Blast from the Past: Bound by Guilt by Sandra Bard

BoundByGuilt_postcard_front_DSPHi Kim, Thank you so much for arranging a day for me so I can ‘talk’ about something from my past.

It really is hard to believe Bound by Guilt came out so long ago—it was my first published novel in any genre.  I am extremely grateful to Dreamspinner for accepting my work and for giving me the best editors/ artists to work with; my first publishing experience was very, very, positive.

I have changed since I wrote this book, a lot has happened to me and altered my perception of the world. I changed jobs, found new friends, got a new piercing and a tattoo, travelled to several countries and wrote several other books in the meantime. And looking back on Bound by Guilt, I sometimes wish I could change something, tweak it here a little or perhaps wish I hadn’t written that sentence. But realistically, I regret nothing. I enjoyed writing that book and I like the way it turned out.

My main characters were both problematic and hard to like in the beginning though hopefully by the end they were likeable. Bound by Guilt was from the beginning to the end, Kit’s point of view and Kit was a troubled guy with a troubled past. Sasha on the other hand looked liked he had it all but of course, what’s a story without complications. Without giving too much of the plot away, I can safely say, Sasha was in fact more troubled than Kit. In the end, they needed each other  and I love it when my characters come across problems and overcome them by themselves—emerging better people than they were before.  But one thing I never do is give a final line to my story like, “They lived happily together for ever and ever” because that’s not what happens in real life.

There are pit falls and problems and I know where I left off implied more rough times for the pair before they can smooth out all the ‘kinks’ of their relationship. When I wrote Bound by Guilt I was sure I was going to write a follow up novel but by the time I got around to it, it seemed a little too late. But I am finally going to see to the end of that, hopefully there’ll still be readers who are interested in seeing what happened to Sasha and Kit after the end of the last book.

In conclusion, I would like the thank everyone who gave me a chance. It was my first book and since I know how reluctant I am to try out a new author at times, I am grateful to everyone who read my book. I hope, in the future, there’ll be people who will read another book of mine and go, ‘you know what, I’ve read her first book.’

BoundByGuilt_postcard_back_DSPSummary: Kit Mason works at Eddy’s, a boutique where the clothes are chic, the paycheck’s weak, and Kit has no qualms about snagging rich older men looking to pay for play. When Cory St. James walks in, he checks all Kit’s boxes: he’s middle-aged, the entrepreneur of a pharmaceutical company, and already has a kept boy at home—what’s one more? Kit sets out to seduce Cory and bulldozes through his denials, but when Cory finally gives in, his lover, Sasha, catches them with their pants down. Sasha isn’t the pampered toy Kit expected. In fact, Kit may have misjudged him. And the consequences that ensue when Sasha catches Kit and Cory together leave him alone. Unwilling to be weighed down by guilt, Kit decides to look after Sasha himself, even if Sasha can’t stand the sight of him and there are a few things about Kit’s past he doesn’t want Sasha to know. But Kit isn’t willing to do all the work when it comes to forcing Sasha to rebuild his life. It’s a slow process of growing trust and learning to stand on their own—and together.

About the author: Sandra Bard

Sandra Bard has been writing stories ever since she was a small girl but she’s only recently started to publish. She loves to make up stories in her head, read books, watch anime (mecha, yaoi), and occasionally visits a fan-fiction site. She lives with her pets (fish, cats and dogs), and has been a volunteer for an organization that takes care of stray dogs (there are many, where she lives), for over ten years. When she has some free time she dabbles in Wushu, Tai Chi, and Yoga to keep herself flexible (she hopes). Her real life jobs involve lecturing at the university and freelancing as a maths tutor. Though she writes romance stories, she still hasn’t met Mr. Right and hopes one day that she’ll be able to rescue him (whoever he may be) from a fire breathing dragon (or something equally daring). She would love to hear from her readers and can be found at her tumblr ( or emailed at


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All romance ebooks: (with excerpt)





Please welcome Andrew Q. Gordon!

First Love BT Banner

Thank you, Kim for letting me come borrow your space to talk a bit about my new release. I’ve long been a fan of yours and I enjoy the chance to come visit.

First Love has its origin in what was basically one sentence in The Last Grand Master. At one point Farrell tells Prince Peter of Belsport in passing about his first love. It was ten years before the opening of The Last Grand Master and Farrell’s mother—Queen Zenora—and teacher—Heminaltose—were still alive.

First Love not only shows what Farrell was like before the war began, it also let’s me show his mother and teacher, as well Yar-del City through Farrell’s eyes.

When I began writing the series, I think the first ‘place’ I envisioned was Haven and the Plaines of Gharaha.  Yar-del City, however, is probably my favorite place in the ‘world.’ When Honorus sent His servant to Ardus, the lord of the gods tasked Kel with creating a kingdom in the virtually unsettled lands. Legend has it that Honorus, in the guise of a white eagle, guided Kel to the spot where he’d build his ‘gleaming city by the sea.’

As a wizard whose lifespan would be measured in centuries, not decades, Kel took his time with the construction of his throne city. Unlike other cities, which grew up around something—a fortress, town, trade center—Kel laid out his city from the first stone and included plans for future growth. He also had the assistance of small army of dwarves who relished the opportunity to build a lasting monument above ground.

