2019: The Year of Authenticity

A couple of months ago, I “came out” and consolidated my pen names. It’s been a work in progress, but there’s no turning back now. My main goal for doing this was openness.  Although anonymity gives me the freedom I need to write freely, I didn’t want to hide anymore either.

But it occurs to me that a lot of “me” is still hidden.

I have a Facebook page, but it’s purely about my writing. I don’t share photographs or intimate details; not even my real name or my face.

While that’s going to stay that way, for a variety of reasons related to privacy and mental wellbeing, I am going to make an effort to be more open. More real. More authentic.

Why? Because there’s really no reason not to. It feels more honest and freeing as well. I miss the freedom of expression that comes with blogging; something I’ve dabbled with occasionally over the years and which I wanted to start again with the launch of the L. Moone name and website. And I’ll have nothing to write about, if I can’t share stuff about myself.

Here are a few things that you – especially if you’re a relatively new (2015 onwards) reader – might not know about me, and which I would like to get out of the way before I add more personal blog posts.

  1. I’m not British – I’m actually German.
  2. I don’t live in London (anymore).
  3. I don’t have kids, but I do have a family.
  4. The awkward goth phase I went through as a teenager never really passed, even if you wouldn’t know it by looking at me.
  5. I self-identify as a motorcyclist, but it’s been a while since I actually rode one. (Scooters don’t really count, do they?)

 

2019: The Year of Health

Where has the year gone? Spring feels like only yesterday, and yet it’s already October.

If you’ve read my previous blog post about the topic, or my Lorelei Moone newsletter from April/May you’ll already know I’ve faced a few challenges this year. Not that last year was any better, it was worse, actually, but that’s a story for another time.

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions or lifechanging plans. If I can just stay on track with my writing, without neglecting my family or letting the house turn into a pig stye, that’s usually good enough for me.

Nevertheless, now that even October is running away from me, I feel like taking stock of what I’ve achieved, personally, so far. I’m not talking about my productivity and my career. I’m talking about my health.

Nothing to give you a big kick up the arse like a brand spanking new health condition you didn’t have before. Especially if it’s one that you’ve been conditioned to think only happens around “middle age” or later, and you’re not quite there yet on paper. (I might enjoy “old lady” things like canning and baking, but I’m only 33, dammit!)

So, since my unexpected hypertension diagnosis in April, what have I been up to and how successful has it been? Let’s analyse…

It’s all about the lifestyle, baby.

I fear I may have become that sort of person. Even our family doctor has started to tell people that I like to read about “alternative medicine” nowadays. Perhaps he’s started to suspect I’m about to turn to homeopathy to cure all that ails me and stop paying him his consultation fee.

Am I turning my back on modern medicine? Absolutely not! Far from it, in fact. I don’t believe sugar pills and endless dilutions of water are the answer either. But I do think that my lifestyle these past few years could have been a lot healthier than it was.

I’m a stress eater, always have been. While some of that is definitely down to conditioning (Hi, mom! *waves*), I can’t exactly pretend that I’m not to blame as well. I know better than to reach for a packet of biscuits to get me through a stressful first draft. Doesn’t mean I can always resist the temptation, though.

Has my decade long usage of hormonal contraceptives made me gain weight  as well (either directly or indirectly)? Yeah, for sure. But I did eat a ton of sugar to make it happen. Nobody forcefed me. I did it all myself, and enjoyed every mouthful of it.

Phase 1: No Room for Denial.

So, the first catalyst was obviously the blood pressure thing. I couldn’t afford to ignore my problems any longer. I start taking daily medication to get the hypertension under control. And because I suspected hormone levels were to blame, I quit my hormonal contraceptive immediately. Dr. Google told me to expect that it would take about 6 months or so for my hormone levels to normalise and my body to get used to the new IUD. That would be about now.

While I can’t say that my periods have become any easier or less painful (which is what supposedly happens once your body gets used to the IUD), perhaps there is a little truth to it. Exactly a year ago I already tried to lose some weight. It was a complete failure, and not just because of lack of willpower. The pounds just didn’t want to budge at all no matter how hard I tried, and my hunger and cravings were off the charts.

That has changed now, thanks to:

Phase 2: The Mindset Shift.

