sale soon.

BeverlysSecret_Coversmall

J.R. Lowe narrated “Beverly’s Secret” and “Emma’s New Year”. I hope to have buy links later this week for those titles.

I’m not sure how I feel about audio books in general. Do you readers listen to them? Are Audio Books the next rage? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Emma's New Year-fixed

The Best of 2014

Rebel Ink Press has awarded me the honor of “Best of 2014”. I am so very honored and excited to be chosen for this award.

Best of RIP 2014

My relationship started with Rebel Ink Press in 2011 when they took a chance of me for an anthology submission that later published as a stand alone.

My Publication history with them has been as follows:

2011 The Galloping Ghoul of Hockomock Swamp in their editor pick anthology “Once Upon A Twisted Tale”.

2012 “The Galloping Ghoul of Hockomock Swamp” stand alone release and “Raynia’s Magic”
2013 “Beverly’s Secret“, “Phoenix Reborn“, “Dar’kind Promises” and “Dragon’s Unbound” (removed by Author in 2014 for re-writes and re-release as “Dragon Emergence” direct publication in 2015)
2014″Shifter’s Legacy” and “Emma’s New Year

 

The Series “The Amethyst Desire Collection” took shape with Vol 1 “Raynia’s Magic”,  Vol 2 “Beverly’s Secret,  Vol 3 “Phoenix Reborn”, Vol 4 “Shifter’s Legacy” and Vol 5 “Emma’s New Year”.

In particular “Beverly’s Secret” has continued to remain at the top of it’s genre classification at Amazon since it’s release in 2013, remaining in the top fifteen most of that time. All of these titles are Novellas and Novellettes. I am so pleased that RIP has continued to accept proposals and titles from me.  I love the staff at Rebel Ink Press and highly recommend them if you are looking for a publisher. I’m scoping our projects to submit to them in 2015 and look forward to our continued success.

And which are my two of my favorite covers created by Carl Franklin while he was working as a graphic artist at Rebel Ink Press? “The Galloping Ghoul” of course….and…..

GallopingGhoul_Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Beverly’s Secret”

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Happy New Year to All

I’ve been schlepping around for a couple of months now.  So many wonderful things happening in my personal life that I just haven’t keep all the plates spinning in my magic-act of all the people I must be.  Please forgive. I’m back to work now diligently editing and increasing the work that was published as “Dragon’s Unbound”. I pulled it back from my publisher quite some time ago when I discovered a couple of goofs that made it past my critique partner, my beta reader, my final review and my line editor at the publisher.  Who knew!~ lol

I’m also doing some pretty extensive edits and corrections to the time line errors that cropped up. I’m also fleshing out this novella a little bit now that Dragon Guardian is published and some more information has been revealed there that can come into play between Haydn and Rhys in their relationship.

I am hoping you will enjoy this M/M erotic romance from characters that first crossed the stage at the end of “Dar’kind Promises”. They’ve also been seen in “Dragon Guardian”.  Check out my “Home” page for covers, blurbs and links to my work.

The story will be re-released titled as “Dragon Emergence” with this new cover art by Carl Franklin  (Drakins of Wyrmarach logo courtesy of Hot Damn Designs of the Killian Group) I’ve been holding onto this cover for about 9 months now. Isn’t it amazing?

DragonEmergence_Cover 200 X 296DRAGON EMERGENCE

Haydn’s found refuge on the earth side of the barrier in the home of the healer, Isobeau. He denies himself comfort and pleasures offered by his freedom.

Rhys is immediately attracted to Haydn. He desires to help the younger man embrace his new life. Unfortunately, Haydn seems stuck, unable to grasp the happiness he craves. Rhys fears Haydn’s continued self-loathing will prevent any possibility of their future together. Drastic measures may be necessary to convince Haydn of his worth and Rhys’ unconditional love for him.

Events in their world are spinning out of control with the emergence of a human as Dragon Guardian. When they both discover they share a secret that may tear apart the leadership of their society, it will take a miracle to overcome the obstacles between them. Haydn must face the choice to remain trapped by his past or to let go and accept all Rhys offers.