Situated on a plateau overlooking the Kessan Ocean, Yar-del City didn’t lend itself to the sprawl that over large cities eventually experienced. And with the crown forbidding construction in and around the city, Yar-del City remained the way Kel envisioned when he began construction.

Farrell favored the high walls overlooking the sea. Other than the time spent with his mother, fondest memories of Yar-del were time times he sat on the walls and listened to the ocean crashing against the rocks below.

When we meet Farrell in The Last Grand Master, Yar-del had been conquered almost ten years prior. We never actually get to see Yar-del City in the series, in First Love, we get to see a tiny slice of the city. (I think, however, we will visit the city during book four if things go as I’ve planned)

There are times that really wish I could paint or draw so that I could transfer the image in my head to paper.  Maybe by the time we get to book four I can find who can create the city as I see it so very one reading can see what Farrell sees when he refers back to the city. Until then, it stays where it is.


First Love





First LovePUBLISHER: DSP Publication


SERIES: Champion of the Gods


RELEASE DATE: 27th January 2015


LENGTH: 40 Pages


BLURB: Prequel to The Last Grand Master A Champion of the Gods Story On a visit to Yar-del with Grand Master Heminaltose to celebrate his age of majority birthday, Farrell catches the eye of Lieutenant Cameron, a handsome young officer in the Queen’s Guard. But having spent most of his life cooped up at Heminaltose’s school for wizards, Farrell is clueless as to palace intrigue. He is unaware that his access to the queen is something others would greatly prize. When the queen points out that his suitor is the son of a social climbing minor noble, Farrell must decide whether to heed the warning or meet with Cameron anyway.




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Tenth hour would take an eternity to arrive, but they both had to attend to their duties. Although Cameron seemed suitably impressed by his appointment, it didn’t improve Farrell’s mood.


He stopped himself as he started to think of ways to get out of dinner. Not going wasn’t an option. More importantly, Heminaltose only allowed Farrell brief visits to Yar-del City to see his mother. Skipping dinner meant one less chance to spend time with her. And he’d see Cameron at tenth hour.


“Boy.” The deep voice behind Farrell made him freeze.


He turned slowly but already knew who he’d find. “Master Heminaltose.”


Dressed in his formal blue-gray robe, he leaned on his white wooden staff and tilted his head to the left. “What brings you to this out-of-the-way place? And why are you just standing there?”


Farrell had been in trouble often enough to know his master suspected him of something. When he tried to answer, his mouth went dry and his tongue turned to stone.


“Well?” The older man raised his bushy white eyebrows and peered down his nose at his student. “I’m waiting for an answer.”


His euphoric mood dashed, Farrell knew better than to lie. “I came here to meet someone.”




“Yes, Master, someone.” This approach never worked, but he’d been too embarrassed to answer directly.


“Don’t treat me like a fool.”


Despite being at least an inch taller than his teacher, Farrell felt like Heminaltose towered over him.


“I’m not, Master. I… I just….” His cheeks flushed and he started to sweat. “I’d rather not say.”


“Excuse me?”


“It’s private.”


“Private? You mean…?” Heminaltose jerked his head back and his eyes opened wider. “By the Six! Now? Your hormones have decided to kick in now?”


AUTHOR BIO: Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write.


He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of nineteen years, their daughter and dog.  In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day.





Twitter:  @andrewqgordon






Andrew Q. Gordon is giving away the following:

  • $15 DSP Gift Card
  • An E-copy of “Third Eye” by Rick R. Reed
  • An E-copy of “Ghost” by Carole Cummings
  • An E-copy of a book by J. Tullos Hennig


Contest Begins: 27th January, 2015

Contest Ends: 9th February, 2015


a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s Kim Reading Now? Housekeeping by (ahem) Kim Fielding

Yeah, okay, okay. Narcissism much? But the reason I want to mention this book isn’t because of the writing, but because I just listened to the audio version. It’s narrated by K.C. Kelly, who did such an amazing job with Brute. And he certainly didn’t disappoint me with this one.

I am a huge fan of K.C. Kelly. I’ve listened to him read Mary Calmes’ Frog, Ryan Loveless’s Ethan, Who Loved Carter, and Rowan Speedwell’s Love, Like Water. He did such a terrific job with all of them. So much so that even when it was my own book and I knew what would happen next, I sometimes walked extra blocks to hear some more.

Listening to my own books is a weird experience, because I’ve already heard those characters in my head. But K.C. Kelly managed to capture them exactly right, whether it’s Lord Maudit’s nasal irritability or Evan’s “darlings” and dramatic tones. He gets the emotions perfect too. The funny parts are funny, the sad parts are sad, and the sexy parts are sexy.

So whether you choose my books or someone else’s, you should give K.C. Kelly a try. I hope I am lucky enough to get him for future projects!

Blast from the Past: Royal Navy series by Lee Rowan

ransom home winds

The Royal Navy Series follows the relationship of William Marshall and David Archer from their first meeting as midshipmen in the late 1790’s through the Napoleonic War.  First published by Linden Bay Romance in 2006, the series is now being re-issued by Dreamspinner. The next book, Sail Away, is a collection of 4 novellas (one a debut) and a number of short ‘missing scenes’ and holiday pieces.