I didn’t want to make things too hard on myself right from the start, so I completed this year’s annual Germany trip to visit my mom without worrying about diets and weight loss. I enjoyed all the culinary delights Germany had to offer, and ended up gaining about 1.5kg overall. Not great, but not a disaster, as it turns out.

The real work began once we returned home; I committed to make real changes to my life and myself. I picked a weekend when the hubby was out of town to kickstart my wellness journey. Having read about the benefits of fasting (and experimenting with various forms of intermittent fasting since 2013), I knew what I wanted to do: my first ever water fast.

For those of you who don’t know what that is; it really is as simple as it sounds. You consciously decide not to ingest anything other than water for a set period of time. I decided to try 3 days for my first attempt (72 hours). It was tough, I won’t lie. But not as tough as I thought it would be. And the health benefits are supposed to be amazing. Once your body uses up all the energy from your last meal, it’s supposed to enter into “autophagy“. That’s when the body starts to repair itself. It’s meant to do wonders for your immune system and even has the power to cure health issues like hypertension.

I managed to make it 85 hours, before having a small glass of diluted fruit juice. Not because I couldn’t carry on or was particularly hungry, but because the hubby was back and I really wanted to enjoy a nice meal together after spending three days apart.

While my 85 hour fast did not magically cure my hypertension (believe me, I got that checked out immediately, only to be disappointed), it did do me a lot of good. For one, I felt super focused. My concentration levels were better than ever; I didn’t feel the constant need to procrastinate that I normally do. My body felt lean. My skin had cleared up and tightened (bye bye, arm flab and double chin!) and the sugar cravings I have lived with for years were completely gone. And, bonus: I lost about 2kg. Just like that. In 3 days.

It was a great success and I used this triumph to motivate me to make a more permanent change.

After a week or so of eating normal – beit smaller and healthier portions, I began:

Phase 3: Not a Sprint, but a Marathon. 

Water fasting helped me break my dependency on all things sweet and carby. I already knew from personal experience as well as anecdotal evidence from friends that carbs lay at the root of all my weight gain issues. But going low carb wasn’t an option for me permanently. Been there, done that, and failed already. I simply can’t sustain it; it’s too hard for me.

So what I did instead was turn again to my old friend, intermittent fasting (specifically the method called Alternate Day Fasting; ADF). I knew it worked, because back in 2013 (after Dr. Michael Mosley’s BBC documentary on the topic came out, as well as the first edition of his book, The Fast Diet), I’d successfully done it. I fondly remembered how easy it was back then to restrict myself one day, only to be allowed any food I wanted the next. And my tendency to snack and go overboard with sweets and biscuits was mostly cured after just one month of sticking to an alternate day fasting schedule. Easy choice, right?

Armed with fresh enthusiasm and determination (and a big chip on my shoulder for having resisted food for a whole 85 hours already), I dove right in toward the end of July. From the 22nd of July until today, the 18th of October, I have stuck to largely this schedule: 500 calories on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and unrestricted eating the rest of the week. This variant of Alternate Day Fasting is called 4:3 (4 eating days, 3 fasting days every week). I may have exceeded the 500 calories once or twice during this time, but I’ve been about 95% consistent.

The results speak for themselves.

I’m at a weight I haven’t been at for years. I feel better and more energetic. I still get to eat sweet stuff 4 days a week and sometimes I even go overboard. And I’ve lost a total of about 7.5kg. I went from a 30.5 bmi (obese) to 27.6 (overweight).  While I’m not even halfway yet, I know I can keep this up forever if I have to. It’s much easier to say “not today” when faced with sinful food you know you’re not supposed to eat, rather than say “not ever”. To me, a life without cake is not worth living. (You can quote me on that!)

And the best part? This week I had my 6 month check-up with the doctor, since my hypertension diagnosis. And he’s cut my medication dosage in half. Success!

With a bit of luck and determination, who knows where I’ll be in another 6 months’ time? Eventually, I hope to be off my medication entirely, and at a normal weight for my height and bodytype. I want to be able to look in the mirror and see “me” again, and fit into all those old clothes I’ve had to hide away for years now. Phase 4: Don’t fall off the wagon again, woman! (AKA: Maintenance) is in my sights.

Eventually I’ll get there. I’ll update the blog when I do.

