11/18/17 A Daddy for Christmas Anthology – Build-A-Daddy by Maren Smith

Boy, it’s been a while since last I posted one of these. But I’ve decided to start my New Year’s resolutions early this year. I’m going to need the practice, plus I’ve been a busy girl and have a metric fuck-ton (for those keeping track, that’s two fucks heavier than the standard) of stories coming out this winter. So I need to take all the opportunities I can to advertise them!

First up: Build-A-Daddy which is coming out in the A Daddy For Christmas Anthology.

Build-A-Daddy Blurb:

For Aubrey, when an impromptu trip to Build-A-Bear leads to an unexpected rescue by the cowboy Daddy of her dreams, she thinks her deepest, most secret wish about to come true. Sometimes it’s a brand new stuffy at Christmas time; sometimes, it’s a whole lot more.


Decided, she faced him as fully as her seatbelt allowed and said, “You exist only because I created you.”

“I’m pretty sure my parents will disagree, but all right,” making himself open to the possibility, he said, “how do you figure that?”

“I thought you into existence.”

“My mom has a really fun story about the twenty-six hours of labor she went through with me. She likes to tell it every time I get a new girlfriend, which pretty much disproves your theory.”

“You only think that because I conjured you.”

“You couldn’t conjure me as an orphan?”

“That would make your back story more tragic, but no, all good characters need interesting back stories.”


Anthology blurb:

A Daddy for Christmas is a sexy collection of ALL-NEW age play romances, brought to you by six USA Today and international bestselling authors. Daddy always knows best, and the young ladies in these smoking hot novellas are lucky to have the firm guidance of a father figure during the most magical time of the year. Grab some hot chocolate, snuggle up in your favorite reading spot, and let these dominant but loving daddies take charge.


Papa’s Little Bride by Sue Lyndon
Build-A-Daddy by Maren Smith
Santa Daddy by Katherine Deane
Mountain Man Daddy’s Christmas Surprise by Kara Kelley
The Daddy Contract by Adaline Raine
His Little Noelle by Maggie Ryan

Coming November 27th!!

Don’t forget to check back with all the other fabulous authors in this week’s Saturday Spanking! Just click the next name in the link below.

Is there anything better than being Papa’s Prey?


Papa’s Prey by Zoe Blake

She was his. His Property. His Possession…His.

Trapped in a world of dark decadence, the innocent Corinne is now bound to obey her new husband’s every depraved desire. She is his little doll, to be played with and punished as he pleases. Every night she is brought to his chamber after being dressed by her nanny at his command. Each night is different. Will she be a baby doll? A kitten? Something more sinful?

She is his little captured bird. Will she fly away and escape or learn to love her gilded cage?

Warning. This is a dark daddy dom historical romance. There are no cuddles or caresses in this hero’s castle. If the heroine’s cry in the night will shock and disturb you, then please do not purchase this book.

Dark Romance, Gothic Romance, Daddy Dom, Erotica


He was here. The dark lord. The one who had spanked her as she was draped helplessly over the altar.

Her husband.

“Why?” she asked. Her voice hoarse from sleep and tears.

“Because I wanted you,” he answered simply.

“But…but I’ve never met you. Not really. How could you love me?”

Lucian chuckled. “You are a treasure, my doll. Who said anything about love?”

Corinne bit her lip in confusion. “You married me! If not for love, then…why?”

“I have already told you. Because I wanted you, and what I want, I take. From the moment I saw you walking alone on the moors two years ago, a fairy sprite with your white blonde hair and fair limbs, I knew I would possess you. Must possess you.”

Dawn was breaking. Golden streaks of light peeked through the lace curtains which covered the small glass windows of the coach. If he’d seemed ominous in the poor light of a moonlit chapel, the effect was even more powerful in daylight. In the chapel he’d seemed somehow an indistinct form, a haze of power and leashed energy. Now, every nuance of his face. Each sharp angle. Each sardonic quirk of his mouth. The calculating gleam in his eye. All was distressingly on display. Despite the warmth of the furs, Corinne shivered. Continuing her silent perusal as the damning impact of his words sunk in, she could not help but stare at his hands. Large, tanned. The knuckles of his right hand showing the faint spidery outline of several scars. From a fight no doubt. His left bore the heavy signet ring. At this very moment, she felt like the flower, being crushed in the talons of the mighty Lord Talon.

Under no illusion this would be a true marriage, Corinne licked her dry lips before venturing to ask, “What are you going to do with me?”

