Saturday, June 25, 2016

Earth and Sky Extra- Hustle And The Bustle


Hustle and the Bustle
Kaye Draper


This material is copyrighted. Please feel free to share it, but know that re-distributing it  for profit, or without attributing it to the author is illegal.
Enjoy!
**********

Ibbe took her plate to the sideboard and examined the fruit bowl. She didn’t particularly need to eat, but she did enjoy fruit. And if she ate unnecessarily, maybe she would gain some padding. She thought of Wren’s voracious appetite and suppressed a smile.

The sound of boot heels in the hallway announced Marshall’s arrival. He strode to the table and pulled out a chair, then paused for a moment, brown wings outspread in surprise. Ibbe straightened her spine and kept her attention on transferring pieces of tart green apple and plump berries onto her plate.

“Ibbe—what is that thing on your ass?” Marshall whispered.
Ibbe deigned to give him a glare over her shoulder, resettling her own wings before she continued her task. “Marshall, don’t say ass.”

Her brother straightened and came to join her at the sideboard. “Sorry, sorry,” he said amiably. “What is that device perched on your…fanny?”

Ibbe gritted her teeth and turned to make her way to the table. “Bustle, Marshall. It’s called a bustle. They’ve been around for hundreds of years. They’re becoming quite popular in town these days. All the human girls are wearing them.”

Marshall trailed her to the table, where she had set her plate down and begun to set out glasses and silverware for the others.

“Honestly,” Marshall said, tilting his head to watch her form as she moved. “That’s Godsawful.”

Ibbe ignored him.

He followed her around the table, reaching out a hand to poke at her dress.

“What are you doing?” She said, whirling to face him. then, realizing she had lost to his teasing, she turned away to pour out fresh blackberry juice for everyone.

Marashall sidled closer. “I just want to touch it.” He poked at her again. “What’s it made out of?” He pinched the bustle. “Padding of some sort?”

She swatted his hand away.

“It’s strange though,” Marshal muttered, thoughtful. “It reminds me of something…”

His contemplation was interrupted by the arrival of Ville and Wren.
“Good morning,” Ville said with his typical good natured smile.

The wolf followed him, her frizzy red hair hastily pinned up into a messy bun, and wearing one of Ibbe’s borrowed dresses. She was a wonderfully wild thing, as always.

Marshall’s eyes widened as he took in the sight of the dress, which fit Ibbe perfectly, but on Wren brushed the floor and stretched painfully tight over her generous bottom.

Ibbe cleared her throat. Her brother was an idiot. “There’s fruit on the sideboard,” she said to the other woman. “And the cook is bringing a plate of meat for you.”

Wren made her way to the sideboard and started helping herself, still looking like she was half asleep. Marshall grinned and went to join her.

“Oh! You have one too,” he cooed, right before he reached out and grabbed a double handful of the redhead’s generous bottom.

Wren didn’t immediately murder him the way Ibbe expected. Instead, plate still in hand, she slowly turned to regard him with a glare that should have withered him where he stood.

“What do you think you are doing?” Her brown eyes narrowed as the wolf in them came closer to the surface, and her alpha aura surged. “Let go of my ass!”

His hands still wandering, Marshall turned to his sister as if he were a tattling child. “Ibbe, she said ass. I thought we weren’t supposed to say ass.”

He finally relented and released the Shifter. “Oh, I’m so sorry! I thought you had a bustle too!”

Ville crossed his arms over his broad chest, his face serene, but his blue eyes snapping with anger, and his massive raven-black wings half spread. “You knew it wasn’t a bustle.”

Marshall came to a halt in front of him, out of earshot of Wren, who was now ignoring them in favor of the newly arrived tray of roasted meats. He clapped his hands together as if praying. “Forgive me,” he begged. “I just couldn’t help it!”

Ville raised an eyebrow, then went to join Wren, commenting on her heaping plate as he looked over her shoulder. Tilting his head Marshall’s way, he very slowly and deliberately stroked a hand over that lovely bottom.

At a look from Wren, he smiled patiently. “Dust,” he assured her. “I was just brushing it off.”

Wren shook her head and went back to her food, Ignoring the fact that Ville was still fondling her curves.

The dark Fallen ruler gave Marshall a smirk.

Returning to the table, Wren gave Ibbe an eye roll that said she knew full well what the men were up to, but didn’t give a whit. She knew who was really in control in this situation, and it wasn’t the two blockhead males.