An officer, a gentleman… and a sodomite.  The first two earn honor and respect. The third, death.  Even as he finds himself falling in love with his shipmate, David Archer realizes that it’s a hopeless passion. Will Marshall’s first act aboard ship was to take pistol in hand and dispatch an older midshipman who made offensive advances. Will might not shoot David if he expressed his feelings, but friendship would surely turn to revulsion.


Will Marshall has never given much thought to feelings beyond duty, loyalty, and honor.  The Navy is a way to move beyond his humble origins, a chance at greatness. While others spend shore leave carousing, Marshall is more likely to be curled up with a navigation text.


Captured by accident when their captain is abducted, they become pawns in a renegade’s sadistic game.  To protect the man he loves, David Archer must compromise himself–trade his honor and his body for Will’s safety.  When Marshall learns of his friend’s sacrifice, he also discovers that what he feels for Davy is stronger and deeper than friendship.


The first challenge:  escape their prison.  The second: find a way to preserve their love without losing their lives.

Winds of Change Lieutenants William Marshall and David Archer, of His Majesty’s frigate Calypso, have been lovers for more than a year. Because the penalty for discovery is the hangman’s noose, they limit themselves to the occasional night of passion ashore.   But in the Navy, nothing lasts forever. A transfer to a new ship brings with it a bizarre turn of events: their captain orders them to behave as though they are involved in an illicit relationship in order to smoke out a suspected traitor. When their masquerade proves dangerously effective, it threatens to cost Davy his life.

Eye of the Storm The long war between England and France enters a fragile and temporary truce in the winter of 1802, but the lives of Commander William Marshall and Lieutenant David Archer are more complicated than ever. After almost losing Davy in battle, Will faces the responsibility of command and questions whether he can give orders that will put his love in harm’s way once more.   Doubts torment David Archer. Will walked away once, trying to end their relationship for Davy’s own safety. His physical wounds have healed, but the loss of trust remains. Now, his biggest challenge is persuading Will their love is worth the risk of loss.

Home is the Sailor

The Royal Navy meets the Stately English Manor Murder Mystery, and if it were only a matter of Colonel Mustard in the library, things would be so much easier. After an ambush by the French while on a routine surveillance mission, Will and David are advised to retreat to the English countryside to avoid Bonaparte’s animosity for a time. Upon their arrival at the Archer family seat, they discover that David’s eldest brother has died after a mysterious accident and this puts his other, very unsuitable brother in line for the title. David’s suspicions—that the new heir had a hand in his brother’s death—seem so unreasonable that even Will finds it difficult to believe his fears are valid. If Davy thought his lover was hard to convince, his autocratic father, who still sees him as the inept youngest son, won’t even listen to him. Davy and Will are thrust into the role of sleuths, trying to determine the truth behind the mystery. All the while Will has concerns of his own: his fear of losing Davy is still stronger than his desire to keep Davy beside him on the quarterdeck… but he knows no other life than the Navy.



An excerpt from Winds of Change:

All was in readiness.

The old tin box of mathematics texts had been down in the hold for months to get it out from underfoot.  The Purser had given his permission to keep it here in the locked store-room with other valuables, and it was not unreasonable for Lieutenants Marshall and Archer to be searching here, since they’d volunteered to coach one of their shipmates on His Majesty’s Frigate Calypso.   Midshipman Wilcoxon, a likeable young officer, needed to polish his skills if he hoped to pass the examination and qualify as a candidate for Lieutenant, and they wanted to help him succeed.

A candle-lantern lay on the floor, its flame snuffed from its apparently accidental fall.   If anyone were to walk in, they would have a means of explaining their presence here, and even an excuse for slight disorderliness.

As long as they were not taken completely unaware.   As long as they had time to pull their clothes together, to hide their true purpose.

William Marshall tensed as footsteps approached the door. He relaxed at the light scratching on the worn boards, their prearranged signal.

He pulled the door open only enough for his lover to dart through, then closed it and set a barrel where it would block its opening, a precaution to provide the moment they might need.  He rested his rump on the barrel and pulled Davy down upon him, and in the dark there was only the whisper of frantic clutching, urgent kisses, loosening trouser buttons with one hand to reach in and find that hot, smooth cock that leapt at his touch.  A minute of quiet, intense activity, then Davy was shivering against him, a muted whimper the only sound besides their breathing.

They were silent for a long moment after, listening for footsteps, for any sound of movement in the companionway.   But they were safe, so far, hearing nothing but the ever-present murmur of the sea.

He could hear Davy fumble with clothing, composing himself, caught a kiss in passing as his lover knelt at Will’s feet.  Then those clever fingers were moving on his body, unbuttoning, seeking.  The unbearable sweetness of lips and tongue were nearly enough to break the control that kept him silent, but he bit back the cry of pleasure as weeks of yearning were brought to a blinding surge of fulfillment.

He sat panting, unable to move, stroking the golden head resting in his lap.  But only for a moment.   His lover slid up to share a kiss; then, still without a word, they retrieved the lantern, struck a light, and located the volume which should help to unfold the arcane secrets of navigational geometry.   There was time enough for a final embrace and a quick inspection to assure themselves that there was no visible evidence of their illicit encounter.

Davy paused a moment in the empty companionway.  “Will—the Captain just passed word.  The pleasure of our company is requested at the change of watch.   All lieutenants and warrant officers.  Looks as though the rumors are true.”