Recommended reading:

The Fast Diet by Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer

The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung

Just Another Day at the Office

Out Now! 

Just Another Day at the Office is now live on Amazon as part of their Kindle Unlimited programme!

Take advantage of the special launch price; $0.99. Hurry, the price goes up on the 12th of October 2019!

Buy now: Amazon

About Just Another Day at the Office

Cath:
Bloody typical. Day one at the new job, and I’m crushing so hard on my colleague I can’t think straight.

John isn’t your average romance novel hero. He doesn’t have a way with the ladies, neither does he have six pack abs. He’s just a regular guy with a bit of a dad bod, and he’s shy and awkward rather than suave and charming. That’s cool, because I’m just a regular girl. One who’s already head over heels for him and he doesn’t even realise it.

There’s something eating away at him, a mystery I’m determined to solve as well as resolve, if only he’ll give me half a chance. And if I stop being so damn nervous every time he’s around.

John:
Some people are made for love and happiness. Not me.

It was a let-down when she left, even if it wasn’t entirely out of the blue. Unexpected or not, it still hurts like hell. Then there’s the new girl at the office, who keeps looking at me funny. I’m supposed to be training her, but her presence is making me feel even worse. She’s a constant reminder of everything I’ll never have.

I’m not sure I’m ready to hope again. The disappointment would end up crushing me.

Will John get over his issues and give love a chance? Can Cath convince him that despite his flaws, he truly is the man of her dreams? Read on and find out. Who knew things could get this hot at the office?

This steamy, body-positive romance features a Big Handsome Man (BHM), a woman who appreciates him just how he is, and plenty of colourful (British English) language.

Just Another Day at the Office was L. Moone’s novel debut back in 2013 when she had just started her writing journey under the pen name Hedonist Six. A heartfelt and super-hot romance about ordinary people like you and me, trying to find their own path to happiness.

Buy now: Amazon

Of women’s health and choices

I said I would start blogging occasionally, so here I am. With a topic I’ve dealt with in my personal life for a while, but only really decided to tackle a few months ago. The catalyst? Being diagnosed with hypertension. If you’re on my Lorelei Moone mailing list, you’ll already know about this last part.

I’m 33 and I have high blood pressure. Sure, my weight isn’t what I want it to be, and I have too much of a sweet tooth, but I have always been relatively healthy. Or so I thought.

I’m also married and do not have (or want) children. Birth control has been something I’ve always had to think about. For more than half my life I’ve been using hormonal birth control methods. Save for the implant thingy, I had tried just about everything and found that every single one I had tried, was basically shit.

We all know about the potential side effects, right ladies? We know we might get cranky, we might get fatter, develop pimples we didn’t have before, etc. For me, a major side effect was that my libido became non-existent. It doesn’t matter what I did, I just wouldn’t want sex. Ever. I realise that this is a weird thing to admit when you write what I write.

All the methods I had tried threw my hormones off. But what’s the alternative, really?

Six or so years ago, I got really fed up with my birth control and went off it for a while. They gave me a “cap” to use instead. What a load of rubbish that is. Condoms sound great in theory, but once you’re used to what things are supposed to feel like naturally, it’s hard to go back to those. I know some people successfully monitor their fertility to prevent pregnancy, but I wouldn’t know where to begin and was never given the knowledge or tools to track any of that. And having had an unwanted pregnancy before, I would rather not risk going through that again.

Well, once the hypertension diagnosis came in, it came as a shock to me. I was so ashamed of myself. Sure, when you’re taking the pill, your GP will want to check your blood pressure perhaps twice a year or so. Heightened blood pressure is a known side effect, and yet I always thought it wouldn’t happen to me. Certainly not at this age.

But it did. And now I’m taking pills for it every day.

That same day I got my diagnosis, I made a decision. I couldn’t go on like this. I wouldn’t accept that I would be on medication for the rest of my life. I decided to quit my birth control immediately. As luck would have it, my period had just come on. I insisted that along with blood pressure pills, I would get a prescription for a non-hormonal IUD – something I had shied away from all these years, because I’d never heard a good thing about them. I was told that because I was on my period, this was the right time to get it inserted.

Spurred on by shame and desperation, I went for it.

Without going into too much detail, it was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. Afterwards, I had to see the doctor again for aftercare instructions and nearly passed out in her waiting room.

