1. Tell us about your newest release.
My newest release is Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust releasing with Breathless Press on 23 January. It’s the first novella in a four part series about a D/s couple Daniel Scotney and Karen Owusu.
Dan is building a Slave Library – kinda like a harem of willing submissives – but Karen just wants to spend her time with him and for him to tell her that he loves her. Tricky business. Oh and Dan’s mother keeps trying to set him up with other women all while asking pushy questions about his ex.
Sugar Dust is funny, frank and real; something that I hope will shine a more flattering like on the BDSM community as well as provide an entertaining read.
2. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your story?
I think most surprising is how entertaining the mundane can be. That was the whole point of Slippers & Chains to begin with: to highlight the mundane aspects of a BDSM relationship and how similar they can be to a traditional vanilla one. It isn’t just about chains, whips and flogs, but insecurities, jealousy and love. I expected to drift away from the relationships to focus on the fun stuff (all that kinky sex!) but that’s not what happened at all. The novella, and the series as a whole, is about people and their relationships with each other. Certainly not what I expected when I began.
3. Do you have any interesting or quirks or rituals?
Does the gratuitous consumption of waaaaaaaay too many crisps count? Because I do that a lot. I also have this weird thing for symmetry and even numbers (the volume on the TV must be an even number, I have to have two pens in my bag, I can’t sweep the kitchen floor and not mop it as well, I refuse to read the last page of a novel before getting to it naturally).
I guess my oddest quirk, if that’s the word to use, is tendency to stomp wild mushrooms when I see them growing in parks. I can’t help it. Something about those icky little fungi just makes my skin crawl. Gotta squish ‘em. Just gotta.
Ha, I hope you didn’t mean a writing quirk. ;-)
4. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
I’ve always written in some form or other. Or at least I have since I was 14. RL Stine has a lot to do with my adoration for vampires as does Christopher Pike. But a paternal uncle had a lot of influence too. Not that he guided me or mentored me, but that he was always interested. Always. He’d always ask what I had next on my ‘writing list’ or what my last set of characters were doing now. That kinda kept me moving until I was old enough to realise that this is what I want to do with my life.
After that the biggest influencing factor is my critique group. They are amazing and supportive and talented and all around wonderful. If any of the Phoenix Writers are reading right now… I owe you so much. ^_^ Thanks.
5. What does your family think about your career as a published author?
Eeeeeeeeerm… my mum is thrilled and is waiting for my ‘big break.’ She talks about JK Rowling and EL James and then sticks my name in there as a given. That’s a momentous boost to flagging moral and she’s always the one I call when I’m feeling low. She even forked out the cash to edit another novel of mine so I could publish it independently; it’s a level of support both terrifying and exciting all at once.
My sister doesn’t read a great deal, though she does seem curious about my erotica. Haha, not sure how she’ll feel about this one though!
And my dad is waiting for me to buy him a house. ;-) I guess he’s confident enough that I’m going to make some money from this writing gig!
6. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
I read a lot, though I suppose that’s a given for an author, right? I also like geeky stuff like board games, card games and RPGs. I even LARP, though not so much since the birth of my kids. More recently, since my backside is getting progressively wider from all the sitting and typing, I’ve taken up roller derby which is sooooo awesome! ^_^ I have purple skates with day-glo green wheels. You can see me coming a mile off which actually makes me happy. I’m not a sneaky player, oh no.
Oh, and my derby name is Writious. Ha… see what I did there? ;-)
7. Can you tell us what is coming up next for you?
Quite a bit actually. I don’t know if you realise but I’m just one half of a whole. I write here with you guys as Raven ShadowHawk but my ‘other half’ is Ileandra Young. She writes traditional and urban fantasy as well as general fiction and the occasional piece of horror. There will work from both of us coming out over the course of this year, includes the novel I mentioned earlier. It’s a fantasy novel, part of a trilogy named Saar’s Legacy which I’ll be publishing through my own imprint (Little Vamp Press). On the erotica side I have the rest of Slippers & Chains to work on. I’ve drafted the second in the series (Slippers & Chains: Second Base) and will be editing that over the next couple of weeks. I’m also working on a mini serial called Raven’s Diary which goes direct to my mailing list subscribers.
8. How can readers connect with you online?
I’m all over the place! Since myself and Ileandra are really one person, we share a lot of our social media but if you want me specifically, I love reading emails from readers (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I send monthly newsletters to mailing list subscribers (http://eepurl.com/0yKNj). If you’re interested in what I write beyond erotica then the blog I share with Ileandra is a good place to visit (www.ileandraXraven.co.uk), as is our Facebook (www.facebook.com/illyandraven/) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/ileandraXraven/).