“How beautiful you look with your pale cheeks and wide frightened eyes,” he observed. “Beautiful…as was watching my handprints blossoming into perfect red impressions on your other pale cheeks when I spanked you over the altar.”

His blatant description had her face heating with shame. When he shifted forward, Corinne instinctively shrunk back further into the welcoming folds of the fur blanket.

A flash of warning crossed his face. Already learning, Corinne lowered her head and once again sat forward.

Lucian reached out to grasp one perfect thick curl to run his hand down the heavy, silken length, both of them watching it unfurl against his palm. He gave it a fierce tug, wrenching Corinne forward till her body leaned over the small space which divided them.

“You will remain my perfect little doll. An enjoyable plaything made solely for my pleasure,” he whispered against her open mouth. “I shall keep you as a child, entirely dependent on me. Every piece of fabric that caresses your body. Every morsel of food which crosses your lips. The very air you breathe. You will owe everything to me and you will repay me with complete obedience. I will see to it that your every waking thought is in giving pleasure to me.”

Corinne’s eyes filled with tears. “Please, sir. I know nothing about giving pleasure to a man. I can be of no use to you. Please just let me go. I will return to the convent!”

“No. You are mine and mine you will stay. I shall teach you how to please me. How about we begin this very moment?”

Releasing her hair, he sat back into the plush leather seat. His broad shoulders and chest seemed even more commanding in the confined space. Corinne watched as he slowly opened his bent legs wide. Snatching a brocade pillow from the corner of the seat, he placed it between his feet.

“Kneel before me.”

Available on Amazon now!

If you love age play with a ‘taken captive until she learns to love it’ kind of theme, then you’re going to love this book. Zoe Blake is a master at her craft. Her description takes you right into this world. But don’t take my word for it. Follow the buy it link to Amazon and read the first chapter for free. I dare you not to fall in love!

USA Today and International Best Selling Author in Dark Romance

We are all attracted to the forbidden. Addicted to the rush we get from reading something naughty…something kinky. We love to lose ourselves in the fantasy. The powerful lord who sweeps the lady away to his remote estate to ravish her. The cowboy who takes the sassy city girl over his knee to teach her a lesson. The devilishly charming pirate who seduces his beautiful captive. I write those dark fantasies.

Dark Romance Historical Titles

The Submission of Little Emmie

Disciplining the Maid

Penelope’s Punishment

Chosen to be His Little Angeline

The Duke’s Possession


Papa’s Little Pain Princess

His Dark Obsession

Papa’s Prey


Contemporary Titles

Worth Fighting For


Ride Hard Historical Western Series

The Cowboy’s Revenge, Book One

The Gunfighter’s Pursuit, Book Two

The Rebel’s Secret, Book Three


Box Sets

Little Victorian Ladies

A Little Submission

The Dark Forest Anthology


Check out Zoe’s Website at www.zblakebooks.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/zblakebooks

Twitter: @ZBlakebooks

Instagram: ZBlakebooks

Pinterest: ZBlakebooks


*NEW* from Allysa Hart!


The highly anticipated sequel to Adopting Katie is here!

Widowed mother Katelyn Summers, knows her husband would have wanted her to move on and find happiness for herself and a father for their infant son. Knowing that doesn’t make doing it any easier, and she is spiraling fast as she struggles with balancing her new normal with her old wants and needs.

Jeff has always been a natural leader, controlling all aspects of his life with a confidence that rivals no other. When a failed marriage crumbles that confidence, he leaves his entire world behind and loses himself in his work. Nothing can bring him home, until he meets her.

Can these two help each other move on from their painful pasts and into their happily ever after together? How does Katie’s unique family fit into the mix? Can you really have your cake and eat it too?



“You aren’t being rational. I’m not worth all this.”

“Excuse me?” She was making it hard for him to fight the urge to turn her over his knee right then and there. If it wouldn’t have been their first time, he would have.

“You heard me. I’m not worth it.”

“I will be the judge of that, young lady, and before you say another word, let me warn you right now, you have already earned a spanking from me tonight. I would choose your words wisely.”

Her eyes went wide at the mention of getting spanked. They had joked about it before and talked about it at length, but it had never come to fruition. He needed her to understand his love was true, and running from him was never the way to solve an issue. “No one tells me what my woman is worth because there is no way to measure. You are not worth your weight in gold because you surpass that exponentially. You are worth more to me than any job, Katelyn. If that is a deal breaker, then get it out of your head because I will quit tomorrow.”