Now, 4 months later, my periods are still brutal. At least one day every month the cramps are so bad I can hardly bring myself to leave the house. This was something I had never experienced before. If there’s one thing hormonal birth control is very good at, it’s lessening PMS and period cramps. If my period was coming at an inconvenient time, I could simply postpone or skip it. That, obviously, is no longer an option.

And yet, I’m glad I did it.

You may wonder why. I can share a few reasons with you right now.

  1. I am done for the next 10-12 years. No condoms, no caps, no pills to remember to take. As long as the string is still there, I’m protected.
  2. I’m taking control of my life and my health. If the hypertension was caused by the contraceptives I’ve been taking, perhaps I can reverse it. Even my consistent weight gain over the years, I’m hoping to undo now. Estrogen can make you ravenously hungry, so it’s harder to keep your diet in check. And so on.
  3. I feel like a real woman. And I don’t mean that in any mystical, floaty sort of way. I have my sexuality back. Like a frog, slowly being boiled in a pot of water, I hadn’t noticed all the parts of myself that had gone missing. All the things I hadn’t truly felt all these years.

Sure, it’s annoying to deal with painful periods. But pain can be managed. Hot water bottles and ibuprofen are my new best friends during those days.

And I’m pretty sure that if men were the ones getting pregnant, there’d be a whole lot of better methods of prevention out there. But what can we do? These are the cards we’ve been dealt as women.

So yeah, I’m glad I took the plunge. The only regret I have is that I didn’t do it sooner, before the hypertension issue had even come up. Would I have done it, though, if someone had encouraged me years ago? Probably not.

I knew it would hurt, though I did understimate it. For future reference, when a doctor casually asks you about your pain threshold before a procedure, fucking brace yourself!

But, childbirth hurts a lot more. And when you don’t want to become a mother in the first place, it’s going to be even worse.

It’s been a long journey to here

Today, on the 23rd of August, I’m writing this after spending the entire day so far sifting through my old blog posts. This is as good a time as any for some reflection and analysis.

I’ve been at this writing business for a while, you see. And my life and career have undergone numerous changes over the years.

Hedonist6 on Blogspot

Back in 2012, I had a little blog over on blogspot. Some of those ancient posts are still available here on this brand new website. They’re my history and I can’t part with them, so I’ve decided to take them along into this new phase of my life.

Those days were a tumultuous time in my life and marriage. If you’re curious, check out the following posts:

These are the humble beginnings of my writing journey. I started as many do, autobiographically.

Hedonist Six – Quality Erotica (or so I thought)

But I swiftly moved on to fiction. With the release of my first story, Ladies’ Day in the autumn of 2012, my fate was sealed. I would be an independent author. And I have been ever since.

My books from this time include:

  • One Night Stand (I think my first story, Just for One Night, was expanded into this novella)
  • Beautiful Stranger (evolved from that first story, Ladies’ Day)
  • Just Another Day at the Office (currently being reworked, for re-publication in October 2019)
  • The Rebound List (The first quarter of this book is included as the story Virgin, in Gratis: Midwinter Tales)
  • Only a Taste (the beginning of which is the story, A Day in Brighton, which is part of Gratis: Summer Fling)

For a few years, I was content writing these stories I loved, under the weird (and I think, wonderful) name, Hedonist Six. I was never a bestseller, and that didn’t matter to me, because I loved this new creative outlet I had found.

Lorelei Moone – Shifters, baby!

But come 2015, I was ready to up my game. I was ready to take this writing business more seriously, and try my hand at something that I thought could give me both creative satisfaction as well as some monetary success.

A brand new pen name, Lorelei Moone was born.

Under the new name, I published a whole bunch of paranormal romance novellas, organised into four main series:

I did quite alright with these books, and I’m proud of everything I’ve achieved as Lorelei Moone. I still write under this name today.

Hedonist Six – Spectacular(ly underwhelming) Relaunch

During 2016, I decided to look at those old, unloved books, languishing under the name Hedonist Six. I had grand plans. I would take everything I had learned about publishing and marketing, and professionally rework and re-publish all my existing work and hopefully capture a larger audience for them. I did relaunch everything. I got new covers and updated my descriptions. I built a mailing list using giveaways and swaps with other authors. And I basically broke even on my investment.