Ibbe pulled out her chair and attempted to sit, but her bustle got in the way, making the maneuver awkward and uncomfortable.

“Oh, for the love of the Gods!” she muttered, abandoning the attempt and flouncing from the room to go change her clothes.

Marshall and Ville glanced at each other and burst out laughing, leaving Wren to arch a questioning brow at them.

Marshall patted her hand. “Imitation is a type of flattery you know, dear.” He winked.

Wren snorted. “absurd. Ibbe hates me. Besides, who in their right mind would want an ass like mine?” She said around a mouthful of bacon.

Ville hid a smile behind his glass of juice as the men shared a knowing smile.

We aren’t supposed to say ass, “Marshall reminded her primly, as he got the whole meat tray and sat it by her elbow.


**********


Intrigued? Pick up a copy of Earth and Sky


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Win a free signed copy of Earth and Sky

I am giving away a signed copy of the limited edition first print run of Earth and Sky in preparation for the launch of the next two books in the saga. 

All you have to do is:
1) Sign up for my newsletter (if you haven’t already) and 
2) post a comment below about your favorite Kaye Draper book. 

The winner will be chosen using a numbering system and random number generator. I look forward to hearing from you! This contest runs through June 30th, 2016. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Earth and Sky Extra- Morning Mischief

Morning Mischief
Kaye Draper

This material is copyrighted. Please feel free to share it, but know that re-distributing it  for profit, or without attributing it to the author is illegal.
Enjoy!



Wren indulged in a full-body stretch, warm and content. It was new to her, waking up slowly to warmth and happiness, rather than weariness and war. She turned her head, pillowed on her lover’s arm, to find Ville regarding her with a soft smile. “Good morning,” the Fallen Angel breathed, reaching out to tuck a curl behind her ear.

Wren smiled back, like a child presented with candy. “Were you watching me sleep?”

He winked at her. “Actually, I was hoping you would wake up soon.” He arched an eyebrow and sent a meaningful glance toward the surface where she slept.

Win gasped when she realized that she was lying on one raven-black wing. She must have rolled onto it in the night. “Oh Gods! I’m sorry!”
*****
Ibbe curled her lip as the scent of roasted meet wafted at her. The angel-winged Fallen moved the tray she carried out to one side to avoid the fumes. Their guest was depraved. What kind of creature actually ate seared cow flesh? She heaved a mental sigh.

Cresting the top of the winding staircase that led from the more public areas of the Aerie, she made her way down the cool corridor toward Ville’s private suite. Thankfully, Ville had left before dawn yesterday to lead practice drills with some young recruits, and wasn’t expected back until this afternoon. She wouldn’t have to worry about interrupting anything…not that she allowed herself to even think about what she might be interrupting. 

She stifled a shudder. What was her cousin thinking, letting the enemy into his bed? He was the empeor for the love of the Gods!

She raised a hand to knock on the wooden door, but stopped when she heard a distinctive hiss from the other side of the portal.

“Get off it!” Ville’s deep voice urged, somewhat breathless. “It’s gone numb.”

Wren’s voice warbled with a mixture of humor and horror. “Oh—Oh Gods, I’m sorry. I’m not used to this yet.”

Ville moaned. “Neither am I. I’m used to waking up alone.”

“Gods, it’s so huge, I can barely lift it. Wait…does rubbing it help?” Wren asked, her voice urgent.

“Yes. That feels wonderful!” Ville groaned and Ibbe felt herself flush. “Don’t stop, the feeling’s coming back,” he all but purred in that rich bass.

“I’m getting on top,” Wren said firmly.

A laugh and a stifled grunt from Ville. “Not so rough. No—yes, harder. Oh Gods!”

“Oh be quiet and take it like a man. You’re being dramatic,” the Shifter demanded.

“Oh—“ He let out an ecstatic moan and silence descended.

*****
Wren froze at the sound of a crash outside the bedroom door. Patting Ville’s back, she climbed off the bed and went to see what the commotion was.

She opened the door and glanced from the scattered tray of food to Ville. “The hallway is empty. What was that all about?”

He shrugged and rolled his shoulders around experimentally extending and flexing his wings. “Thanks for the massage. The wing muscles feel much better now.”

*****
Downstairs, Ibbe reached the dining room, her wings half spread in agitation, and found her brother lounging at the table reading the paper. “Don’t go upstairs,” she advised with a shudder. Shifters are such beasts. She’s…so aggressive!”  

