Saturday, 31 January 2015

Preview of Freya's Choice - OUT TODAY!

Nothing much happens in Abbey St. Francis, but Freya’s about to change all that...
 
Eve Lawson is no stranger to heartbreak. Three years ago, the man of her dreams betrayed her and left her unwilling to trust anyone ever again. So when gorgeous hunky farmer, Mark Latimer, starts to take more than a casual interest in her, she is cautious and nervous of committing either her mind or her body to him. But the attraction is there, and it’s growing. All Eve needs is just a little more time. 

Abbey St. Francis—a sleepy, pretty village where nothing much happens and traditional values are held true—has been Eve’s home all her life. No one suspects that the beautiful young woman who has just moved into West Lodge is anything other than a wealthy and generous benefactor. But Freya Nordstrom is not what she appears to be. 

Then the mysterious stranger takes more than a passing interest in Mark, and Eve knows she has a battle on her hands. But never in her wildest dreams could Eve have imagined the nature of the forces stacked against her... 


Extract:
...A loud flapping startled me. I looked up and couldn’t believe what I saw. The most massive bird I had ever seen flew past me and hovered, silhouetted against the moon. Then it flew directly toward West Lodge. I glanced back down at the cats. Their ears twitched, but nothing more. I searched the sky for the giant bird again, but it had disappeared. Could I have imagined it? Surely not. I certainly wasn’t imagining those cats or the malevolence in their eyes.

My knees buckled from my unaccustomed crouching position, but I was scared to make any rapid movement, and Freya’s cats continued to stare at me. Their eyes narrowed, as if at any moment they would pounce and tear me to shreds. But their hackles didn’t rise, they didn’t arch their backs, spit or make any of the warning gestures cats employ to let you know they’re about to strike. They just sat there, like statues.

Waiting.

My knees ached and I had no choice or I would simply keel over. Slowly, I rose to my feet, wobbling with the effort, while I kept my eyes on the animals.

Their gaze traveled upward with my movement. A chill wound itself around my spine, spiraling the length of it, and I shivered.

Then, as if receiving some signal I couldn’t hear, they blinked in unison and turned away. They slunk down my path before jumping over the wall and out of sight. I continued to watch and, in the light of the streetlamp at the bottom of Freya’s drive, saw them emerge and pad slowly up her long drive. They matched each other step for step, their tails held high.

Then I saw a tall figure striding down Freya’s drive toward me. He passed the cats, apparently without acknowledging their presence. Too dark and far away to make out his features, my heart still lurched.

Mark. I could see the familiar long hair fanning his shoulders, the white shirt and dark pants. Tears pricked my eyes. At that moment, I wished with all my heart I hadn’t seen him. It couldn’t be happening again. Surely he wouldn’t betray me as John had. After all he’d said to me. And I’d believed every word.

So Freya had been telling the truth. Somewhere along the line she’d made his acquaintance, and now I knew why he hadn’t answered his phone. He’d been with her.

I told myself to calm down. There could be a hundred innocent explanations for his visit. But unless I asked him, I wouldn’t know. I hurried down my path and opened the gate.

“Mark! Hi!” I hoped I sounded nonchalant, but a note of desperation had crept into my voice.

He reached the end of her drive and turned left. He was directly opposite me now, in shadows, on the other side of the lane. Any second and he would cross over.

“Mark!”

He must have heard me, but not a flicker. He never broke his stride. Just carried on walking, farther down the lane, away from me, while I stood and watched him, my insides turning to mush in dismayed disbelief... 




Freya's Choice is available from:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble

ARe

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Perilous Play: The Real Fifty Shades - Suz deMello



My friend, former editor and bestselling writer, Suz deMello, has a sensational new book out. Strictly for the broadminded over 18s. Here, she reveals all about it - and gives us a sneak peek.

The cover of Perilous Play states: based on a true story. The fact is, very little in this memoir is fiction.

