November 30, 2012

Germany: Castles along the Rhine Part 3


Last part of the castles we've seen during our cruise along the Rhine in summer. This castle is called "Maus" (meaning: mouse):



If you'd like to find out more about Castle Maus, please visit this website.
Castle Rheinfels



Castle Stolz


November 26, 2012

Cross Stitch Free Pattern #7

This week's pattern features John Barrowman.I stitched this pattern myself about a year ago, this is how it looked when it was finished:






You can download the pattern here.

November 19, 2012

Germany: Castles along the Rhine Part 2

Like I said in the post on last Saturday, there are castles and ruins everywhere along the Rhine. Here are some more pictures:

Castle Katz

Castle Katz



Marksburg

Marksburg

Marksburg

For more on Marksburg, please visit this website.

November 16, 2012

Cross Stitch Free Pattern #6

If you're searching for awesome cross stitch charts, you might want to check out Shinysun's Cross Stitching's site.

This week's free pattern features a Sheltie:

Pattern created from a picture from [Ian Kahn]  FreeDigitalPhotos.net
You can download the pattern here.

November 12, 2012

The Next Big Thing


The sweet and always helpful M.A. Church tagged me for the ongoing game of The Next Big Thing, in which authors get to talk about their favorite thing: their work, and what their current Work in Progress is.


So, what's my Next Big Thing?


Image courtesy of [Evgeni Dinev] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
What is your working title of your book?
Secret Chemistry II—very original, I know. ;-) I'm still waiting for inspiration...

Where did the idea come from for the book?
This story is a sequel to Secret Chemistry, which will be released by Dreamspinner Press in January. While Secret Chemistry is a standalone, there are still some open questions. Also, one of the side characters, Robin (a white wolf), demanded to tell his story too. Since he's one cute, and very persistent young man, I couldn't resist. ;-)

What genre does your book fall under?
It belongs to the paranormal genre (it's a shape-shifter story).

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I don't know of any actors who resemble Robin and Peter. Btw, at first Peter's name was John. Then it occurred to me that I wasn't writing about Robin Hood...

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
One-sentence synopsis? For real? I have enough trouble writing five-sentences synopses! Oh well, let's have a try:
Robin Evans is happy to find his mate, Peter, but his happiness doesn't last—the prejudices of some people endanger his and his family's safety.
Uh, yeah, I think I'll stick to the longer synopses.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither, I hope. I just finished revising the manuscript and sending the first chapters to my beta reader. When it's completely beta'd and I've cursed enough about the synopsis, I'll submit it to Dreamspinner.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It took me four months though I have to admit that there were times when I didn't work on the manuscript for a week or two because there was just too much real life stuff interfering.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I have honestly no idea.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I like the idea of shape-shifters in general but wanted to see how it would work if the shape-shifters aren't pure blooded. Both books deal with prejudices because at least one of the characters isn't “just” a werewolf, he's a hybrid—a mix between a werewolf and another animal.
I realized only a short while ago that the topic of prejudices plays a major role in most of my stories.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Peter is a bit of an odd guy. He phrases things in an old-fashioned way, and also doesn't get jokes or book references, which makes for some interesting situations. 




I've tagged two other authors to keep the game going:

H.B. Pattskyn, author of Heart's Home and Bound: Forget Me Knot

Grace Duncan, who will publish her first novel Choices in march 2013

November 11, 2012

Coming Soon: A Purrfect Match

A Purrfect Match will be released on December 10th! It'll be available as e-book and as paperback (how cool is that?).

Blurb:

When a bad day at work culminates in losing out on a promotion, Jim Sanders shifts into his animal form to let off steam. Then his bad day turns into a bad night—while prowling his Atlantic City neighborhood as a large gray house cat, he’s caught in a torrential downpour. What little luck he has washes down the gutter when his new boss, Andrew Wright, catches him taking shelter on his porch, brings him inside, and starts calling him Mr. Frosty.

As a feline, Jim becomes the inadvertent confessor for his boss’s lonely son, Tony, a victim of schoolyard bullying. As a human, he feels drawn to Andrew, a man he wanted to resent. Finding love was never part of Jim’s plan for the future—not with his bizarre secret—yet suddenly he finds himself navigating that minefield anyway. But not everything is easy, especially for an interracial gay couple dealing with prejudice in the workplace, at Tony’s school, and even within their own families.

Dreamspinner Press now has pre-oder buttons on their website...

I really love the cover Shobana Appavu created for the book, Jim and Andrew look exactly how I imagined them.

I'll definitely do a giveaway in time and let you know.