“At least we’ll know, then.”  There was no way, there were no words, to express the fear in both their hearts.  Change was in the wind; the rumors had been circulating  since before Calypso arrived in Portsmouth.  If Captain Smith were to be transferred, as the rumors suggested, their lives were about to change drastically.

“If it’s true…” David Archer bit his lip, “and if the Admiralty are in a hurry…you and I may be sailing off in different ships by this time tomorrow.”

Will could not bring himself to admit it, but he knew that the past year they’d had together was more than they could have hoped for.   He’d only agreed to this hurried tryst because he also knew that it might be their very last time together as shipmates and lovers.   If they were to be given different assignments at the change of watch, they might never in this life see one another again.

But he could not bear to say that aloud, so he tried on a brave smile instead.   “We must trust to our luck, Davy.”

David’s handsome features were somber.   “Will, don’t forget there are two kinds of luck.  Dame Fortune’s not always kind.  She can be a cannibal bitch who eats her own young.”




A Few Reviews:


Author bio: Lee Rowan has been writing since childhood, but professionally only since spring of 2006, with the publication of her Eppie-winning novel, Ransom. She is a lady of a certain age, old enough to know better but still young enough to do it anyway. A confirmed bookaholic with a wife of  many years, she is kept in line by a cadre of cats and two dogs who get her away from the computer and out of the house at least once a day.

Different Tracks: Part 6


I’ve joined a great group of authors to write a round-robin story called Different Tracks. We’re posting installments every Monday and Thursday and today is my turn! The other authors are Sophie Bonaste, Brynn Stein, Grace Duncan, Suki Fleet, Elizabeth Noble, Lane Hayes and Charlie Cochet.

Here are links to the first five parts:

Different Tracks — Part 6


The interior of Xander’s Civic was much too small. Xander smelled good—soap, sweat, and sawdust—and the designs on his forearm shifted as he turned the steering wheel. He was skinny—wiry, maybe—but his arms were well-muscled. Droplets of water fell from his hair, dampening his collar. Peter imagined those droplets gliding slowly over bare skin, over the half-finished samurai tattoo, and he imagined licking them away. He shivered violently, then smiled a little when Xander reached over to turn up the heat.

Damn! Xander was so close to him!

Peter glanced at Xander, who was frowning and had caught his lower lip in his teeth. Peter tried hard to find something to say that wasn’t a double-entendre about eating meat. “You don’t—” he began.

Xander startled as if someone had shocked him. “What?” he asked, his voice unexpectedly raspy. He looked briefly at Peter, then back at the windshield, where the frantic swish-thump of the wipers did little to clear the sheeting rain.

Peter cleared his throat. “You don’t have to go to the diner if you don’t want to. I mean, it’s not mandatory or anything.”

“It kinda is.” Xander sighed. “Court order.”

“Ah.” Peter had been wondering about that. Xander worked as hard as any of the volunteers, but carpentry was clearly not his thing. “What did you do?”

“Chopped people up to make my prize-winning sausages,” Xander replied. When Peter snorted an inelegant laugh, Xander chuckled. “Got caught speeding.”

“You must’ve been driving pretty fast,” said Peter. Xander wasn’t driving fast now. In fact, he was crawling along as he dealt with poor visibility and slippery streets.

“I, uh, kinda got caught speeding four times.”

Jesus. He was gorgeous with that sheepish grin. “Well,” Peter said, “I don’t think they’ll give you the death penalty if you decide to skip the diner. I can call Mr. J and tell him you’re bowing out on account of crappy weather.”

Xander rolled to a stop at a light that was barely visible through the downpour. “How come you’re there every Saturday? Do you have a lead foot too?”

Peter did tend to drive pretty fast, but he’d been lucky enough to not get caught. “I’m just a volunteer,” he said. “It used to be something I did with my dad, and when he died, I guess I didn’t have the heart to give it up.”

“Sorry,” Xander murmured.

“Oh, it was a couple years ago. But thanks.”

“You guys must’ve been close.” Xander sounded a little wistful, Peter thought.

“We were when I was a kid. Then….” Peter hesitated a moment. Fuck it, he thought. Hiding the truth never works out well. “Then when I was sixteen I told him I’m gay.” He held his breath as he waited for a response.

Xander didn’t have a homophobic freakout and boot him out of the car. Instead, he turned to look at Peter, his brown eyes wide. “Yeah?”

It took Peter a moment to remember what he’d been talking about, and then he had to clear his throat again. “He, uh, didn’t take it well. We basically didn’t talk for months. But he got over it eventually. Then I guess he decided we needed more bonding time or something. He started joining me on Saturdays when I volunteered for Habitat. We always did a lot of construction chores on the farm anyway, so I guess it came naturally to him. Uh, the light’s green.”

Xander blinked before gently pressing on the gas. “Farm,” he said quietly. That was clearly more of a shock to him than Peter’s sexual orientation. He didn’t say anything right away. They came to another red light, and after he stopped, he rubbed the back of his neck with one hand. “Are you still a farmer now?” he finally asked.

“No. I still own the place—it’s been in the family for generations—and I live in the house where I grew up. But I lease out the land.”

“What do you do for a living?”

Peter looked at the dashboard of Xander’s fifteen-year-old car and then at the sexy tats on his sexy corded forearms. He winced as he admitted, “Software developer.”

“Seriously?” Xander’s eyebrows lifted. “You don’t look anywhere near geeky enough for that.”