Marshall grinned at his sister’s flaming cheeks. She was a warrior, but she could be such a prude sometimes. “Well in that case, maybe I should...”

Ibbe narrowed her eyes at him then gave him a simpering smile. He had made the same mistake Ibbe had in thinking the girl was alone. “Well, you could…but I think Ville’s got it handled.”

Marshall sank back in his seat and sighed. “Ah well. Can’t blame a man for trying.”
*****

Intrigued? Pick up a copy of Earth and Sky


Friday, April 15, 2016

Free 3-Book Erotic Paranormal Romance This weekend

My 3-book set, the Demon's Call series is free this weekend on Amazon. Book 1-3 free on Saturday, books 2 and 3 free on Sunday (because book one was out of free days!) Grab your copy and let me know what you think.

Just watch out for the ero overload :)





Friday, February 19, 2016

Free Steampunk Romantic Fantasy E-Book

Yay, this is my 200th post to my blog!!!

I don't know why I feel that is momentous... but there you have it.

Earth And Sky is free this weekend on amazon. If you like steampunky romancy action, with wings and beasties, check it out.


Wren has trained for war since she was a child, but a secret bond with the enemy leads her to question everything she has ever known. 

Cast out by her family as a traitor, the fiery, alchemy-wielding shape-shifter finds refuge in the arms of Ville, the raven-winged leader of the enemy Sky clan. The star-crossed lovers discover that the world they know is built on lies meant to fuel the war that has raged between their clans for years. 


Wren and Ville’s relationship transcends the racism and discrimination around them as they seek to discover the real cause of the war—and learn the shocking truth about the forbidden bond between them. Armed with alchemy, attitude, and a six-shooter, Wren sets out on a journey of love, loss, and redemption that will change the world. Read it now! 


Friday, February 12, 2016

What is This Book, Anyway? (The Genre Question)

If you've ever read one of my books, you can probably tell that I have trouble with genres.

I think it may contribute to me not yet landing an agent. I have gotten a fair amount of personalized feedback (I'm not talking your generic form letter) from actual publishing professionals such as best selling authors/teacher, agents and editors that all say the same thing--you write really well. I've had these people praise the mechanics of my writing, my use of prose, the uniqueness of my ideas. So what, for the love of all that is holy is the problem? In the end, maybe it boils down to something more illusive than genre, or make it truly is related to personal interest. What an agent or editor decides to rep or acquire is understandably quite subjective. But I have a hunch it may be something more simple than that. I think it's genre. (Caveat- maybe I'm just a terrible writer and I don't know what I'm talking about ;) 

I think the issue is this-- that agents and editors, though they want the next "new" thing, are to some degree stuck in genre expectations. To some degree I get it. If you say that a paranormal romance, for example, must have x, y, and z plot elements, what you are really saying is that this is what books that have sold well to date are doing, and therefore, this is what readers expect, etc. So when they say "new" they mean "just like this but with a little twist." From a money and marketing standpoint it makes sense. From a "how do I find another book just like this one I loved" standpoint it makes sense. 

But as a writer, gah it's frustrating! I'll back up a minute, and show you what I mean, for those who don't get what I'm saying. Let's say you write paranormal romance, since I used that example earlier. So what makes it paranormal romance? Technically, just the fact that there is romance and some sort of paranormal element, right? But if you were to want to submit to a well-known publisher in that genre, you might find something like this guideline at harlequin-- please note, I've seen worse in terms of leading you by the nose, but here it is:


"Harlequin Nocturne - 80,000 words
  • Fast-paced, action-oriented romances in which characters struggle with life-and-death issues in a paranormal world
  • Word count of 80,000 to 85,000
  • The word count allows for a wider breadth of story, subplots and heightened sensual and sexual tension
  • Themes include vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, Native American and Greek mythology and fairy kingdoms
  • Strong sexual/sensual overlay
  • The hero is a key figure—powerful, mysterious and totally attracted to the heroine.
  • Vivid conflicts, and stories that can be set throughout the real world and fictional worlds of the author's own creation
  • Characters do not live by predictable rules; instead they respond to the needs of the paranormal world that the author has created
  • There is a "mythology" created to explain the characters' existence, and their actions must not run contrary to this setup. The mythology must remain consistent and support the action of the book.
  • While these are contemporary paranormal romances, the author may go back into history, depending on the needs of the story
  • Harlequin Nocturne had two titles on the NYT bestseller list in 2011
  • There are 2 new Harlequin Nocturne books available every month."