November 10, 2012

Germany: Castles along the Rhine Part 1

When my friend remydoodle visited this summer, we took two cruises on the Rhine. One was a one-hour trip and the other one was a seven hour trip. You can book all kinds of cruises with various companies, and if you ever visit Koblenz, I'd highly recommend to at least take one trip.

There are a lot of castles--some are in private hands, some are open to the public--and ruins scattered along the Rhine. Here are some pictures:





These two castles below are called "The Hostile Brothers". In case you're interested in their story, please visit this website.








November 07, 2012

Cross Stitch Wednesday & Free Pattern #5

This week's free pattern features another fox kit (did I mention I have a thing for foxes? ^_^):






You can download the pattern here.

November 05, 2012

Interview & Excerpt with H.C. Brown

I'm pleased to welcome H.C. Brown today. Today is the release day of her new novel Hurt Me Good.

Title: Hurt Me Good
Release Date: 5 November 2012
Author: H.C. Brown
Author Website: www.hcbrown-author.com
Publisher: Dreamspinner press

Genre: Contemporary, M/M, BDSM, Erotic Romance.
Blurb: Harper Cole may look like a best-selling author doing 
 research for his next book, but underneath it all, he is a badass Dom and ex-rock star looking for a sub. When he meets a sexy stripper at the local gym, he uses the pretense of doing research for his next erotic novel to get close to the delicious man.

To the world Flame is a self-confident male stripper and acclaimed modern dancer, but deep down, he carries a crippling secret that stops him from trusting anyone. When Harper saves him from a life-threatening attack, Flame starts to open up, and even though his vanilla preferences don’t exactly match with Harper’s plans, he finds himself attracted to the big Dom.

Their worlds collide, leaving both men reeling. Harper is determined to show Flame the benefits of taking a ride on the wild side, but Flame cannot trust his heart to another man. What will it take to bring these two men together? It’s up to Harper, as the Dom, to make it happen… if it’s possible at all.


1-Welcome H:C. Brown! Congrats to your new release! Please tell us a bit about it.
H.C. Brown- Hurt Me Good is about an ex rock star badass Dom trying to tame an arrogant vanilla stripper. Harper Cole has no idea that Flame has a past involving blackmail. The ice-man Flame has lost his trust in men and Harper is just the man to help him love again.


2-In what locale is your most recent book set? Why did you choose this setting?
H.C. Brown- It’s contemporary set in a few places, New York and a fictional town. The ex rock star is a  
bestselling author, so his agent is in New York.


3-How long have you been writing?
H.C. Brown- Ten or so years.


4-What was your first published book and what compelled you to write this particular story?
H.C. Brown- Murder By Design, it is a story that came to me after reading about the Nicole Simpson 
murder.


5-When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?
H.C. Brown- Totally fictional.

6-Why did you start writing m/m?
H.C. Brown- A difficult question, no reason really but I hope my books all hold the message that everyone should be allowed to love in peace as long as its within the law.

7-What are you reading right now? Do you have a favorite author?
H.C. Brown- I try to read four books a month . . . as in novels. I like to try different authors, right now I 
reading Jessica Slade, Forged of Shadows. Favorite author is Diana Gabaldon.


8-What are you working on now?
H.C. Brown- I’m polishing a M/M paranormal romance novel , I’m working on the sequel to Hurt Me 
Good, a sex fantasy erotic romance m/f called Hot 21 and a story called Sex Games.


Would you like to share an excerpt of your new release?
H.C. Brown - Sure, thanks for having me today.


Here is a taste of Hurt me Good:

Sweat stung his eyes. His muscles cramped. The overexertion burned, sizzling through shoulders to biceps shuddering with effort. The weight bar slipped in Harper Cole’s damp grasp. The massive weight dropped, stopping inches from crushing his neck. He gripped the bar tighter. Pain radiated through his jaw from clenched teeth. He panted. I’m like a fucking woman in labor.
“Put your back into it!—One more. Come on, you fucking wimp,” his spotter screamed.
“Fuck you.” Harper dragged in a deep breath, gritted his teeth, and shoved from his gut.
The barbell slammed into the frame. Giddy from exertion, Harper slowly rolled up. Although he wanted to cuss out his cousin, Josh, he grinned. “That’s enough for today. Thanks for spotting me, man.”
“Enough?” Josh eyed him critically. “You spend too much time in your office. You’re getting soft.” He raised a brow. “You used to be fit, man. Fuck, only two years ago you were rocking out on stage with Too Hotz and doing world tours. Being a millionaire has turned you into a pussy.”
Harper peeled the long, sweat-soaked strands of hair from his face and secured the shoulder-length mass with a strip of leather. “Soft? I work out every day.” Admittedly, not like the torturous session he had endured today. Josh had pushed him to the limit. Fuck, his arms ached like a bitch.
“You need to be moved out of your comfort zone.” Josh shrugged. “Or you’ll end up with a barrel instead of a six-pack.”
With a grunt, Harper glared at Josh. “I can beat your best by ten presses, wimp.”
“Oh yeah?” Josh raised a brow. “Are you challenging me, cuz?”
“Fuck yeah. Every morning, here, at eight,” Harper growled. “No one beats me.”
“You’re on.” Josh narrowed his eyes. “One week will sort out who has the biggest balls.”
“I’ve won already.” Harper smirked and rolled his numb shoulders. His gaze drifted across the gym. A vision of male perfection sliced into his line of sight. Wearing nothing but a baggy blue T-shirt and a towel slung low about his narrow waist, the young man moved with seductive grace toward him. The delectable apparition stopped less than five feet away. A sharp stab of awareness curled in Harper’s balls. Damn. The sweet thing went up on his toes to collect a fresh towel from the stack beside the door to the sauna. The vision reached up to the shelf and exposed a glimpse of tight buttocks.
This twink had everything Harper craved for in a sub, including the small nubile body and delicate features to the shock of ruby hair. The man had cut his hair very short above his ears. From the crown of his head silken strands fell over one side of his face. The rest of the long center mass had been styled in a wide Mohawk fashion. The top spilled over, sending a cascade of red tumbling down to the twink’s shoulders. Harper’s gaze dropped to the diamond studs glistened in both ears. Hmm—high maintenance.
Groaning inwardly, Harper took in the arched brows, the full lips held in a sullen pout. Hot damn, the look of insolence in the boy’s deep blue eyes made Harper’s cock throb in anticipation. He shut his mouth with a click. Shit, had he been staring openmouthed at the tempting man? How fucking infantile was that? Dragging air into his lungs, he lifted his chin toward the young man heading into the sauna. He pounded a fist against his heart. “Have… mercy.” His gaze followed the guy across the room. Fuck, he would get off just rimming the sweet thing’s navel. “Now that is a wet dream walking.”
“Don’t waste your time.” Josh ran a hand through his hair. “The boy is vanilla all the way. Trust me, many have tried to get close but that guy might as well live on a different planet.” He threw a towel at Harper. “Not even you will be able to win him over.”
With a growl of disgust, Harper turned to his cousin. The man had a “you’re fucked” grin. “Is that another challenge, cuz? Nah, don’t bother. That sweet boy is mine.” He scratched the itchy day-old bristles on his chin. “What do you know about him? How old is he?”
“That delicious piece of ass is a dancer by the name of Flame. I met him on a shoot I did last month for Rock On magazine. He does a lot of work on music clips and a spot on Friday nights at the Lala Club on Grove. I’d say he’s around twenty-three. The Lala doesn’t allow strippers to work underage, and Flame’s danced there for over a year. He’s one hell of a stripper.” Josh headed for the locker room. “I’m guessing you’ll want a sauna about now?” He turned and grinned at Harper. “I’ll join you until things get too hot.”
Harper relaxed the tension in his jaw. Being attracted to a barely legal boy was not his style. Okay, so he liked his men small, but not wimps. He craved a sub with an in your face attitude. Oh yeah, to have one submit to his flogger would be a dream made in heaven. Fighting the urge to lick his lips, he followed Josh into the changing room, stripped off, and then made his way to the sauna. Wrapped in a white fluffy towel barely covering his aching cock, he sat on a bench opposite the young man. Apart from Josh, propped up in the corner at the far end of the room, and sweet thing, the room was deserted. He smiled into the steam. The boy had stripped off his shirt to reveal pierced nipples. So, you’re not opposed to piercings. Fuck, I’d like to suckle those tight little buds. Harper unconsciously fingered the bar stud in his nipple and had the sudden inexplicable desire to drop his towel to display the stud piercing his shaft. He glanced at Josh, stretched out on a bench with his eyes shut. The memory of the dare, which resulted in his cock stud, flashed through his mind. He had vaguely remembered making the bet with Josh during an evening of drunken stupidity. Harper groaned inwardly and recalled neither of them would back down. Man, he’d never forget the subsequent weeks of forced celibacy he had endured following that night.
Harper’s gaze travelled over the young man. The smell of Flame’s sweat, fresh and intoxicating, drifted over him. His heart raced at the sight of lickable,smooth, hairless skin on the dancer’s chest, belly, and legs. He ran his tongue around his mouth imagining the taste of damp, waxed flesh. A tattoo of a blue dragon wrapped around the delicious guy’s left side, disappearing around his back, and circling his waist. The long forked tail curled tantalizingly around one thigh. He fought the overpowering desire to grab the offending towel obscuring his vision. Damn, he wanted to see where the rest of the dragon lay. Perhaps the dragon’s head rested in a nest of flaming red curls. Fuck, the thought alone made his cock rear up for action.
Apart from a body Harper craved to lick slowly all over, the young dancer had the face of an angel—well not angelic—ethereal. The sweet thing would make one hell of a fae character in one of his stories. Although small, Flame had the sculpted muscle—the kind that bunched under restraints. Hell yeah. Harper licked his lips. Over taut muscle stretched white unmarked skin—the kind that blushed under his flogger. Fuck, he would start to drool at any moment.
With a sigh, Harper lifted his gaze from the man’s delicious body and met a pair of inquisitive eyes. Harper shrugged, swiping the sweat from his face. “Sorry to stare, man. I recognize you from somewhere. Have we met?” He held out his hand. “Harper Cole.”