“Um, thanks. I guess.”

“I can picture you better riding a tractor instead of a laptop. You’re… strong.”


And then because Xander was so goddamn near, and because Peter could hear him breathing even over the pounding of the rain and the roar of the car’s fan, Peter reached over and used one finger to trace the stubble along Xander’s jawline.

When Xander answered with a shudder and a low moan, Peter’s jeans became much, much too tight. “We don’t have to go to the diner,” he reminded Xander, hearing the catch in his own voice.

Xander’s eyes were very dark, as if the pupils had almost completely overwhelmed the irises. “Yeah?” he responded in a near-growl. “Where would we go instead?”

Peter smiled at him. “We could go to my place.”


Check in with Sophie Bonaste on Monday for Part 7!

Ooh! That’s Interesting! Gold Rush Cemeteries

A few weeks ago, I did a blog post about the Sonora cemetery. At the time, although I’ve been to Sonora many times, I’d never visited the old cemetery. I decided to remedy that last weekend. I dragged my kids out of the fog and up into the Sierra foothills, and we ended up visiting three cemeteries: the old Sonora cemetery, the Sonora Jewish cemetery, and the Columbia cemetery (about 3 or 4 miles away).

I have lots of pics to post, but today I want to share these because they tell intriguing stories.

017 We’ll start with these two men buried in Sonora. First there’s the tale of two men making the long and difficult journey from England to California. They came well after the Gold Rush, so I wonder what brought them. Mining jobs, perhaps–even today, there are active mines in the area. And one of them died pretty young, which was common then. According to this census, he died of “miner’s consumption”. I wonder how they ended up buried together, though. They must have been friends. Business partners? Lovers? Sharing a single gravesite and tombstone seems an intimate thing to do.



044 These two men were also countrymen, this time from Italy. Their headstones don’t tell us how old they were when they died, only that they died a few months apart. They’re buried in Columbia. Their plot is a large one, and I wonder if the entire plot was bought by a collective of Italian immigrants. If anyone else is buried there, there’s no marker.


053This is the one that intrigues me the most of all. It’s just inside the entrance of the Columbia cemetery. Judging by their ages and dates of birth, I’m guessing both men came to California in search of gold–and both met tragedy. Joel died at age 30–we don’t know from what–and Jacob was murdered 4 years later. What interests me isn’t just that they’re buried next to each other. Look at the inscription on Joel’s stone: it says the stone was erected by his friend, Jacob. What kind of friendship did they have that not only involved Jacob paying for the stone, but actually putting his name on it? You don’t have to be a novelist to start imagining possibilities.

Here’s today’s final photo. There’s no mystery here–just my daughters in the Columbia jail.

I hope you’re interested in this part of the country, because I’m getting ready to submit a novel set very near Columbia and Sonora. It’s a contemporary and I am especially in love with the main characters, Jimmy and Shane. It’s called Rattlesnake. I’ll keep you updated.

I have lots more pics to post, plus more photos from the Stockton Asylum, so stay tuned on upcoming Wednesdays!


Look what I have!

Drew card for 55print

That’s right! Courtesy of the talented and wonderful Catherine Dair, it’s Drew Clifton from Speechless and The Gig. He has a cameo in Bone Dry too. AND! I just signed a contract with Dreamspinner for a new novel, Astounding!, and Drew makes a small appearance there too. It’ll release in June or July.

Isn’t Drew gorgeous?? But we can’t leave him by himself, can we?

Travis card for 55 print

Yes! Catherine’s also given us Drew’s beloved, Travis Miller.

I’ll be making these guys into trading cards soon–to give away at cons like GRL and GRNW. But would you be interested in seeing them on greeting cards too? Or anywhere else? Please let me know.

And give Cath some major props for drawing my boys so beautifully!

What’s Kim Reading Now? Learning from Isaac by Dev Bentham

I had the pleasure of meeting Dev Bentham at GRL last October–she watched me lose at blackjack. But Learning from Isaac is the first book of hers that I’ve read. I’ll be reading more.

Do you get in moods for a sweet book with low levels of angst and some hot sexy scenes? I do. But the book has to be well-written, too. I have to care about the characters and believe in their romance. Learning from Isaac fits the bill perfectly.

Frankly, I’m not often attracted to books in academic settings because due to my day job, I spend way too much time in the ivory tower already. But this book about a professor falling for his almost ex-student dealt with academia deftly, without overdoing it. The book also handled the age difference well. I also enjoyed the inclusion of Passover, a holiday rarely depicted in m/m romance.



Blast from the Past: Hot Cargo by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna

Blast From the Past – Hot Cargo by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna

HotCargoFSTake two writers, a mutual friend’s birthday, her well-known fascination with science fiction, stir and what do you get? Hot Cargo, of course.

Eight or so years ago, Nicki and I wanted to give a friend a present for her birthday, so we wrote a little something, a one-shot sexy scene with a sci-fi setting, and posted it on a writer forum we were all three a part of. She loved it.

Three months later, she came down with pneumonia, so we wanted to write something to cheer her up. She loved the first one, she still loved science fiction, so we wrote her a second one.

Then another friend, who had loved both parts, had a birthday, so we wrote a third one.

Then the first friend’s birthday came around again….