After an unwelcome family visit highlights romantic insecurities, Dan takes Karen to exclusive fetish club, Sugar Dust. Will the trip rescue or destroy their relationship?
Dan loves submissive women and longs to build a harem of willing females to fill what he lovingly calls his "Slave Library." He shares his plans for sexual bliss with Karen, the first of his submissives in both his mind and his heart. But when an unexpected visit from his mother leads to uncomfortable questions about his ex, Dan realizes that past mistakes are catching up to him, faster than he can run.
The first D/s relationship to blend comfortably with her vanilla life is the one Karen shares with Dan. She treasures the freedom in the act of submission and wants nothing more than to share it with her Master for as long as possible. Why then does he insist on bringing other women into their beds? And why can’t he say he loves her?
As Dan battles his inner demons, Karen hopes a sexy mini break at the exclusive fetish club, Sugar Dust will allow them time to relax and reconnect. There she meets Beth, the personification of Dan’s past, storming in to demolish her present. Can Karen show Dan that their relationship is strong enough to break the chains of his past, before Beth drives an immoveable wedge between them with her tales of what once was?
"I was trying to figure out what to do for you and last night I figured it out. I've booked us a holiday. Just you and me."
The twist made Karen pause. She hesitated, wavering between pleasure and frustration as he missed the point completely. Again.
"What? When? What about work? I've got research to do." She clutched the sides of the sofa. "Why didn't you check first? I'm at uni next week, I can't just run off." Dan's chuckling only fanned her temper. "Do you know how much this PhD is costing me? I can't vanish for a week and screw it up."
"Who said anything about a week?"
"I said 'holiday'. You assumed how long."
Shuffling in her seat, Karen twisted her fingers in her lap. "Fine. How long? And where are we going?"
She sat bolt upright. "What?"
"Say it again. I need to hear it again."
"Sugar Dust, licensed fetish club and themed hotel for adults of an adventurous nature." Dan's smile widened. He puffed out his chest and flicked imaginary fluff off his shoulders. "I booked it this morning. Two nights, from tonight."
Karen squealed. All thoughts of the conversation carefully planned on the drive over, disappeared. She leapt to her feet. Whirled in a tight circle. "Sugar Dust! We're going to Sugar Dust!"
A leap took her across the room to land in Dan's lap. Grabbing his face with both hands she rained kisses on him. "How? I thought they were booked for months. This is incredible."
"I'm glad you're happy, Kaz."
She grinned, staring deep into the large brown pools of his eyes. She bit her lip. "Sugar Dust, I've always wanted to go, but I have to tell you something first."
Dan leaned forward and nipped her bottom lip. "How grateful you are? How pleased? How horny?"
"Why don't you show me?" He ran his hands down her shoulders, cupping her breasts briefly before running his hands over her ribs and down to her hips. Grip tight and just shy of painful, he held her in place while tilting his hips into hers. Still grinning, he nibbled her bottom lip again then slid his lips down the side of her throat.
The hot press of his mouth and the flick of his tongue made her groan. She wanted to wait, to push him away and keep talking, but already the details were hazy. He licked a wet path down the side of her throat, teasing the site of last night's bite.
"I've already packed," he whispered against her throat.
"Really?" A pleasurable jolt shivered over her skin, gathering in her stomach where a tingling sensation billowed out and sank downward. "What did you pack?" Though she made her voice as neutral as possible, she couldn't quite keep the smile off her lips. A smile that grew wider when Dan next spoke.
"Sugar Dust is a special place. You need special clothes."
Thirty-*mumbles* year old Raven ShadowHawk lives in Leicester (UK) with her twin sons (Sprog1 andSprog2), her partner (The Funk Master) and a stubbornly barren dwarf lemon tree.
She turned to writing erotica when she realized that many of the stories told by her friends were just too good not to share (and after realizing, after seven years, that working in finance was far too boring and far too comfortable a career to maintain forever).
Raven's unique humor, sauciness, well-observed realism, and unforgiving sass, gives her a brand of erotica she calls Smut With Brains.
Under the series title Meeting Each Other, Raven has released a mini series of six short stories through her imprint Little Vamp Press. Future projects include fantasy and/or horror based collaborative efforts with her “other half” Ileandra Young.
Find details of Raven's other works on her website (http://ravenshadowhawk.wordpress.com) and for monthly updates and regular freebies, join her mailing list (http://eepurl.com/0yKNj). If you fancy a chat, find her lurking on Facebook, (http://www.facebook.com/illyandraven) or Twitter (http://twitter.com/ileandraXraven) sharing—or arguing—with her other half.