Defending Love Release Day

It is my honor to have a Young-Adult short story selected for this year’s Rebel Writers Charity Project. “Rebel Ink Press presents our 2014 charitable project, Defending Love, a collection of short stories from the Rebel writers written to raise awareness regarding bullying and abuse.” Buy links are below. “For every copy sold, a charitable donation will be made to help nurture victims and families affected by abuse through the Everything Starts with 1 organization.”
Willow Ivy isn’t your typical teenager, or maybe she is, Gamer, artist, all around Geek Girl with two moms. Life would be great if it wasn’t for Trudy Voorhees and her minions. After the suicide of Israel Schwartz, Willow draws on inspiration for a creative way to instigate change in her school’s bully culture.

Defending Love

47143882014 Rebel Writers Charity Project

Bully and abuse have plagued our society since time began, eroding self-esteem and creating power vacuums within our schools, workplaces and relationships.  Experts estimate that bullying and less physical forms of abuse have become so commonplace; most of us don’t even recognize the more common forms of abuse even as they’re occurring all around us.

At Rebel Ink Press, we believe writing has the power to heal.  We see words as a way to share our hurts, dream of brighter tomorrows and fellowship with others.  It’s our sincere hope that our stories encourage readers to journey through this world with open eyes and open hearts toward their fellow man.  Everything starts with one and builds, which means we are stronger together than we can ever be apart.

Rebel Ink Press presents our 2014 charitable project, Defending Love, a collection of short stories from how many Rebel writers written to raise awareness regarding bullying and abuse. For every copy sold, a charitable donation will be made to help nurture victims and families affected by abuse through the Everything Starts with 1 organization.

AMAZON Buy LINK

Thank you for your purchase. By opening your eyes to the signs of abuse and bullying, it’s our sincere hope you’ll find the way to help ease another’s suffering.

A Gift for My Readers

Thank you for your support throughout my writing career. I now have ten novellas, novels or novelletts published. They range from historic M/M erotic romance to Contemporary to Paranormal M/F erotic romance and many things inbetween. Actually in the menage stories there is quite a bit “in-between” LOL.

When Dragon Guardian (M/F/M Paranormal Erotic Romance) released last spring, readers were fascinated with Kiernan Walker. I’ve written a 9K+ free read to tell you a little more about this mysterious dragon shifter.  You can download the story free by following the link on my books purchase page, hidden under the title.

It’s my way of giving something a little extra to my faithful readers.

DragonBetrayal_LargeResCover (3)A  new story from the Drakins of Wyrmarach.

M/F Erotic Paranormal Romance

Kiernan Walker couldn’t seem to get the black haired healer, Isobeau Monroe out of his thoughts. E-sa-bow he’d whispered her name, let her feel his need.

Now he was in the service of the Enforcers, the mates of the rising Dragon Guardian. Everyone is in danger. He can’t break the control the enemy has over him.  A healing journey takes him back to revisit the past that set him on this path of self destruction.  What will be the ultimate Dragon Betrayal?

Author Spotlight on the Writing Duo of E.L. Blaisdell and Nica Curt

I’ve been fascinated about the process of collaborating with another author to produce a novel.  It’s hard enough to make sense out of what is in MY head much less if I had to do that in concert with another author. LOL.  Today my guests have managed to make collaboration work brilliantly. So I had to ask them a couple of pointed questions to figure out their secrets.

Welcome! E.L. Blaisdell and Nica Curt

Eden: What led each of you to choose to write a work in collaboration with another author?

Nica: There isn’t a nice way to word this, so I’ll just say it: I forced Eliza to do this.

EL: Blackmail is a great motivator.

Nica: But on a serious note, the idea of Drained and us writing together was always something we joked about––something we both said we’d do one day, but I don’t think we ever thought that it would actually happen. It was years ago when I approached Eliza with a screenplay I’d titled Drained. It was the same concept as our finished novel, but originally it was presented as scripts that I’d sent to a select few people. It was she who suggested that it be turned into a book.

EL: I never planned on writing a novel with someone else; writers and historians usually work alone. But when I read the pilot episode to Nica’s screenplay, I was really excited about the characters and the world and the rules she had created. She kept writing more episodes and I kept reading, and we decided that once I had a break in my own writing, we should collaborate and turn those scripts into a novel. Ironically, a lot of material from the original scripts ended up on the cutting-room floor, but the heart of the story remained the same.

Eden: What was the hardest thing about that process?

EL: For me, the hardest thing about collaborating is to be the co-captain of a ship. When I started working on Drained, I already had a number of novels under my belt. This meant I also had a pretty good idea of my writing process and how I work most efficiently and effectively. A lot of that goes out the window, however, when you’ve got another author (wo)manning the ship. It requires a lot of patience and a lot of compromise, neither of which I feel are my strengths.