It was hard that those books which I began my writing career with were not getting seen as much as I wanted them to. I had good reviews, so I was reasonably confident that readers liked them once they found them. But I could not get these books in the hands of enough new people. This failure would put me off writing contemporary romance and erotica for years to come.

L. Moone – Time to grow the F up

I’ve come to the conclusion that during all these years, (seven years, coming up in October or so), I made one crucial mistake. I wasn’t being real enough. This old blog I’ve ported across to the new website was as real as I’ve ever been, but I’ve always hidden behind an abstract sort of a name. Going forward, I’ll be doing no more of that.

Another part of the same mistake was that I launched my paranormal romance books as a separate “persona” from my original work. Lorelei Moone and Hedonist Six were always completely independent from one another. Hardly anyone knew I was the person behind both of these “authors”. That wasn’t fair to anyone, least of all to myself.

You see, I want to be able to openly share my activities and my life with the world. But I can’t do that, if I have to hide what I’m writing, simply because it fits under my “other brand”.

2019 is the year that I put my old pseudonyms behind me and emerge as myself. This is the year I become open about all of my writing, not just the books you happened to come across first.

From now on, my paranormal and contemporary romance titles will be connected. This website will serve as the new home for my blog. And if Facebook et al will let me, I’ll combine my social media accounts as well. I’m done confusing the issue, and look forward to simplifying my interactions with the world. Most of all, I’m done hiding.

I’ve already updated a few of my books on Amazon, changing the author name from Hedonist Six to L. Moone. Next up, I’m tackling an old project that has been pending for years. My first novel, Just Another Day at the Office has been unpublished for years (I think probably 2016 or so), because it needs a rewrite and a good edit. That’s what I’ll be working on during September 2019. My planned launch date is the 7th of October.

And I could not be more excited about it.

Begging for It: Erotic Fantasies for Women

51vle-lgzdl-_sx331_bo1204203200_I’m super excited to announce that Begging for It: Erotic Fantasies for Women (edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, published by Cleis Press), is out now.

This amazing collection of quality erotica contains 21 stories by various authors in the genre (including myself, teehee!). My contribution is called Rediscovery, and it’s about a wife who finds a little something naughty while tidying up, which ends up changing her perception of herself and her (not always perfect) marriage.

I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s super hot and has all the feels. I’m sure you guys will love it, so go buy the book and read it for yourself!

UPDATE 2019: This title was published before I rebranded myself as L. Moone, so you’ll see my story, Rediscovery, credited as my old pen name, “Hedonist Six”.

Gratis : Summer Fling. A taste of Summer.

gratis3-boxsetsmallIt’s live! Gratis : Summer Fling, the fourth and final Gratis Erotica Anthology is now available for download at all major ebook retailers. To celebrate, we’re running a little giveaway (see below), but first, some more information about the book and my contribution, A Day in Brighton (including an excerpt).

Gratis: Summer Fling, Official Description
The fourth and final installment of the Gratis Anthologies of quality, literary erotica, Gratis : Summer Fling is going to hit the shelves on the 21st of June. In it you’ll again find a mix of various well received authors, sharing little glimpses into their fantasies for your entertainment. And the best part is, you haven’t even got to pay for it! Download now to get a novel length collection of perfect beach reads

Contents:
Bringing Angels to Life by Chloe Thurlow, Isabelle’s Submissive July by Emily Tilton, A Day in Brighton by L. Moone, The Fashion Model Diplomat by KM Dylan, Dear Diary by M.J. Carey, Marsala Sweet by Molly Synthia, and Generation Game by Secret Narrative.

A Day in Brighton by Hedonist Six
When Mandi is forced to move back in with her conservative Indian parents, she’s preparing to say goodbye to all the freedoms she’s enjoyed so far: no curfews, no questions, and the freedom to date or hang out with whoever she wants. She spends a day in Brighton with handsome stranger, Callum, to mark the end of her independence.

Get your copy here.

