Meeting Samhain eds & authors at LBF

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I had a little jaunt away from the keyboard on Monday when an invitation to dinner for ‘London Area Authors’ dropped into my inbox from Crissy Brashear, the President of Samhain Publishing.

Well, I live 130 miles from London but thanks to the West Coast Train Line, I can be there in 90 mins – and I don’t get out much and I couldn’t possibly resist the chance to finally meet Crissy and Samhain Publisher, Lyndsey Faber, so off I went.

We were scheduled to meet on the steps of Earl’s Court, venue of the LBF, at 6.30 but I’d arranged to meet my agent for drinks first. What an education it was, watching all those bright young things and bookworld fashionistas exiting the fair. I bumped into the ed of my mainsteam books for a quick chat while I waited which was a bonus, before heading to the nearest pub with my agent and it seemed, half the book fair.

Then it was into an Italian restaurant. Four other Samhain authors were there, three of whom I met for the first time – and three of whom write M/M erotic romance. So hi to Barbara Elsburg and KJ Charles and to  Imogen Howson, samhain ed and YA author . It was a thoroughly entertaining and enlightening evening and I left with new friends. The jaw dropping cover of Dark Blue was also shown around and greatly admired.

Thanks to Crissy and Lynsey for a lovely evening and their generosity.

I’ve also managed to keep my bum in seat long enough to get half way through the draft of French Blue and now I’m taking a short break to mull it all over.

Bum In Chair Hands On Keyboard

Yes, BICHOK. That’s what I’ve been doing – and for those of you who don’t know what it stands for, it means Bum in Chair, Hands on Keyboard.

I’m now about one third through the first draft of my second Study in Seduction series. It’s called FRENCH BLUE and it features Olivier Lemaitre – the artist brother of Alex from DARK BLUE. I’ve taken a slower, steadier pace with this book and it’s really in the past few days that the deeper conflicts between the hero and heroine are gradually emerging. In an erotic romance, the emotions are more intense, not less. The characters are instantly attracted to each other and very quickly start their sexual journey, but just like any romance, there needs to be tension on every page.

I’m not there yet with FRENCH BLUE, but it’s my tenth book and I’ve learned to at least trust that by writing and exploring what charcacters would and would not do, the right path will reveal itself.

And I have a deadline of July: always a good motivator!

Guest Author Christina Phillips with Betrayed

What a week it’s been. I’ve launched one of my mainstream novels and I’ve seen the cover of Dark Blue, my September Samhain romance. Whew, I can’t wait to share it but first, I’m delighted to feature my first guest on the blog.

It’s Christina Phillips with a very hot extract from her  new Ellora’s Cave release, Betrayed. I must issue an Over 18 warning with this, so enjoy…

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BETRAYED

Excerpt:

Still holding her in his arms Tacitus lowered his head toward her, no longer caring of the open tent flap, the proximity of the legionary or the fact he was still on duty. All he could see, all he could feel was the woman nestled so seductively against his chest, her breasts pressed against him while her palm caressed his jaw.

Her lips parted and her breath was sweet, like incense. Blood pounded, pulses hammered yet with rigid restraint, he brushed the most chaste of kisses across those tempting lips.

So soft. So full of promise. So deliciously responsive. She lifted her head and instead of breaking contact, he captured her lips once again. Nothing chaste about this kiss. Their mouths clung together as if nothing else in the world existed.

She wound her hand around the nape of his neck. Her fingers speared through his hair, scraping across the base of his skull. Desire spiked through his groin, her touch as potent as if she had grasped his cock, and restraint splintered.

He slid his tongue inside her open mouth and she sucked on him, sudden and hard and unbelievably shocking. He withdrew, a slow slide against her wet flesh then thrust into her again, teasing the roof of her mouth, and claimed the strangled moans that vibrated from her throat.

Fingernails dug into his scalp, primitive and wild. His hand closed over the mound of her breast, filling his palm. Her nipple was hard through the material of her gown, and with a primal growl, he rubbed the tips of his fingers over the erect nub. Backward and forward. Increasing the pressure. She squirmed in his arms, her muffled moans of pleasure stoking his need.

He needed to lay her down. Rip off her gown. Explore her writhing body.

The exhilarating vision of her laying naked on his bed hammered in his mind. She was willing. She did not know she was a slave. He could fuck her, make her come, give her such pleasure that when she discovered the truth she wouldn’t feel as if she had been used at all.