Nica: The hardest part was keeping up with my co-captain. Unlike her, I’m not a writing machine nor am I an established author. Collaborating with someone who I consider a speedy pantser forced me to let go of plotting so that I could kick my writing into gear. Because of the partnership and my responsibility to do a fair share of the work, I had the goal of keeping up. Ultimately, the hardest thing about the process helped me grow as a writer.

 Eden: What was the process working together…kinda who did what and how did you decide on that?

Nica: First, we brainstormed until there was an outline of this story and the series in place. We also recognized each other’s strengths and weaknesses and used that to decide who would take care of what in the project.

EL: Nica’s strength is in world building and plotting, and my strength is churning out mountains of words. Apparently this is called a “pantser,” although I don’t know how I feel about that name.

Nica: I made sure we had important things like character development and plot twists, and Eliza made sure we wrote down words and strung sentences together to form paragraphs. Together, our different writing processes played the perfect complement.

Eden: What was the easiest part of doing a collaborative work?

EL: We have a very similar writing style and author voice, so making the novel read like one cohesive voice rather than two people trying to tell the same story was much easier than if we had vastly different styles.

Nica: Finding our process to write together. We wrote most of the book in real-time on Google Docs, which meant live corrections, comments, and suggestions. We created a color coding system that distinguished who wrote what and that allowed us to comment and provide feedback. This made it easy for the other person to understand what was going on in every scene, which was helpful when we couldn’t write at the same time.

Eden: What advice would you give to someone considering working with another author?

EL: Know that there’s going to be conflict in doing a collaboration. You’re not going to agree with each other one hundred percent of the time. But always remember that your friendship is infinitely more important than the end product.

Nica: Get to know your writing partner before you commit to anything. Learn their style, know their personality, and have a friendship. This might sound like dating advice, but you are going to be sharing the responsibilities of writing, marketing, and finances with this person.

 Eden: Anything you’d like to add?

EL: Even though collaborating has its challenges, I’ve discovered a real value to it. Every weekday morning, I hand my partner a travel mug of coffee and wave goodbye as she pulls down the driveway and heads off to her proper office in cubicle land with her proper co-workers. Then, I pour myself a cup of coffee and pad into my home office where my co-workers are a cat and a turtle.

Let’s be honest: writing can be lonely. The #amwriting hashtag on Twitter is just one example of authors’ attempts to create community and make human connections throughout the workday. It says you are not alone. When you have a collaborator—like I have with Nica—it provides you with a co-worker that you can bounce ideas off of, but probably more important to my sanity, you have a friend who shares the unique challenges and rewards that come from being a writer.

Nica: The writing process is isolating and we, as writers, do it to ourselves so we can focus. We each go through our own routines in hopes of getting our muse going so that we’re not staring at a blank page all day long. Usually, our daily routine involves a cup of tea or coffee, a quiet room, a laptop, and a playlist we’ve spent a couple hours too many being distracted on. Social human interactions come in the form of the occasional telemarketing call, emails, tweets, and comments.

Collaborating with someone who you trust and is a friend gives you an outlet to discuss ideas, and you know that the other person is as invested in the story as you. Your co-writer isn’t an unwilling party being forced to listen to your ramblings; no, they are there because they want to be.

Eden:  Ladies thank you for sharing with me today. I’m quite thrilled with your team work approach to writing. I wish you continued success!

Now join me for a sneak peek into….

Drained: The Lucid

Cover

blurb:

On the surface, Riley Carter had it all: amazing friends, a job she loved, a promising new girlfriend, and immortality. As an ambitious succubus working for Trusics, Inc., her life should have been simple. Nightly visits to the dream realm as the guest star in human fantasies afforded her the sexual energy required for survival. Provided she met her employer’s monthly quotas, she would continue to enjoy the extravagant spoils of eternal youth. Life was pleasure for pleasure—until it wasn’t.

 

Now in her seventh decade, Riley finds her life lacking, especially when she encounters a lucid dreamer. Armed with an analytic pragmatism as dangerous as any weapon, this new dreamer has Riley questioning the purpose of her existence.

 

Humor, romance, and intrigue meet in Drained, the search for the perfect life in an imperfect system.

 

Book excerpt:

 

Riley’s eyes narrowed as she observed the woman before her. She shook her head as if to ward off some of the more outlandish remarks she had for that question. Nothing had ever prepared her for the situation. A lucid dreamer with the ability to resist charm and cause physical harm was not a scenario most entertained.