You get the idea. Suddenly we had 20,000 words of loosely connected sex scenes, two characters people seemed to adore, and absolutely no idea how to turn them into a book. We threw ourselves on Lynn’s mercy and tried to come up with an actual science fiction plot to hold the book together. (We really just wanted another excuse to write hot, kinky sex, but you know, we needed some semblance of a plot.) After a long weekend of brainstorming, we had a plan, and off Nicki and I went to start writing.HealinginHisWingsFS

That went great, right up until Peter needed somewhere to run. Oops. Except that I’d written a sci-fi novella with a main character whose best friend from childhood was named Peter. Hmm….

Hot Cargo became a series, with that link to Healing in His Wings.

Several years later, Lynn and Elizabeth made a list of things they couldn’t ever see Dreamspinner publishing. One of those things was tentacle sex. Nicki and I burst out laughing because Blaise’s best friend Harry had tentacles, and wouldn’t it be a feat of writing if we could make him the romantic lead in a story of his own? Lynn looked at us skeptically and agreed that if we wrote it convincingly, she’d read it and see. Something About Harry wraps up the Hot Cargo series pairing Peter’s former first mate with Blaise’s best friend. Sasha finds Harry far too fascinating to even care about the tentacles. After all, when the one touching you is the one you love, it’s all good, right?

You can read all three books at Dreamspinner Press!



Captured and accused of piracy, privateer Blaise Risner, captain of the Golden Stallion, finds himself in a clinch – literally – with Confederation Admiral Peter Keller, who promises to see justice done by way of hard labor. But when the chemistry between them rivals the heat of the twin Talixin suns, the dominant admiral decides he wants to handle the rehabilitation of the provocative pirate himself. After their first close encounter, Blaise figures that serving Keller in such a personal capacity won’t be such a terrible sentence.

Keller dispenses his own forms of painful justice and sensual discipline, which usually involve a not-so-resistant Blaise on his knees bound and determined to give as good as he gets. The privateer can’t deny that suffering the handsome admiral’s punishments makes him burn like the fires of the Horsehead Nebula. Serving in the roles of prisoner and captor defines their ‘relationship’, but no power can stop a shooting star … the star of startling passion that flares every time they touch.

Just when Blaise thinks he can navigate the treacherous asteroid field of emotion to find common ground with Keller, an interstellar war tears them apart. Through it all, Blaise’s desire for his captor stands as tall and strong as the monoliths of Maraven, and he’ll go to the very edge of the galaxy and back if that’s what it takes to crack the ice around the admiral’s heart




“Report to the zero-g chamber in ninety minutes,” Peter ordered, walking away without a backward glance. He knew Blaise wouldn’t dare disobey him. The ex-smuggler might push his limits every chance he got, but the Admiral knew they both enjoyed the consequences of those actions. In the meantime, he’d ensure he learned everything Petrov had to disclose about the most recent attack.


“Yes, sir,” Blaise replied to Keller’s retreating back. He finished changing out the last light bulb quickly and returned his cart of supplies to the maintenance closet. Deciding he had enough time for a shower, Blaise returned to his quarters and turned the ’fresher on high, letting the hot water wash away the grease and grime of the day. Relaxed afterward, body humming in anticipation, he grabbed a quick bite to eat before reporting as ordered to the zero-g training room, figuring he might not be free again for quite some time.


It hadn’t taken Peter as long as he’d thought to grill Petrov. Unfortunately, the Pleides’s captain didn’t have as much information as he’d hoped, the attackers once again leaving frustratingly little evidence in the wake of their destruction. He’d pumped Arkady for everything he could remember, but other than the now-familiar energy signature, there’d been nothing but smoking ruins left behind. Peter had cursed as he looked over the vid-scans after Petrov left. The small mining facility hadn’t had much of value to attract pirates, and it didn’t appear the attackers had made any attempt to claim any of the ore from the storage silos before blasting them – and the planetoid’s dozen miners – into ions. Scowling at the images of senseless devastation, he keyed off the display and stalked toward the zero-g chamber, determined to work off some of his aggression.


He was finishing up his preparations when the door swished open and Blaise entered, his attitude as unconsciously arrogant as ever. The Admiral was sure that Blaise’s rebellious attitude was one reason he had yet to tire of the younger man as he had all his earlier subs – that, and the fact that the smuggler made him hotter than the surface of a supernova. As soon as the door closed behind Blaise’s tight ass, Keller tapped the controls to lock the door and kill the chamber’s gravity. “Show me how well you can maneuver in freefall,” Peter ordered. “Strip.”


Blaise was no rank beginner. He had worked more ships than probably most of the sailors under the Admiral’s command, and many of them had been little more than junkyard scrap. He’d had plenty of experience with freefall, mostly when the gravity generators failed. With confident ease, he moved slowly to keep himself from spinning out of control, unbuttoning the fastenings on his ship suit and sliding it off his shoulders and down over his hips.


Peter watched the smuggler appreciatively as Blaise gracefully wriggled his way out of his work uniform, revealing his bare skin and the fact that his cock didn’t require gravity to get hard. “Very good,” he acknowledged, completely comfortable after decades of zero-g experience. “But in your former line of work, you were alone on your ship most of the time. What would you do if you had a shipmate who needed your … assistance?”


“Do you need my assistance, Admiral?” Blaise asked teasingly, though he was also following protocol. He would never approach a shipmate in zero-g conditions without alerting the other person to his intentions.