Her sweet taste slid insidiously into his senses, heady and somehow illicit. The tips of their tongues touched; clung, and it was mindlessly erotic.

Somehow, he stumbled to the bed. Curse this primitive camp. He wanted his own bed, but this makeshift one would have to do. Carefully he lowered her, his mouth still claiming hers—or was she claiming his?—and as he laid her down the light diminished.

He scarcely noticed. Tearing his mouth from her, he panted down into her face, relishing the jagged gasps of her breath, the way her fingers dug into the back of his neck, the way her breasts heaved beneath her soft gown.

The way her left arm was immobilized in a sling.

For a moment he stared, uncomprehending. She was injured and he had been about to fuck her?

“Roman.” The word was scarcely above a whisper, and wrapped around his reeling senses like a seductive embrace of purest silk. Her right hand slid from his neck, over his shoulder and along his arm. It was a light caress and yet as arousing as if she slid her naked body along him instead.

Gods. What was he thinking? Marcellus had warned him not to have her tonight. She was injured. She was under the influence of opium.

She was his slave.

Still, he couldn’t move. He remained kneeling on the floor beside her as her hand curled around his wrist. The light was oddly dimmed and yet he could see her delicate features and the fragile outline of her enticing body. And still he could not find the strength of will to stand up and leave.

“Are you man enough for me, Roman?” Her words were heated, provocative. A blatant challenge. “I’ve never had a barbarian before.” She smiled, as if that thought gave her great amusement and he battled against the renewed lust that thundered through his blood at her taunts.

“You will lie here and rest.” It was an order. Any other woman—any other man—would have instantly quailed. But this Celt, this slave—who did not even know she was a slave—merely offered him another sultry smile and pulled on his hand.

He didn’t resist.

She dragged his hand between her thighs and pressed him against her slick core. Air hissed between his clenched teeth as her feminine dampness caressed his fingers, as she rolled her hips and a breathy sigh escaped her lips.

“Don’t you want me, Roman?” She increased pressure on his hand and of their own volition his fingers pushed against her soft gown, seeking and finding the wet opening of her welcoming pussy.

Primal need thudded through his veins, tightened his rock-hard balls. This was madness. Feverishly his fingers bunched up her gown, exposing her thighs, until he gripped the material and wrenched it up to her waist.

Honey-blonde curls crowned her glistening lips, her flesh plump and pink and deliriously tantalizing. Mesmerized by the sheer eroticism of how she angled her hips toward him and by her evocative musky scent that caused his cock to thicken, he couldn’t remember why taking her was such a bad idea.

He trailed the tips of his fingers over her belly and then lower, teasing her soft curls. She sighed in evident pleasure and collapsed back onto the pallet as if she no longer possessed the strength to entice him. But he needed no additional enticement.

Everything he needed was here, between her spread thighs.

She was wet and hot. His finger slid along her cleft, her soft folds promising a wild, unforgettable ride. Breath rasped along his throat, need pounded through his groin, sanity sank beyond the fiery horizon.

She was willing. She was ready. And she was his.

You can find Betrayed HERE and visit Christina’s website HERE.

My ‘call’ story with Samhain – how to sell a book to an ed in 30 minutes

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As it’s Monday and I have the whole week ahead of me to get back to work on FRENCH BLUE – the sequel to my September release, DARK BLUE, I thought I’d blog a little about my ‘call story’ on this book.

Although DARK BLUE and FRENCH BLUE are both red hot romances with BDSM/kink elements, I have had a slightly less hot contemporary published by them. I loved working with my editor there, she is clear in her editorial directions, friendly and very approachable. I had more input into the cover design process than with any of my UK edited books (that’s not a criticism, it’s just how Samhain work) and was thrilled with the cover.

On the subject of payment – yes, I need to earn a crust – they pay great royalties of 30-40% and most novels of over 50k words are published in high quality trade paperback versions around 10 months after the e book.

I wrote DARK BLUE first and foremost because it was a story I had wanted to tell for quite a while but hadn’t had time to write.

Finally, having finished two long mainstream romantic novels which I’d sold to a Big Six UK publisher, I sent off a partial of the ms to my Samhain ed. I hoped it might be her thing but beyond that, I had to cross my fingers. Admittedly, I didn’t have to go into the slushpile as I’d had a book accepted before but you just never know. I still had a nailbiting wait after I pressed send on the partial and query.