Excerpt:

Chapter One

All my belongings are neatly packed into cardboard boxes, but all I feel is chaos inside.
I don’t want to go. I don’t want to leave this little flat which I’ve been sharing with Alice for the past three years. But with no money or prospects, and I don’t have a choice.
I let out a deep sigh and sink down on the edge of the sofa.
“You alright, Mandi?” Alice asks, handing me a cup of tea. Strong yet milky, just how I like it.
I just shrug.
“This sucks, hey.” She puts her hand on my shoulder.
“Life’s a bitch, especially when your family can’t accept that in this country, things work a little differently.” I respond.
“At least you won’t have to worry about laundry. Or rent.” Alice is only half joking. Moving back home to act like the perfect Punjabi daughter to my parents will have some – admittedly small – benefits. Mostly it’s a big, fat negative though.
“Yeah, I get to relive my childhood. Yay.” I rest my head in my hands and try not to panic.
No more pretending to be a grown-up at twenty-three. No more staying out with Alice – or anyone else for that matter – until the clubs close and our feet stop cooperating. No more freedom to hang out with anyone of the opposite gender, forget about inviting a guy home with me.
Sure, I’ll have a job to go to, with Mr. Gupta – Dad’s friend, but that’s hardly a pleasing prospect
“I’ll miss you, you know.” Alice plops down next to me and puts her arm around me.
“Yeah, I’ll miss you too.”
“OK, this is bullshit.” Alice lets go of me and sits upright. “It’s sad you have to move back in with your folks, but it’s not like anyone died. They’re not expecting you until tomorrow. Let’s go do something!”
“Like what?” I ask, while still feeling way too sorry for myself to really care.
“I dunno. It’s a nice, sunny day, I don’t have anything on, neither do you. Let’s just drive down to Brighton or something.” She’s lost her mind.
“And then what? I’m broke, remember? That’s why I’m moving back in the first place.”
“How much do you have exactly?” She grins at me expectantly.
“I dunno, about a tenner in cash, plus perhaps fifty in the bank?”
“Great! Get dressed.” Alice jumps up, visibly excited.
I stare at her in disbelief but once she’s set on something, Alice cannot be deterred. She grabs my hand and starts dragging me off the sofa and towards the large suitcase that contains all my clothes.
“What’s the plan exactly?” I wonder out loud. Does she even have a plan?
“We drive down, hang out at the beach, eat Fish & Chips, get a bit of a tan” She looks over at me; my skin is already pre-bronzed of course. “OK, so I’ll get a bit of a tan – head to the nearest pub or whatever, get sloshed. Dance, enjoy ourselves, have a proper farewell party for you. What do you say?”
“You did hear me when I said I have literally no money?”
Alice shrugs. “Since when do you have to pay for your own drinks when you go out?”
She makes a fair point. But when we’re done partying, then what? “I’m sure even the cheapest guest house down there would wipe me out though.”
“Who said anything about a guest house? I’m not planning on sleeping! Plus, we can always crash in the car.”
Sometimes she has the craziest ideas. But I have to admit that the prospect of being all but grounded with my parents breathing down my neck every day is a powerful motivator to go along with her spontaneity. What have I got to lose?
“Fine. You win.”
She winks at me. “Admit it, we both win.”
For all my earlier grumpiness, I can’t suppress a smile now. Within minutes we’ve thrown on colourful summer dresses – bikini underneath of course – and shoved a random collection of supplies into a pair of beach-ready canvas bags. Towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, plus a couple of books – check.
Before I have the chance to change my mind, she’s herded me into her piece of shit car which sounds so rattly I’m surprised nothing of note has fallen off it yet. The stereo – possibly the best part of the entire car – does its best to drown out the traffic noises and rattles with loud music. I don’t care what happens anymore, today I still get to be me, not who my folks expect me to be.