“Flame.” He acknowledged Harper’s handshake and continued in an educated British accent. “We haven’t met but I get around. You may have seen me on TV or at the Lala.” He raised a brow. “I do recognize you. In fact, I’ve read all your books.” He waved toward Josh. “I thought Josh was you for some time. You look very much alike.”
Would you like to know me better, boy? “Yeah, we’re cousins but my eyes are green.” Harper chuckled. “And Josh can’t write a word. He’s into photography as you probably know.” He gripped the edge of the bench and leaned forward. “Flame is an unusual name—it suits you. I would love to see you dance one day… Flame.Oh yeah, dance just for me, sweet thing.
“The Lala doesn’t have a ban on authors as far as I know… Harper,” said Flame dismissively. With a sullen pout, he rose gracefully to his feet and walked to the brazier. He lifted the scoop from the water barrel and poured a long stream over the hot stones.
Harper peered through the billowing steam. He swallowed. Flame blatantly avoided him, dropped his towel, and climbed on the bench with cat-like grace to stretch out deliciously naked on the wooden slats. The dragon’s open maw sat gaping above a mouthwatering, hairless package. He noticed Flame had pasted a small smile on those petulant ruby lips. The sweet thing knows exactly what he’s doing to me?—Christ, he’s using the mindfuck—On me, the king of the mindfuck! The next moment Josh appeared through the white cloud and stood beside Harper with an amused expression. Harper dragged his gaze from the naked perfection before him and glanced up at his cousin.
“I’m hitting the shower.” Josh winked. “Take your time. I’ll wait for you in the coffee shop across the road.”
“Sure, give me ten.” Damn it, now the boy would think he planned to hit on him. He dashed a hand through his damp hair. With effort, he pulled his attention away from a drop of sweat running from the dragon’s eye tattoo like a tear, to spill down Flame’s flat belly, in a trail of gloss over his cock and apricot shaped sac. His mouth went dry. Oh Lord, he could almost taste those perfect balls. He cleared his throat. “No, I haven’t seen you dance at the Lala. I’ve just moved in on Roseland this week. I’m looking for mental stimulation for my muse.”
“In Ropes, no doubt?” Flame opened his eyes a slit. “I’m sure you will find plenty to write about in that place.” He rolled over and rested his head in one hand. “Although your stories show the tender side of love, not the brutality of BDSM.” He swiped his tongue across his lips. “I had no idea you were into the BDSM scene. Your books are so… so moving.”
“Actually, I’ve just finished writing a story about BDSM; it’s called The Beast in Me.” Harper grinned. “It’s a compassionate story about a sweet little sub.”
Flame scrutinized Harper under long lashes. “You look like a Dom and yet write with compassion. Is there a compassionate side hiding beneath your badass exterior?”
Shit. Another guy who thinks BDSM is all about sadism. Harper rubbed the back of his neck. “Oh, I can be gentle, hell yeah, cuddling is an important part of every scene we call it the cool down.” He sighed. “You have the same misconception of BDSM as many people in the vanilla world.” Trying to keep his gaze off the guy’s generous cock and hairless lick-me-all-over balls, he lifted his chin. “I don’t get off on beating my lovers.”
“Then why do you flog your subs?”
Harper coughed to cover a growl of frustration. This kind of crap drove him crazy. “Unless you’re down with the scene, our way of life is hard to explain. BDSM doesn’t turn normal people into raving lunatics; most times, it’s a release of everyday stress. You would be surprised how many guys in high-powered positions want to let go of the day’s tension by submitting absolutely to their Dom.” He shrugged. I guess you are worth the time to explain. “Trust plays a part. A sub trusts his Master to know what turns him on. A good Master considers his sub’s enjoyment paramount to his own pleasure.”
“I find it hard to believe whipping a man tied to a post is enjoyable to the one being brutalized.” Flame cupped his balls and shuddered. “It seems barbaric to me.”
Arrogant, self-assured, you would be a joy to train. “The sub being brutalized as you say would have requested that particular scene.” Harper met the intense, blue gaze boring into him. “Let me put it this way.” He pointed to Flame’s chest. “Why did you get your nipples pierced?”
“That is not the same thing at all.”
“Do you like the thrill of your lover pulling them with his teeth?” Harper leaned back and gazed into the man’s eyes. He dropped his voice to a whisper. “The pleasurable pain goes straight to your balls and heightens your sexual experience doesn’t it?”
“Yes, but that is not the same.”
“The thrill you feel is exactly the same, just a different degree of pleasure. There are a multitude of scenes to play out.” Harper mopped the sweat from his chest. “Some subs like to be kidnapped, restrained, and fucked. Others want to be spanked, flogged, whipped or whatever.” He stood up, letting the towel drop to the floor. “Some prefer to be tied up and licked all over, that’s not barbaric, is it?” Harper fingered his nipple ring. “I attract subs who like to be intimidated. It’s a rush for them for me to order them to lick my leathers in front of other Doms, or feel my tongue dominating their ass. Everyone is different with varying degrees of need, and as a Dom, I take all needs into consideration. I respect my subs’ wishes, I’m not a brute.” He bent down and placed his face an inch away from Flame’s cheek. The guy’s pupils had dilated to the extreme. “If you needed me to suck on your nipple rings, then that’s all I would do.” He slowly licked his lips in a blatant invitation. “Do you need a Dom in your life, someone to drive you to a state of arousal you could only dream of, a person you can trust to take care of you?”
“No.” Flame smiled thinly. “My body pays the rent. No one wants a bruised and battered dancer in their troupe.”
Harper traced a finger down Flame’s arm. Christ, the man’s scent would drive him over the edge. Lime mingled with all-male musk, the sweet, fresh kind that only came from exertion or hard, sweaty sex. His cock strained toward the twink. Grinding his teeth, he fisted his aching shaft. Fuck, he wanted those cherry lips on him, the stripper’s hot little mouth opening to take him deep. “Oh, I wouldn’t bruise you, but I’d make you come screaming my name.”
“Many have tried.” Flame pushed Harper away from him. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment.” He slid off the bench and bent to pick up his towel. He wrapped the damp material around his waist. “I will look forward to reading your next book.” He walked across the room toward the door. “A tender Dom… hmm, an interesting idea. Perhaps you should write about a man like you, a Dom who actually cares about his sub.” He turned and gazed at Harper for a long minute. “Not that BDSM is my flavor.”
“You’ll never know unless you try. I’m good at what I do, Flame.” Harper pumped his throbbing shaft. “I’m here same time every day if you change your mind.”
“I won’t.” Flame pulled open the door and left in a cloud of steam. 