 

She considered the question. “Well, I couldn’t visit you if you hadn’t given me permission.”

 

“I don’t recall ever agreeing to this,” Morgan countered.

 

Riley bit her tongue. She couldn’t tell her any more details without revealing the true nature of her job or Trusics. A million questions plagued her mind, but she settled on one. “How are you capable of asking these questions?” she inquired. “This is your dream, your fantasy. We’re supposed to be gettin’ it on, doin’ the deed … you’re supposed to be getting lucky.” Her words were almost rhetorical. “Something mindless, fun, and sex related.”

 

“Don’t your other victims talk?”

 

“Mostly groans, the names of deities, and many unintelligible words, but they don’t ask real questions.” Riley frowned as a particular word sunk in. “And they’re not victims.”

 

“With romantic charm like that,” Morgan shot back, “how could anyone resist?”

 

Riley fiddled with the watch clasped around her wrist. “I can’t believe I’m doing this, but give me a chance. I’m not that bad in bed. In fact, I’ve been told I’m rather good at it.”

 

Morgan rolled her eyes. “Everyone thinks they’re a good lover.”

 

The succubus hummed. “At least I can rule out a fantasy where you’d like for someone to beg to sleep with you.”

 

“I would have thought my greeting last time would have been enough to keep you away.” Morgan’s eyes narrowed. “Your kind never stops do they?”

 

Riley flashed a dimpled grin. “You mean the sexy, sensitive, playful, be-whatever-you-want-me-to-be kind?”

 

“Horndogs,” Morgan said under her breath. “All of you. Guys. Girls. All the same.”

 

“What do you mean ‘all of you?’”

 

“Don’t play dumb,” Morgan said, shaking her head. “I mean demons.”

 

“There you go again, casually throwing the word ‘demon’ around.” Riley blinked, offended and a bit dumbfounded. “That’s where you’re wrong.”

 

“So you’re not a demon trying to drain my sexual energy until I become a lifeless corpse?”

 

“Well …” Riley hesitated. “I am, but not the corpse part, and not the demon bit either. I’m a hundred percent human … ish.” As the words continued to escape her mouth, Riley inwardly cringed at how she must have sounded to the other woman. “It’s not like I have horns and a tail.”

 

“Well, invading people’s dreams and stealing their energy seems pretty demon-ish to me,” Morgan countered stubbornly.

 

“When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound great,” Riley admitted, her voice tapering.

 

Morgan spread her hands. “So put it in a good light then.”

 

“Um.” Riley’s brain spun and churned. “That’s not the point.”

 

“Right …”

 

“Jesus Christ.” Riley shook her head in frustration. “Who are you, and how do you know what I am?”

 

“I’m Morgan. But you probably already knew that about me, demon,” she drawled the last word on purpose.

 

“You know, Morgan,” Riley mimicked the same tone, “for someone who went to an Ivy League school, you could sure use some more research before you start spouting nonsense.”

 

Morgan pursed her lips. “Hey, insulting me won’t get you any closer to this,” she noted, gesturing to her body.

 

At the suggestion, Riley took in the slender curves of Morgan’s silhouette. She’d been unable to appreciate her figure the first time she’d visited her in the realm, getting physically beaten and all. Riley swallowed down a primal impulse. A lithe waist and subtle flare of hips hid beneath an oversized grey cardigan that nearly touched the tops of her thighs. In spite of Morgan’s attractive physique, the clothes were all wrong: grey cardigan, pale lilac camisole, and black yoga tights. Most of Riley’s clients dressed in high-end labels or nothing at all. In comparison, the woman seemed dressed for a day in with a book, not a passionate tryst with an ideal lover.

 

Morgan snapped her fingers, pulling Riley out of her admiring stare.

 

“This is the most twisted fantasy I’ve ever been in,” Riley muttered to herself.

 

“You’re hardly my fantasy.”

 

Riley lifted a perfectly manicured eyebrow. “Oh really? How do you want me then?”

Her clothing morphed before the other woman’s eyes. Instead of her sheer babydoll, she now wore a short pleated skirt, white knee-high socks, and a tight blouse tied just beneath her pert breasts. “Maybe you’d prefer me sweet, innocent, and a little naïve? Perhaps I’m a student in need of help on an assignment.”