Available now at:








About Allysa Hart

I am a full-time mom to a sassy, strong-willed, loveable little girl. Okay, so she is all me. I am on the wrong side of 30, and I have been married to my best friend for over eight years. Like most couples, we have our ups and downs, but I could not imagine doing life with anyone else by my side. We are Southern California transplants, currently residing in a very rural part of the east coast. I have two crazy dogs that I adore, even though they drive me out of my ever-loving mind, most days.
I have recently rediscovered my love of words and decided to become a writer. My first story is my heart and soul, and it reaches into the depths of all that is me. I also create covers, promos, and logos for authors. I have met some amazing friends on this journey that I now happily call family. Without my family members, whether biological or chosen, I would not be half the person I am today. Their constant love and support keep me afloat.


Stalk Ally at:

Blog: http://allysahart.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allysahartauthor



BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/allysa-hart

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/allycat602/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Allysa-Hart/e/B01M747C3A/

Email: allycat5765@gmail.com

A lot could happen in three days…

A Dom in need of a girlfriend…

A submissive whose curiosity got the best of her…

The ad read: Submissive Wanted, Three Days Only

Theirs was a temporary relationship contracted not to last… but a lot could happen in three short days.


Excerpt: Chapter One, Part 4 of 4:


She melted a little. She also panicked. “I haven’t scened with a Dom since Roger.”

“Your Dom from college?”

Was it a trick of her imagination, or did the intensity of his stare just sharpen on her?

“I thought you said you’d been to a few play parties?”

“I have,” she quickly assured. Her stomach was knotting and her bottom tingling.

“Are you saying you didn’t play?” It wasn’t said anywhere near like the accusation she took it to be, but she was afraid he’d think she was lying about everything. Or maybe even too inexperienced to take seriously. She shouldn’t have cared as much as she did, but he was a good-looking man, and he turned out one hell of an intriguing negotiation contract. Now that she was here and they were both in the middle of it, it was surprising how much she wanted to see this through.

“I did play,” she explained, clutching at her fingers, twisting them in her lap and trying hard not to show how flustered she’d become. “But it wasn’t that kind of play.”

His golden eyebrows lifted. “What kind is that kind of play?”

“Impact,” she said, even more flustered because honestly, he really hadn’t said what kind of play they would be doing. She’d just assumed and most of her assumptions were running towards things as far away from Little play as possible. “And ropes.”

“You read my profile.”

It seemed more a statement than a question, but she nodded anyway.

The sternness relaxed into another of Eric’s dazzling smiles. “Good girl, you did your research. I like that. It shows you’re both interested in knowing more about me and cautious enough to realize I could be a crazy person or a serial killer.” He winked first, then shrugged. “I wouldn’t mind tying you up, either in a private or a public setting. If we play in private, the rules for your safety would include—”

“A safeword,” she guessed, mostly so that he would know she really did have a little experience.

“Yes, but also that you would take a picture of my driver’s license and the license plate on the back of my car. You’ll send both to your safety contact and let him or her know that you will be following me to my house, and then you’ll give them the address. They are to continue calling or texting you every twenty or thirty minutes or so, until our scene is over, aftercare is dispensed and you leave again. If that sounds good to you, then we can schedule that for later this week, Thursday or Friday work really well for me.”

Lacey blinked, a little surprised. “Oh. O-okay. I can do that.”

He looked at her. “You do have a safety contact, right?”

“Of course.” She huffed, trying for laughter but it came out sounding as weak as it was fake.

Eric sat back in his seat. His eyebrows were still arched, only no longer out of polite inquiry so much as it was a look of disapproval. “I’m calling that a One, although by now, I’m pretty sure it’s more like three or four.”

It was a fight not to go Small. From the way he was looking at her, to the words and the tone he used, she fought to keep her inner Little stuffed as far down as Lacey could make her go. “I don’t understand.”

Hands resting to either side of his plate, he said, “We’ve been here more than half an hour. I haven’t heard your phone beep or vibrate, and you haven’t looked at it once. How many people know you’re having lunch with me right now?” He arched an eyebrow again. “Anybody?”

She looked at her purse, sitting neglected in the booth beside her. “I… I didn’t want to tell anybody.”

“My rules for your safety were non-negotiable, Lacey. I told you that from the beginning,” he reminded. “And you agreed to it. Am I remembering that correctly?”

Her bottom crawled as if she were sitting on a throne of nettles. “I brought my phone, just in case.” She fidgeted with a fold in her jeans. “I did that much.”

“Was that what I asked you to do?”