“One of these days, Blaise, that mouth of yours is going to get you into real trouble,” Peter warned. “Let’s see if you can make it over here without knocking me into orbit, for a start.”


Blaise pushed off gently, floating smoothly across the room, aiming for a spot a little to Keller’s left. “Would you have preferred I come sailing over here with no warning whatsoever?” he countered as he caught himself smoothly on the railing next to the Admiral’s elbow. “I would have thought that against shipboard procedure. It certainly was against mine.”


“You had shipboard procedures?” Peter scoffed in disbelief. “Hard to believe, since you’re so obviously ignorant of proper discipline.” Using just enough motion to slam into Blaise forcefully, he spun the younger man around and pressed his chest firmly against the chamber wall. “You know what kind of assistance I’m looking for, Blaise,” he hissed, holding the pirate’s hip with one hand and rubbing the evidence of his arousal against the taut cheeks. His other hand caught Blaise’s thick hair, pulling the younger man’s head back into his kiss.


Blaise returned the kiss eagerly, far beyond caring that the Admiral knew of his willingness and desire. They had finished with those games for the most part after his birthday, the effects of the wine having broken down barriers they’d chosen not to restore. Instead, he reached behind him and used his grip on the commander’s hips to give him enough leverage to push back into the cock that pressed against him so invitingly. “I’m always happy to serve, Admiral,” he replied when his lips were released.


“You seemed eager enough to serve Petrov earlier, too, so that’s not saying much,” Peter retorted. He slid his lips down the strong curve of Blaise’s neck, biting down hard when he reached the junction of his shoulder, marking the skin with his teeth. The bruise wouldn’t show beneath Blaise’s work suit, but it would remind him of who he belonged to, for a day or so at least.


“A change is as good as a rest,” Blaise quipped, though he would never have submitted to the captain the way he submitted to the Admiral. Only Keller could elicit this response from him. The older man didn’t need to know that, though. Blaise knew the Admiral enjoyed his rebellion as much as the smuggler enjoyed the consequences.


At Blaise’s flippant answer, the Admiral felt a surge of jealousy that surprised him with its intensity. Wrenching the grinning smuggler around by his hair, he towed him across the room to the opposite wall, where he’d secured a pair of leather straps. Removing one, he ran it over his palm, nodding to the other. “Grab that and hold on,” he ordered the pirate. “And don’t let go. If I have to restrain you, it will only make things worse for you.”


Blaise obeyed the Admiral’s orders immediately. His innate sense of self-preservation told him he’d pushed the commander as far as he safely could. Now, it was just a matter of holding on for the ride. A thrill shot through him as he imagined all the possibilities presented by their current situation.


Peter hooked a foot under the rail that circled the training room walls, knowing he’d need some way to brace himself. Otherwise, the first time he brought the strap down against Blaise’s ass – like that! – would send him spinning across the room in reaction.


Even in zero-g, the strap moved with enough force to smart when it hit Blaise’s skin. His hips jerked forward, a motion that would have sent him spinning helplessly through the room if not for his grip on the leather cuffs. As it was, his body twisted around, leaving his vulnerable belly facing the Admiral.


Reaching out to the younger man, Peter spun Blaise back around to face the wall again. He wanted to teach his brash lover a lesson, not leave him incapacitated. Holding Blaise’s shoulder secure with his free hand, Peter brought the strap down a second time, raising a bright red welt on the honeyed skin.


“Ah, shit!” The second blow was enough to pull the muttered curse from Blaise’s lips. Rarely did their games cross over the line to true pain. The energy whip the first night he’d been on board was just about it. His usual punishments involved being denied release. While relatively minor compared to what he’d endured while aboard the Gavenelian ships, it was still enough to leave him tense against the next blow, and none to happy about the situation either.


Peter hardened himself against Blaise’s exclamation of pain. Six blows in all, he told himself. That should be enough to get the cocky bastard’s attention. “Maybe you won’t be quite so eager for a change after this,” he growled, laying a series of quick blows across the spacer’s backside.


Blaise bit his lip to stifle his cries as four more blows fell. He was panting by the time it was done, his body tense and braced for more. His relief when the Admiral released the strap and let it float away was palpable. Still trembling, he tried to steady his breathing, using meditation techniques he had perfected during his imprisonment to push aside the adrenaline coursing through him.


Peter dropped the strap and positioned himself behind his shaking partner. He ground his cloth-covered erection against Blaise’s reddened ass, letting the younger man feel his unabated arousal. “Now, I believe you were going to show me how eager you were to serve me,” he husked against the pirate’s ear. Letting go of Blaise’s hips, he pushed off gently, letting himself float freely.


Blaise took a deep breath and started to release the strap he held when he remembered the earlier order. “I can’t do much if you’re over there and I’m over here,” he said softly. He’d had his fill of punishment for the day.


Impressed that Blaise had remembered his order not to let go of the strap, Peter grinned. “Very good,” he acknowledged. “But I think you’re going to need both hands now. Get over here and take care of what you started.”


Blaise released the leather he was holding and pushed himself in Keller’s direction, letting their bodies bump and the momentum push them toward the far wall. Catching the railing with one hand, he used the other to keep the Admiral from crashing into the wall. As quickly as he dared in the zero-g conditions, he undid the uniform and bared the commander’s body to his gaze. Nudging the Admiral upward, he steadied them both when the thick arousal was at the height of his mouth. Lowering his head, he inhaled the swollen shaft, swallowing around the mushroomed head.