 

Riley took a cautionary step closer to her mark as her clothing shifted again. She knew she was wasting her energy, but the frustration had begun to cloud her mind. The more control a succubus had over a dream, the more energy it depleted. For more energy efficient sessions, a mark’s imagination had to do all the work. But without a little give, there wasn’t a take. And that take was more than worth the trouble if the experience exceeded expectations. Morgan had Riley’s interest, and it would be a lie to say that the challenge didn’t turn her on. Her schoolgirl outfit melted away and re-formed as a skintight, crimson, leather body suit. Loosened hair turned ten shades lighter as it pulled back into a high ponytail. A harsh zipper split the tight material between her breasts, revealing a startling amount of cleavage. The pants tapered down her long legs, and she stood confidently on four-inch black platforms.

 

“Or maybe you need me to whip some sense into you,” Riley purred. Her eyes narrowed, and she tapped a thin riding crop against the palm of her hand. “Maybe you’ve been pining for someone to tell you what to do. I think you need a break from always being in charge, always being the head of everything you do. Must be tiring.”

 

“Still not your type?” The red leather outfit shifted and fell away to reveal a black string bikini whose material barely contained her firm flesh. She wore leather straps around her ankles. Her taut hair fell out of its ponytail and blonde roots sprouted from her scalp until her entire thick mane was platinum in color. “Maybe all this hesitation is an act,” Riley continued as the distance between them closed. She shook her wrists and the metal bondage rings jangled. A small, black collar materialized around her neck, dangling from a shiny d-ring was the leash. “Maybe you’re always the take-charge type and you’d rather I not call the shots.” She batted her thick lashes. Her demeanor didn’t miss a beat; she could change her tempo as fast as the outfits.

 

Morgan looked visibly flustered. Riley wondered if she had unknowingly tapped into a secret fantasy, but assumed that woman’s academic, left-sided brain was working overtime from watching her transformations.

 

“How did you do that?” Morgan’s fingers grazed over the material of the leash. “It—it feels so real. I can practically smell the leather,” she thought out loud.

 

“It feels real, because it is real,” Riley replied. She watched Morgan’s hesitant touch, a mixture of fear and curiosity, continue down the lead.

 

“Can you change into another person?” Morgan asked. “Or can you just change your clothing and hair color?”

 

“Don’t you know?” Riley said smugly. She could only hope that her poker face would hold. But under the wandering eyes and examining touches, she felt insecure. She was a specimen under a microscope. “You seem to be the expert on what I am.”

 

Behind them on the stovetop, the teapot shrieked to life. Morgan blinked and shook her head. She turned her back on Riley and pulled the kettle from the gas burner. The shrill cry faded as the silver kettle cooled.

 

Morgan pulled a ceramic jar from a ceiling cabinet. “Would you like some tea?” she offered.

 

Riley stood stunned for a moment, and her outfit defaulted to her original babydoll. It wasn’t that she’d never been offered food or drink on an assignment before—although generally she was licking said food and drink off of someone’s body. She was stunned by the young woman’s ability to turn and control the situation. One minute she was hitting Riley with a baseball bat, the next she was offering the succubus hospitality.

 

“Not that I’m complaining about the offer, but you’re puzzling,” Riley voiced her thoughts. “I mean, you were holding batting practice with my head minutes ago.”

 

Morgan poured hot water into two cups, each with their own tea bag floating to the top. “I guess I don’t care for baseball all that much,” she said with a slight shrug. “Anyway, I didn’t think you’d complain over my lack of aggression.” She brought the two steaming cups over to a small kitchen table that sat three as it was situated against a wall. “We can go back to that if you’d like. I’m accommodating.”

 

“No thanks.” Riley lifted a hand.

 

Morgan smirked at the simple gesture. “People can have a change of heart.”

 

“Not that quickly they don’t,” Riley pointed out. “You could be schizophrenic.”

 

“For a seductress, you’re doing a bang-up job,” Morgan retorted, sitting down in one chair. “Between the insults and tea, I don’t know how we’ll have time to have sex.”

 

About the Authors

 

E.L. Blaisdell and Nica Curt met in 2009 through a fanfiction archive that has since become defunct, yet their friendship endured. Although they’ve collaborated before, Drained: The Lucid is their first original novel together. Follow them on Twitter (@ElizaLentzski and @NicaCurt) for updates and exclusive previews of future original releases.

 

Web: http://www.indulgentpen.com

 

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Purchase the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Drained-Lucid-E-L-Blaisdell-ebook/dp/B00NG8YLNA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411046421&sr=8-1&keywords=Drained+blaisdell