No. Her throat closed in on her, as if admitting to that out loud might somehow make the offense even worse. “Am I in trouble?”

He watched her closely. “Did you do it so you could be in trouble?”

She recoiled, shrinking all the way back in the booth. “No.” Her stomach was already a mess. She hated the way just the thought of being in trouble made her feel. “Never.”

His tone softened. “Why did you do it?”

Because if anyone knew, then at the end of this no matter what she said to try and explain it, Lacey would always know they’d be thinking it was her fault. They’d be thinking, no wonder she couldn’t hold onto Roger; that something must be wrong with her. Maybe something was, she wasn’t sure. But how could she explain any of that to someone like Eric—all handsome and fit and easy-going? Whose biggest problem right now was that his mother believed in his Dom-liness to such an extent that she couldn’t bear not to see him matched to an equally great submissive.

“Because I—” She faltered. Because what if what was wrong with her was that Roger was right?

A real Little doesn’t act like that.

A real submissive doesn’t do it that way.

If you really want to please me, you’d know better…  try harder… stop asking questions…

She was going to cry. Lacey fought the tears back. “I-I don’t know why,” she said finally. It was the safest thing she could think to say and even as she said it, her Little was right there, at the tip of her tongue. She tried not to let it out, but he seemed to hear it anyway.

“All right,” he said softly. “If you want me to accept that, it’s going to count as Two.”

Lacey shook her head. “I don’t know what that means.”

“If you choose to continue with me, you’ll find out what that means soon enough. Do you want to continue?”

Yes! her inner self cried. The rest of her understood the temptation. It had been so long. The allure of Eric’s quiet authority called to her, but not in the tough, over-the-top Domly Dom way Roger used to act with her. She liked his seemingly gentle, patient manner. “Yes, please.”

“Then pick a day for us to scene.”

Their first scene. Her stomach dropped all over again.

“Aren’t you afraid if you make it too late in the week I’ll get scared and change my mind?”

She was already scared, and yet the last thing she wanted to do was change her mind.

“I’d rather that,” Eric said, “than to have you rush into something you don’t really want to do. I don’t want my reputation in this community to be ruined because you got caught up in the moment, only to have buyer’s remorse set in once it’s too late.”

“I would never—”

“I’m not saying you would,” he gently interrupted. “What I’m saying is, I don’t want you to feel pressured in any way to agree to something I want, but which deep down inside, you don’t. If you haven’t played in two years, then sub-frenzy is a concern.”

For some reason, his ‘no pressure’ attitude made her feel even more pressured. She pressed her hands flat against her thighs, trying to still the shaking that seemed to be welling up inside her.

“With all due respect,” Lacey said, “I’ve had two years to think about what I really want. Admittedly, I did answer your ad half thinking it might be a joke, and I… I didn’t do what you told me to, the way I should have. But you need someone to make your mother back off for another year, and I need someone to…” She floundered, not really sure how to put the confusion she was feeling into words. “…t-to make me feel like I’m worth something. I put four years and everything I was into Roger. I bared my soul thinking we were fine, only we weren’t. I don’t know if you can appreciate what that does to a person, when they’ve been told that every desire they feel is the wrong one, and everything they do is the wrong thing. I guess I’m looking at this as a test to see if… maybe…” She faltered again and looked to him helplessly, not at all sure how to explain.

Eric seemed to know anyway. “I promise you, Lacey, you’re worth something. I don’t know what happened with Roger, but I guarantee you’re going to be the right submissive for some very lucky person in the scene.”

“What if I don’t belong in the scene?” she said, for the first time in her life giving voice to the fear that had gripped her once the grief of leaving Roger, her Dom and her Daddy, had faded. “What if everything I’ve identified as is all wrong?”

His mouth curled, but though her eyes tried at first to see it as mocking, it didn’t seem that way at all when he said, “That’s the thing about This Thing We Do. There are no cookie-cutter molds. Just because we don’t fit someone else’s ideal, that doesn’t make us wrong. It makes us individuals.”

That was also the problem with harboring deep-seated fears for as long as she had. Even though she liked what he’d said, it didn’t really make her feel any better.

“If you have the time, I really don’t want to wait,” she told him.

Eric leaned back in his seat. He mulled that over, rubbing his fingers lightly over the last bite of burger and what few fries remained of his lunch. “How do you feel about impact?”

Some of the tightness inside her eased. “I love it.”

“What implements do you enjoy?”

“Belt,” she said, the word falling out of her mouth as the image of dungeon-master-him dressed in black leather pants, boots, and that wide leather belt flashed through her mind. “Hand, hairbrush, wooden spoon.”