Peter didn’t bother to hold back his moan of pleasure as Blaise’s talented mouth closed around his cock. Holding the dark head in place with one hand, he pried Blaise’s hand away from the railing with the other, letting their bodies drift weightlessly.


Unattached now as they were to anything grounded, Blaise had no choice but to use his grip on the Admiral to provide the leverage he needed to bob his head up and down over the hard cock. One thing, though, didn’t require gravity to be effective. Grinning as best he could around his mouthful, he hummed in his throat, letting the vibrations tease Keller’s erection.


Blaise’s oral prowess never failed to arouse Peter’s admiration – among other things – and at first the Admiral simply enjoyed the delicious suction on his rigid shaft. He watched as a string of saliva escaped the privateer’s lips, breaking into tiny glittering globules that floated past Peter’s face. As he felt his control beginning to slip, he grasped Blaise’s bicep around the stylized horse tattoo, flipping gracefully end-over-end until he faced the younger man’s well-striped ass. Unable to lay hands on the mysterious attackers, he’d taken out his anger and frustration on his smuggler. He owed him something in recompense.


Blaise had let Keller’s cock slip from his mouth in surprise at the maneuver, and the Admiral grasped the spacer’s lean hips and twisted him around, thrusting the neglected organ back in his face. “Didn’t tell you to stop,” he ordered, lowering his head to lap at the droplets of fluid beginning to escaping from Blaise’s swollen erection.


The howl that tore from Blaise’s throat at the feeling of the Admiral’s tongue on his cock was muffled by the shaft in his mouth, but nothing short of the void of space could silence it, not when he was feeling Keller’s mouth on him for the first time.


Blaise’s uninhibited reaction made the Admiral wonder why he hadn’t given in to this particular temptation before. True, he’d never been tempted to taste another prisoner’s cock before Blaise’s, but the salty taste and silky texture of the pirate’s thick shaft felt damn good in his mouth. Not as good as his cock would feel buried in Blaise’s ass, though. With that thought in mind, Peter slid two fingers into his mouth alongside the slick column, coating them thoroughly with saliva and Blaise’s pre-come.


Blaise tried to focus his attention on his ministrations to the Admiral, not wanting to be rebuked for neglecting his duties, but he could feel Keller’s fingers sliding alongside his shaft in the other man’s mouth. He knew where those fingers were going, and the thought alone had him trembling with desire.


Peter tightened his thighs around Blaise’s shaggy head, forcing himself into the smuggler’s mouth until his balls pressed against the man’s sensuous lips. Keeping a firm grip on one hip, he pushed his wet fingers into Blaise’s hole with more urgency than care. He’d make sure the younger man was stretched enough to receive him, but he needed to be inside him the way he needed oxygen to breathe in the void of space.


Blaise’s back arched under the rough penetration, not to fight it, but to draw Keller’s fingers deeper. The sharp movement sent them spinning gently through the room, but he paid no attention to that. His mind was on the thick flesh in his mouth and the callused fingers stretching his ass. Everything else had lost all meaning for him.


Feeling Blaise arch and clench around him, the Admiral worked his fingers deeper, spreading them until he could feel the tight muscle start to relax. When their entwined bodies bumped gently against the chamber wall, he groped for the rail to steady them. Reluctantly abandoning his efforts to work his cock down Blaise’s throat, he pulled the dark-haired captive up to face him. Taken by a sudden impulse, he pulled the younger man’s mouth to his, savoring the taste of his own essence on Blaise’s tongue.


Blaise offered his mouth as willingly as he offered his body, though they still kept to the pretense that the Admiral was forcing his submission. He wondered fleetingly if they would ever move beyond these games, but there was no time for such considerations now. All that mattered was that Keller was fucking his mouth with his tongue like Blaise hoped he would soon be fucking his ass with his cock. He sucked hard on the invading muscle, welcoming it eagerly.

Ariel Tachna bio pic

Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their two dogs.  Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with France, where she met her husband, and India, where she hopes to retire some day.  She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.

Web site:

Twitter: @arieltachna


To purchase my books, you can always go to Dreamspinner’s web site,  or you can go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or All Romance eBooks, I’m sure there are probably other eBook outlets as well, but I don’t go searching for them. Also, if you want to buy the book in print, any bookstore that allows special orders can order the book for you with the title and my name.



Ooh, That’s Interesting! The Stockton Asylum

If you’ve been following me for a while, you may know that my novel The Tin Box was inspired in part by a real place, the Stockton State Mental Hospital. Once the largest mental hospital in California, it’s now been converted to classroom and office space. I’ve blogged about it before.

Since I was there this evening, I thought I’d post a few new photos.

081 This was the main building. It once had towers but they were eventually destroyed. It’s on the National Historic Register.

082 The campus is actually very pretty. You can see one of the houses here. I think the director lived there.

084 My classroom still has bars on the window.

085 This interior shot in the main building gives an idea how long the hallways are.

086 And here’s a nice shot of the main building in light fog. My students all think the place is haunted, but I find it far less scary than downtown Stockton. It’s a melancholy place.

If you’re interested, I’ll try to catch more shots next week.