Places and names have been changed. The time in my life when these events occurred is altered. One scene was added, to wrap up the story and tie it in a tidy bow.

But otherwise, it’s all true.

Check it out:

One woman’s journey into the contemporary kink underworld, Perilous Play is Suz deMello’s explosive personal account of her experiences with BDSM. Engaging and honest, this groundbreaking memoir will grab you and never let you go.

Here’s an excerpt of the only fictional event—a ménage with two men I did have relationships with. Alas, never got that ménage experience I’ve craved for so long! But it’s a hot scene and I hope you enjoy it.
 
I drove to Lafayette feeling hot and ready. I thought I’d be able to persuade Mark to allow me to top him again, which really excited me. That emotion quickly changed to deliciously terrified seconds after I rang his doorbell.

Because Tobias opened the door.

Mark stood behind him, arms folded over his torso. Both looked grim, which surprised me. Wasn’t Mark’s birthday a joyous occasion? Squelching nerves, I entered, handed Mark his gift and hugged him. 

“Happy birthday, sweetie.”

“Sweetie,” he said, contempt infusing his voice. “Is that right?”

“Well, yeah, honey, of course.” I still had no idea what was going on. Tobias had stated quite firmly when we’d met that he wasn’t interested in a threesome with another man, so why was he here? He certainly didn’t look as though he was in a celebratory mood. Though mystified, I had no course of action other than to wait until the men told me what was up.

I set down my toy bag and handed Mark his gift. Without opening it, he tossed it onto the kitchen counter, reached into his pocket and took out his cell phone. So did Tobias. After brief finger-tapping, they held out the phones so I could read the screens. On each, I saw:

Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving! I hope today is everything you want it to be, sweetie!

I was fucked. Or going to be fucked. “Uh, guys,” I started, backing away and holding out my hands in entreaty. “Uh, I know this looks bad, but—“

Tobias reached around me and shoved the door closed so hard it slammed. His other arm caged me between his solid body and the door.

I wasn’t going anywhere Tobias didn’t want me to go.

I stared into his dark eyes, trying to read his expression, divine his thoughts. The only conclusion that I could reasonably reach is that I had insulted my Dom.

“You know what you’ve done,” he said.

I nodded.

“You know it wasn’t appropriate.” His mouth twitched and I realized he was trying not to grin.

I nodded again, squelching my answering smile, playing the game. Why not? It was fun.

His eyes twinkled. “You’ve been a very, very bad girl.” He ran a finger along my jawline.

Shivering, I closed my eyes, allowing myself to get into role, immerse myself in the scene. Was I safe?

Oh, yes. I’d been with both men before. They knew my limits and were entirely trustworthy.

“Do you accept your punishment?”

Excitement zipped through me as though I’d dared to touch a live Taser. “Yes, sir,” I said sweetly, batting my eyelashes.

I peeked around Tobias. Though our relationship was more equal—in fact, Mark enjoyed me topping him—he didn’t look pleased. He picked up a couple of dark-gray objects that lay on his kitchen counter.

They clanked.

Shackles.

If what you have read intrigues you, here are a couple of buy links: 



About me:

Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written nineteen books in several genres, including memoir, nonfiction, erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s held the positions of managing editor and senior editor, working for such firms as Totally Bound and Ai Press. She also takes private clients.

Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.

A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.

--Find her books at Suz deMello
--For editing services, email her at suzdemello@gmail.com
--Befriend her on Facebook: Facebook
--She tweets @Suzdemello
--Pinterest: Pinterest
--Goodreads: Goodreads
--Her current blog is The Velvet Lair
 

Friday, 16 January 2015

Revealing...Freya's Choice

I am delighted to announce the arrival of the stunning cover for my soon-to-be-published novel - Freya's Choice.