“Domestic discipline aficionado,” he commented without judgment.

“Guilty, as charged.”

“No guilt required. I love the intimacy. Cane? Crop?”

“With a warmup.”

“Naturally. Strap and tawse?”



“Not wooden ones.” She shuddered, fighting not to feel the phantom grip of Roger’s hand on the back of her neck, holding her down while he used that horrible cherrywood paddle again and again, no matter how desperately she screamed and cried and pleaded for another chance to be good. She swallowed back the worthlessness when he stopped and she heard again: A real submissive would have taken that better. Kiss the god-damn paddle and thank me. Lacey felt sick all over again. “That’s a hard limit.”

“No wood. Got it.” His gaze barely left hers as he signaled the waitress to bring the check. “I’ll get your coffee.” Opening his wallet, he handed the waitress cash and passed his driver’s license across the table. “Take a picture of that and email it to yourself with the following phrase: This is the man I went home with. Include today’s date and the current time. Now, if anything happens to you, you’ve left a fail-safe lead for police to follow. Not that anything is going to happen, mind you, not while you’re with me.” He smiled again, right before giving her that knowing Look. “That doesn’t keep you safe, though, and that’s why you’re going to promise me you won’t ever use it again. The next time you want to meet someone, but you’re afraid to let anyone know, I don’t care if it’s a year from now or ten, you call me. I will be your safety contact. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good girl.” Packing her contract into his briefcase, Eric looked up. “The place we’re going is four miles down the road. Our scene will last approximately two hours. How does that sound?”

Both intoxicating and scary as hell. Lacey swallowed hard, unsure if the shivers running through her now were those born of nervous dread for what she knew was coming or excitement and relief. “Sounds great.”

“Liar,” he teased, then winked and, as he climbed out of the booth, reached over to give her a light chuck under the chin. “Don’t worry. Depending on how the rest of our scene plays out, I may or may not count that as Three.”

Real by Maren Smith

Available on Amazon now! Just click here!



A submissive whose curiosity got the best of her…

A Dom in need of a girlfriend…

A submissive whose curiosity got the best of her…

The ad read: Submissive Wanted, Three Days Only

Theirs was a temporary relationship contracted not to last… but a lot could happen in three short days.


Excerpt: Chapter One, Part 3 of 4:


Her whole body erupted in shivers that Eric must have noticed. He looked up again. “What was that?”

“Nothing.” She blinked back at him, pretending it hadn’t happened, and praying he couldn’t see how fiercely she was blushing.

His head canted again. Chuckling, he turned to the last page on the list.

Now that she was sitting here with him, she wished she’d been more honest about the things she fantasized about. Some parts of her ached for the loss, but the rest of her tried to be sensible. This wasn’t a boyfriend/girlfriend situation. She wasn’t embarking on a sensual adventure with a new play partner. This was a temporary deal. They weren’t even likely to be sexual, so really what was the point in baring her soul and all her fucked-up sexual turn-ons, only to have those desires go unfulfilled anyway?

“Okay.” Flipping the contract back to the first page, he gave the pages a straightening tap on the table and lay them down in a neat stack to the side of his salad. Smiling, he picked up his fork. “On a scale from one to ten, how honest do you think you were filling this out?”

Lacey felt the way he stabbed that first bite of lettuce all the way through the table and into the pit of her stomach. “I-I was a twelve, I’m pretty sure.”

“Pretty sure?” He was still smiling when he gave her a look—one that was a mixture of ‘Aren’t you cute?’ and ‘You really don’t want to lie to me,’ with maybe just a bit of, ‘Go on, test me,’ thrown in. That Look put an instant stranglehold on her chest.

“I… I…” She caught herself. She had to clear her throat twice before she could make her voice sound normal again instead of just a little too high-pitched, a little too excited… a little too ‘Little’.

Had he noticed?

Eric chewed his salad, watching her with that Look and that dangerous smile still tugging the corners of his mouth. “Go on. Are you sure there’s nothing in this—” He rested his hand on the contract. “—that you might like to change?”

He’d not only noticed, he knew. Her stomach fell straight through her seat and landed, quivering, on the floor between her frozen feet. For a moment, she thought she might be sick.

But no, he couldn’t know. He couldn’t know anything because she wasn’t a real Little; her last Daddy had told her that. She never used baby talk and, although her tone did tend to rise higher than usual when she went Small, she knew it wasn’t… well, real. So, ultimately, what was there for Eric to know?