The traffic has been horrendous, and the parking situation is no better. But at last, at just after four – three hours after setting off – we finally make it to Brighton beach.
As I take my sandals off and try to follow her towards an empty spot among the sunbathing crowds, I remember why I fucking hate Brighton as a beach. Who the hell decided it’s a good idea to sunbathe on rough gravel? The stones cut into my feet with every step, causing me to swear under my breath.
“What’s that?” Alice turns and asks.
“Nothing. Bloody stones.” I try to tiptoe ahead, but it doesn’t help. In the end I decide to put my shoes back on.
“No pain no gain, darling.”
Whatever.
We manage to find a spot between some giggly teenagers and a family with a crying toddler. Not how I had wanted to spend my last afternoon of freedom, but choices are limited when the entire south of England seems to have congregated on the same stretch of stony coastline.
“Put sunscreen on me?” Alice asks, handing me a bottle.
I do my best coating her pale back, not leaving any spots, but I already know it’s hopeless. She’ll be bright red within an hour, or two at the most. I would put money on it.
“Me too, please,” I request when I’m done doing her.
“You sure you need it?”
“Hey, just because I have darker skin than you, doesn’t mean I’m immune to cancer.” I push the bottle into her hand and turn around, lifting my hair up to give her room.
“Fair point.”
Soon we’re both sticky, but reasonably protected against the rays. I lie down on my towel, keeping my beach bag behind my head as sort of a pillow while I decide to make a start on the novel I brought. Alice has other ideas though.
“Don’t you want to go in the water?” she asks.
Not really, no. I shake my head and open my book to the first page.
“Come on!”
“I can’t swim!” I protest.
“We won’t go that far.”
I put the paperback down and scrutinise the waves, rolling in and crashing against the stones up ahead.
“Don’t be a spoilsport!” Alice insists.
“Fine. Fine! But if it’s cold, I’m not going in.”
The sun is burning down onto the beach, if it wasn’t for the light breeze, we’d be getting cooked. Still, the idea of cooling my toes in the water isn’t so bad. Almost attractive, if it wasn’t for the hellish walk to get there. Once again, I seem to have an uncanny ability to place my feet onto the sharpest rocks I can find. I’m surprised I’m not bleeding anywhere yet.
Alice meanwhile is about ten feet ahead of me, rushing towards the sea much more eagerly, as if she’s impervious to the pain of walking on hot, sharp stones.
“Oh my God, it’s lovely! Not cold at all.” Alice exclaims as she takes the first steps into the water.
I soon follow, finding a definite chill travelling up my spine when I take the first dip. Then, I must admit it’s pleasantly cooling.
As soon as I’m knee-deep in the water, a wave comes and wets most of the rest of me too. I squeal, trying to regain my balance, while Alice’s laugh rings loudly in my ear. It takes all sorts of inelegant acrobatics for me not to fall over.
“Very funny,” I remark dryly, while Alice continues to giggle at me.
“It was. You should’ve seen yourself.”
I take a few steps in her direction, emboldened by my desire for revenge, and try to splash water at her. She promptly dives down under the water, evading me and wetting the rest of her body in the process, ruining my plans. No matter, I’ll get you sooner or later!
When she pops up again, she gives me a wide smile.
“See? It’s fun!”
Another wave rolls in and she paddles along with it effortlessly, while I’m again almost thrown off my feet. But I refuse to go in further where the waves are less intense. Just because I’m grumpy about moving home, doesn’t mean I’m ready to drown myself.
Five, maybe ten minutes pass while we continue to soak ourselves. It occurs to me that our stuff is sitting in a crowd of strangers, unguarded, and I decide to head back.
“You enjoy yourself I’m going to read now,” I call out to Alice, who has gotten distracted by a stray volleyball, thrown in her direction by a group of guys also enjoying the waves.
“Fine, see ya!” She waves at me, then throws the ball back to one of the guys. Well, I guess she’s not going to get bored at this rate.
I’m in the process of limping back to my towel, when my stomach starts to growl. Of course, in our hurry to get out of the house, neither of us bothered with lunch, or packed any snacks. A quick scan of the surrounding area reveals that the only thing somewhat nearby is a food truck close to where we left the boulevard. That’s one hell of a walk.
Needs must, so I grudgingly take my wallet and phone out of my bag and go on limping over the hot stones. Why couldn’t we have gone to a sandy beach instead of here?

 

New Release: Gratis: Transformation

If you’re on my mailing list, you’ll already know this, but today Gratis: Transformation, the third of the Gratis Erotica Anthologies I’ve organised has officially been released! These short story collections offer sexy stories from numerous authors in a variety of erotic sub genres.

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Smashwords Google Play | All Romance Ebooks | Apple

 

Win amazing prizes!