After all this was a new departure for me; a book that was a step up in the explicitness of the sex scenes and a story with BDSM elements at that.

Fortunately for me I hadn’t long to wait. About 30 minutes in fact my ed was back by email. Yes, she loved the idea of the story, yes keep writing – and yes, send her the full as soon as I had finished it as she had a publication slot free in the Autumn. She also had a few suggestions as to tense and POV which were a huge help – and frankly, they were ideas that had been bugging me too.

No matter that I have had six books published before – I’ve had many rejections, all of which have hurt to various degrees from inducing a sigh of relief to full-blown sobbing and chocolate-bingeing.

So when I got such speedy encouragement, I was beyond thrilled and beyond motivated. Having started the story months before, I’d had plenty of time to mull over what was working and not, and make notes and simply think. So by the time I had the encouragement from my ed, I was straining at the leash to finish the book.

Knowing that I had a goal: a contract offer, a publication date was the best motivator ever. More important than that: the editor had given me validation that I wasn’t alone; she loved the story and characters too and it was Ok to step out of my comfort zone and let my imagination have free rein.

So I started writing and just didn’t stop. I loved writing this book and yes, there were times when I had to step aside and rewrite and edit and rethink but in no time it was finished.

Now I have edits coming up in a few weeks.

In the meantime, I need to stop basking in the glow of finishing DARK BLUE and get into the linked book which features the hero’s brother.

That’s the hard part. So I’ll crack the whip over myself and get back to the keyboard.

Samhain’s Submission Guidelines are here.

‘Dark Blue’ – my ‘red hot’ novel from Samhain

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I’ve got the official title for my first Natasha Bond novel. It’s DARK BLUE – the first in the Study in Seduction series I’m writing for Samhain. Publication date for the e book is September 24th 2013 with a print book in 2014. I love Samhain’s covers, they are always amazing so I can’t wait to see the design for DARK BLUE.

The second book, which is underway (sort of!) will be called FRENCH BLUE.

The novels feature two very Alpha Anglo-French brothers, Alex Lemaitre and Olivier Lemaitre. The Blue theme comes from the settings – Dark Blue is the Oxford University colour, French Blue will be set in Paris.

Both novels are escapist, glamorous and very steamy – in fact they have been designated as ‘red hot’ by Samhain – and be warned, they also have BDSM/kink elements. 🙂

DARK BLUE is set partly in Oxford, where Alex is a celebrity professor of Literature. Cool, brilliant and with a fearsome reputation for pushing his students to the limits, his world is about to spin out of control when he meets Carla, a young widow who has dreams and desires that only Alex can fulfil.

Some of you will know I also write sweet, sexy, humorous contemporary romance under another name. I’ve found that writing hotter, darker books requires even more focus on the hero and heroine and even more intense emotion. It’s been a challenge I’ve been delighted to embrace.

As for writing a steamy novel during the winter months – I thoroughly recommend it – much cheaper, greener and more fun than turning up the heating!

Valentine’s Day happiness – Project X is officially sold

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Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

Not only did I wake up to a lovely surprise from Mr Bond 🙂 I also had something delicious in my overnight inbox: official confirmation from my Samhain editor that my contract for Project X is on the way. She loved the partial and has been amazing at getting back to me only a week after getting the full manuscript.

Now all I need is to decide on a  title for it. I like the working title but am wondering if it really captures the essence of the book. The thing is I absolutely don’t want anything cheesy.  Hmm. Will have to decide soon as it will be published in October and the cover designer will need to know in the next few weeks. I find that titles either come at the start of the book or take months and months.

No matter today. I think the combination of Valentine’s Day and a book sale, definitely calls for a celebration. The Rose Freixenet is in the fridge and I need to wrap Mr Bond’s presents from me.

Have a lovely day.

Natasha xx

 

 

Welcome to my darker side

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Hi,

You’ve reached the blog of Natasha Bond. Under a different name, I’m a best-selling, award-winning author of contemporary romance. I’m a nice girl at heart but I should warn you that Natasha is my darker, hotter persona. I love heels I can’t walk in, books of all genres, swimming in warm seas and loving friends who are willing to laugh at themselves.

My first Natasha novel, a sizzling contemporary romance about smart people doing kinky things is published by Samhain in the Fall.

This blog is very much a work in progress – call it the dirty draft. I’ll be posting more details, blogging about sexy romance, hot heroes and writing, very soon.

Thank you for calling,

Natasha x