The book trailer to Hurt Me Good is here:



November 03, 2012

Germany: Loreley

Most people associated a mermaid with this name. In reality, the Loreley is a rock on the eastern bank of the Rhine, near to Goarshausen. This particular rock marks the narrowst part of the river between Switzerland and the North Sea. The rock is 65m high, and there's a very strong current, which had lead to a lot of boat accidents.




Several myths are told about the Loreley. One of the most popular ones is about a woman, who is sort of a siren. She sits on the cliff above the Rhine and combs her golden hair. The men on the boats are distracted by her beauty and song, which causes them to crash on the rocks.The Russian artist Natascha Jusopov created a statue of the Loreley. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a close-up for the statue, so instead I'm giving you a link.




November 01, 2012

Cross Stitch Wednesday & Free Pattern #4

I know, technically it's not Wednesday anymore. Yeah, I forgot to post yesterday. Can I blame our upcoming move for it? I'm really not fond of moving; everything's chaotic, everyone is cranky and so on.

This time I'm offering you a cross stitch pattern of Hugh Laurie (House MD). I got this from www.PictureCraftwork.com. You can upload any picture you like and they convert it into a pattern for you. The service isn't free and I think they raised the price recently, but it's still a very good service.

I stitched this pattern for a friend as a birthday gift and that's how it looked in the end:


A close-up:


Download-link for Hugh Laurie cross stitch pattern is here.