To celebrate this release, we’ve put together an awesome prize package which one lucky winner could win, incl. an Amazon.com gift certificate and a selection of ebooks.
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Friday Filth: The Rebound List

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In preparation of Monday’s official launch, here’s a little snippet of something that happens early on in The Rebound List… 

Looking at him, despite the dimmed light of the theatre, still I feel a jolt run through me when our eyes meet. He runs his fingers through my hair again. Hoping this is going where I want it to, I look at his lips, so tempting. I want to taste him, right here and immediately.

His hand cups my cheek but he continues to just look as if asking for permission. Over-eager and impatient, of course I jump the gun and reach for him, planting a soft kiss on his lips. I feel his breath against me, his arms drawing me towards him closer.

He kisses me back. It’s a bit awkward at first but then our lips, tongues, our beings seem to be in tune. Every inch of me appears to sing with excitement. My eyes flick open and find his staring into me, smiling as I am.

I wrap my arm around his neck, my hand reaching for his hair now. It’s hard not to get carried away, after all, a cinema does not afford all that much privacy. But I suppose there’s no harm in indulging my impulses just a little.

Running my fingertips over his shirt, I enjoy the outlines of what I know to be underneath. Mystery is overrated. I have spent enough time looking at, no, studying his naked photographs to know what awaits me and frankly, that’s reassuring as well as arousing.

He doesn’t have this advantage though, until today he had only seen the bottom half of my face and my eyes and that too in black & white instead of colour. I kiss him with more energy, more passion and feel a moan travel over my lips. Was it mine or his? Does it even matter?

Suddenly aware of angry stares burning into us, I pause, biting my bottom lip and try to signal to make him aware of the grumpy man ahead of us. He continues to hold me, grinning back at me until I decide to turn and use him as a backrest; his arm draped across my front in a similar position as you’d keep a seatbelt in a car.

He seems to be enjoying this changed dynamic as much as I am, because he starts to nuzzle my neck, where all the little hairs at the back stand right up. His hand, fingertips soft and careful, running up and down on the fabric of my dress, just over where my ribs end and the soft part of my waist starts. It’s beautiful, the slow progress we’re making towards the inevitable.

The movie, although kind of gory and scary, passes by quickly and largely unnoticed. His face remains comfortably resting in the crook of my neck and I’m hanging onto his arm, my hand travelled up his sleeve just enough to hold him. There should be no mistaking that I want him here, this close and even closer to me.

His confidence grows and he wraps his other arm around me too, caressing my arm which is still pretty cold in the unnaturally chilled cinema air. By the time the credits start, I can’t wait to get out, away from grumpy man who interrupted our first, tentative kisses.

“I think I want to go…” I say.

He sits up, letting go as I turn towards him.

“Thought it was going well…” he says, his gaze lingers on my lips just a bit.

“Oh yeah, I meant both of us, somewhere more private… if you want to.” I smile at him. “You didn’t think that I want to leave? No, not at all.”

Want more? You could read part one of The Rebound List already for free as part of Gratis: Midwinter Tales. 

The Rebound List – Finished! (Psst, wanna see the cover?)

I know people have been waiting for this, and it’s way late, but I can finally (sort of) breathe a sigh of relief. The first draft of the final instalment of The Rebound List is now finished! Now it just needs a bit of an edit, some spit and polish, and I’ll be ready to send it out to early readers. Just as a reminder; If you’d like to beta read this book, please contact me on social media, by email, comment here, etc. Although The Rebound List was conceived as four short stories, fear not if you’ve not read the first three, because I’ll be handing out early copies of the entire novel edition. You won’t miss a thing! Anyway, before revealing the cover, further down below, a little reminder of what we’re talking about here…

The Rebound List – Coming out on 28th July 2014!

After nearly four years with Jeff, everything fell apart. I found myself single, scared, but somehow liberated as well. Rather than stumble into another ill advised relationship, my best friend Sally helped me find focus. I would spend the next few months “finding myself” sexually. That’s how The Rebound List was born.

My journey begins with the first item on my list – a virgin. But it’s not easy to go from squeaky-clean committed girlfriend to wanton sex goddess. Hopefully I’ll have the guts to follow through!

What (or whom) would you do to celebrate your freedom after your first serious relationship breaks down?

The Cover, at last!

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Photo-manipulation by Graphic Artist Cindy Grundsten, typography by yours truly 😉

Let me know what you think? And again, if you’d like to help out by beta-reading, or would be happy to read an early review copy, please let me know 🙂