The story is a paranormal/action/adventure. Amber Quill are releasing it on February 1st and I can't wait! Here's a flavour of the story:


Nothing much happens in Abbey St. Francis, but Freya’s about to change all that…

Eve Lawson is no stranger to heartbreak. Three years ago, the man of her dreams betrayed her and left her unwilling to trust anyone ever again. So when gorgeous hunky farmer, Mark Latimer, starts to take more than a casual interest in her, she is cautious and nervous of committing either her mind or her body to him. But the attraction is there, and it’s growing. All Eve needs is just a little more time.

Abbey St. Francis has been Eve’s home all her life; a sleepy, pretty village where nothing much happens and traditional values are held true. No one suspects that the beautiful young woman who has just moved into West Lodge is anything other than a wealthy and generous benefactor. But Freya Nordstrom is not what she appears to be.

Then the mysterious stranger takes more than a passing interest in Mark, and Eve knows she has a battle on her hands. But never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined the nature of the forces stacked against her.




Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Whatever Happened To...Luise Rainer



Luise Rainer outlived practically all her contemporaries. She was born on January 12th 1910 in Dϋsseldorf, Germany, the daughter of Emilie and Heinrich Rainer who were prosperous. Her father was a successful businessman, but instead of following the traditional route into marriage and family, Luise decided that acting was her future. She performed in stage plays in Germany and was discovered by the legendary theatre director, Max Reinhardt, joining his company in Vienna. She spent a number of years perfecting her craft under his guidance and became popular on the stage in Berlin and Vienna in the 1930s.

In addition to her theatre career, Luise's film career began when she was a teenager. She appeared in four German language films but, by the early 1930s, stormclouds were gathering over Europe - especially if you were Jewish and living in central Europe. Luise was both. When Hitler introduced draconian laws curtailing the rights of German Jews, Luise knew it was time to leave. Fortunately her transition to Hollywood was greatly helped by a seven year contract, resulting from a talent scout for MGM, who had seen her perform on film. At the age of 25, Luise emigrated to the USA.

Her first role was opposite William Powell in the 1935 film Escapade. She and Powell got along famously and she credited him with teaching her a lot about screen acting Holllywood-style. Luise referred to him as, 'a very fine person', and he undoubtedly furthered her prospects by recommending to Louis B. Mayer that he give her a starring role.

Career-wise, she went from strength to strength, starring in The Great Ziegfeld (1936) alongside her friend William Powell. This blockbusting success showed off her musical talent and gave her one of her best remembered roles - as Anna Held, Ziegfeld's wife. The film won the Oscar for Best Film and Luise won the first of her two back-to-back Oscars for Best Actress - the first actor ever to achieve such a double. 

 There was some controversy over her first Oscar, as the role was relatively short in comparison to some of the other nominees. But the passage of time has led to a consensus that her triumph came largely a a result of one key scene where she congratulates Ziegfeld, over the phone, on his upcoming marriage. She has to force herself to maintain her dignity and composure and she does it with exquisite skill. This entire scene has the camera focusing on her reaction, and she plays the part with a degree of emotion and pathos that stand the test of time. Even now, 70 years later, with acting techniques greatly modified, her performance can be hailed as a masterpiece.

Luise Rainer herself played down her achievement. 60 years after the film, she said, in an interview,   "I just did it like everything else. To do a film - let me explain to you - it's like having a baby. You labour, you labour, you labour, and then you have it. And then it grows up and it grows away from you. But to be proud of giving birth to a baby? Proud? No, every cow can do that."

Her second Oscar carried no such controversy.  Her performance as O-Lan in the screen version of Pearl S. Buck's novel, The Good Earth (1937), brought her wide acclaim. The part was originally intended for Anna May Wong, the famous Chinese-American actress, but the male lead role of Wang Lung was assigned to legendary actor, Paul Muni. In those days, the idea of casting two actors of different ethnic origin in a romantic context was against the dictates of the ubiquitous and censorious Hays Office.
 