Dark, sexy, atmospheric paranormal romances that feature larger-than-life characters struggling with life-and-death issues.
Harlequin Nocturne Key Elements
For explanations and tips about conflict, dialogue and emotion please click on How to Write the Perfect Romance
Featured in Harlequin Nocturne
Powerful, mysterious Alpha male heroes facing life-and-death situations as they battle for the heroine's love. Harlequin Nocturne romances are highly sensual and driven by the romance and not the paranormal element. The hero should be a force to contend with, and the heroines are vulnerable but equally complex, strong and smart.
Harlequin Nocturne is…
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn or True Blood or Dark Shadows for their solid levels of story, complex characters and varying levels of paranormal world-building with strong romantic themes, high levels of sensuality and lives and hearts on the line."

Do you get my issue? They are looking for cookie-cutter stories that fit into a neat little box. What if my hero isn't an "alpha" type? What if he's actually endearingly sensitive? What if the conflict in my plot isn't "life or death" per say? What if it's an intellectual type of conflict, or an emotional one? Maybe my heroine is the "key figure" and not the hero. 

And this last little bit basically tells you exactly what they want you to write, followed by examples of work they would like you to emulate: "Powerful, mysterious Alpha male heroes facing life-and-death situations as they battle for the heroine's love. Harlequin Nocturne romances are highly sensual and driven by the romance and not the paranormal element. The hero should be a force to contend with, and the heroines are vulnerable but equally complex, strong and smart." I've seen romance guidelines (of the non-paranormal kind) that are even more leading than that! They tell you exactly what kind of heroine, hero, plot line, and resolution they want, right down to the tropes they want included. 

And don't get me started on tropes. If every novel I read had the exact same equation played out over and over again, right down to the minutia, I would stop reading forever. 

Now, like I said, I get this from a marketing standpoint. But I don't find it in the least bit appealing, either as an author OR a reader. Why? Because I have a very hard time finding the type of book that I would like to read. I roll my eyes every time I read "alpha hero." And, sue me, though I like a great deal of romance and "heat" in my novels, I also think it should be about more than just that. 

So I follow the age-old advice of writing the book I want to read. And my target audience has received that well. But my books will never "fit" into a neatly laid out expectation of what a genre should be. I've even gotten reviews stating all the things they like about the book, followed by "not like similar books in this genre." Which to an agent or editor would probably mean death, but makes me do a happy dance. I don't want to write the book someone else already wrote. What would be the point?

It never fails- every time I try to submit my work to an agent, I spend sometime staring at the submission guidelines. My paranormal romance novel where the shape shifter isn't an overbearing ass... can I call that paranormal? My steampunk flavored book with magic, vampires, shifters, and dirigibles that is mostly about love, has some sex scenes, and is also about bigger issues like equality, and acceptance... what do I call that? (I usually go with "steampunk fantasy romance" but even that feels not quite a complete picture, and really that is me not picking a genre). 

My conclusion in all this--and I really hope I'm not the only one to come to this conclusion--is that I would rather write the type of story I want to write (or read) than the one someone told me to write. That is the whole point of writing in the first place, and without that approach there is zero creativity involved. So, if you are like me and what you write doesn't fit in a neat little package--THANK YOU. I love your work. Please don't stop. You are why I love books!



Sunday, February 7, 2016

Always With the Magic


I love magic in my stories. It's second only to romance. For me, magic is as much a matter of the heart as love, I suppose. And this is why:

*We HAVE to believe in magic.
Okay, so it's not mandatory in the sense that you're going to go to jail if you are a muggle. But I don't see how anyone can survive in this world if they are completely lacking that sense of something more lurking just around the corner. It's what gets us through hard times, helps up pull ourselves up by our bootstraps--and sometimes it's what somehow makes everything work out okay, even when it seemed the world was falling apart.

*Sometimes magic fails.
Wait, didn't I just say we have to have magic to get through tough times? Yes. But that doesn't mean it won't fail us at a crucial moment. That's when we find out the truth--that the real magic was inside us all along, not out there in the world somewhere.

*That sounds good, but what has magic done for me lately?
Personally, the magic in the world, and ultimately inside me, has gotten me to where I am today. It hasn't always been pretty. In fact at times it's been downright hell. But somehow when we are challenged in life, we always come out stronger. And the harder, the more excruciatingly painful the challenge, the stronger we become. If that isn't magic, I don't know what is.