The female lead would have to go to a Caucasian actress and Luise Rainer was just the woman to do it. She refused to wear heavy yellow make-up and managed an elfin look that enhanced her authenticity in the part. She worked, as she said, 'From the inside out', adopting a technique similar to Lee Strasberg's The Method, and pioneered by the man she had recently married - left-wing playwright Clifford Odets. She said, of her experience working with producer Irving Thalberg on The Good Earth,  'It's not for me, putting on a face, or putting on makeup, or making masquerade. It has to come from inside out. I knew what I wanted to do and he let me do it.'


Sadly, the films MGM then required her to make under contract were not to her taste and she rebelled. The philosophy of the studio had changed, following Thalberg's death. Well-connected Thalberg had been able to exert considerable influence over studio output, but now Louis B. Mayer was firmly in charge and determined to make family-friendly films - even if this meant watering down a script about a prostitute and turning it into a heartwarming story with more than a nod towards Cinderella. This happened with a Ferenc Molnar play called The Girl from Trieste. It was rewritten as The Bride Wore Red (1937) - a bittersweet love story with a happy ending.  Luise was earmarked for the lead role, but hating the part, withdrew - to be replaced by Joan Crawford.

 Louis B. Mayer had to virtually drag Luise to the Oscars that year and for the rest of her life, she retained a distaste for them. Certainly, she seems to have fallen foul of the curse that has seen many an Academy Award winning actor swiftly descend into post-Oscar obscurity. "What they did with me upset me very much," she said in an interview in 1997. "I was dreaming naturally like anyone to do something very good, but after I got the two Academy Awards the studio thought, it doesn't matter what she gets. They threw all kinds of stuff on me, and I thought, no, I didn't want to be an actress."

Despite her differences with Mayer, she enjoyed her role in The Toy Wife, opposite Melvyn Douglas, whom she later referred to as her favourite leading man. With him, she could talk about other subjects apart from acting. Her disillusion with Hollywood increased largely because of a lack of intellectual stimulation. By way of illustration she recalled a lunch she had when actor, Robert Taylor, was seated next to her. When she asked him about his ideas or ambitions, his only response was to talk about how many elegant suits he might buy. Luise Rainer said, 'I practically fell under the table.'


 Film roles she mostly hated, in The Big City, The Emperor's Candlesticks, The Great Waltz and Dramatic School, followed. But by 1938 her career with MGM was over and she never made another film for them. War was looming in Europe and Luise was naturally worried at developments over there - especially in Germany with the Nazis' anti-Semitic laws. To be asked to play trifling, shallow roles in the midst of such potential devastation was anathema to her. Mayer remained impervious to her protests. He told her if she refused to fulfill the terms of her contract he would blackball her in Hollywood. Still, she walked out on her contract and she and her husband moved to New York.

Her marriage to Odets, whom she had met while filming Escapade, was a flop and they divorced in 1940. After making one more film (this time for Paramount - a topical drama called Hostages), she turned her back on movie acting in 1943.

She returned to stage acting and debuted on Broadway in Lee Strasberg's A Kiss for Cinderella. But during the war, her main efforts were concentrated on more important work. She appeared at war bond rallies and toured North Africa and Italy as part of the morale-boosting Army Special Service. Now, for the first time since she had left Germany, she began to feel truly fulfilled, as she expanded her knowledge and experience of life and the world.

She found personal happiness in her second marriage - to publisher, Robert Knittel - and the couple settled in Switzerland and England. They had a daughter, Francesca in 1946. Robert Knittel died in 1989. 

Luise did some television work during the following decades, but it wasn't until 1997 that she acted again in a film - The Gambler - based on a short story by Dostoevsky.

In 2010, she celebrated her 100th birthday in London, receiving accolades from the British Film Institute and fellow actors. Then, in 2011, she received a star on Berlin's Boulevard des Stars. She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 


Having outlived every other 'legend' of her time, Luise Rainer died from pneumonia at home in Belgravia, London on December 30th 2014 - just two weeks short of her 105th birthday. The last of her era.