She cleared her throat one more time, just to be sure her tone was right again. “I was honest,” she lied. Twice now. She felt horrible.

Eric stopped chewing. He hummed and cleared his mouth, something she couldn’t quite identify glittering in those blue eyes of his. “All right, let’s leave that for now. Let me tell you about myself. My name is Eric Hughes. I am the only son of my parents, Salma and Daniel Hughes. I have two sisters, both of whom are married, with either successful careers or successfully careered spouses, and both have children. Although the most wonderful person on the face of the planet, my mother is hellbent on seeing the Hughes name continue on to the next generation, and being the only Hughes son, I have been tasked with making that happen. Now, I have nothing against marriage. I intend at some point in my life to be married, and I do want children. But I don’t want them now, with just anyone and only because I’m being nagged half unto death to start spawning them.”

Lacey nodded. She couldn’t really empathize. She saw her own mother maybe once a year and they rarely, if ever, talked on the phone. The subject of Lacey being settled, happily or otherwise, rarely came up. On the subject of children, Lacey wasn’t sure if she wanted any, and on that front, her mother wasn’t entitled to voice, much less have, an opinion. “Parents worry,” she said, because Eric had paused, and she wanted to show she was listening. “That’s their job, I guess.”

“That’s why I posted my ad. My mother is hosting a dinner party at her dungeon in two weeks. I’d like to be able to attend without worrying about what sacrificial virgin she plans to heave into the fiery passions of my volcano, for god’s sake.” He shook his head once.

Caught off guard by the unexpected humor of it, Lacey laughed.

“I know,” Eric acknowledged. “It sounds like I’m overreacting, but seriously. You haven’t met my mother. Yet. Last year I arrived to what I thought was a private family function, only to find two men in the living room. Just in case I didn’t like one, mom wanted to be sure I had options. I’m a top. Only one of them was submissive.”

Oh wow. Lacey’s jaw dropped, but then she laughed again. “I’m sorry.”

“Yeah, well. Fortunately for me, somewhere between passing the baked ham and the chocolate mint pie, they fell in love with each other. The year before that, they volunteered me for a bachelor’s auction at their Christmas Eve charity event. I went for almost two grand and spent the evening with the three elderly ladies who pooled their money to win me out from under Barbara Huffingston. God bless all cougars over sixty. To this day, if I ever see those three ladies again, I will happily kiss the garters right off them.”

She had no idea who he was talking about, but she liked that he complained in a way that sounded cheerful.

“Barbara sometimes attends other groups in the community; I don’t suppose you know her?” When she shook her head, Eric said, “It’s just as well. She’s a nice person, but she’s a top who loves to make other Doms kneel. She also has a preference for police issue handcuffs and pegging, and I don’t bottom. Particularly not for that.”

“Oh, wow.” Lacey almost laughed again, except that was when her brain caught up with all the information he was providing. “Did you say your parents have a dungeon?”

Wiping his mouth on his napkin and setting his salad aside, Eric nodded. “Over a hundred members meet there twice a month, every month. The only thing bigger than their annual Halloween party is their Christmas-slash-New Year’s event, held the week before Thanksgiving, because, you know, even kinky folks like to share the holidays with their families. I’m expected to bring a date. If I fail to bring someone suitable, one will be provided for me.” Signaling for more coffee, he muttered, “Heaven forbid I should fall in love with a vanilla.” He paused with his cup halfway to his mouth. “You know, that is something I should be grateful for. I honestly don’t think I could live like that. What about you?”

And just like that, he stopped talking, stared at her over his coffee cup and Lacey found herself basking in the Caribbean blue of his undivided attention.

“Uh… well, I might be able to live like that, but I’m not sure I would want to.” She hadn’t really thought about it, honestly.

He grinned behind his napkin and swallowed. “No, I mean, tell me about yourself. Tell me about your family. If we decide to go forward with this, who will I be meeting, and what am I walking into?”

“Oh!” Heat brushed her cheeks. “Sorry!”

“Six,” he said, and took another bite.

Already derailed, that threw her even more. “I’m sorry?”

He both tsked and chuckled. “Seven. Apologies,” he explained when she only blinked at him. “Four now after I told you to stop when there was no need. Don’t worry about that now. Continue, please.”

The heat in her cheeks flared a little hotter. So did blossoms of the same as they unfurled in the pit of her stomach, sparking the slow throb that pulsed at the base of her clit. “I, uh…” She shook herself just to get her brain working again. “I-I’ve been single now for two years. My last Da… uh, Dom, um… we’d been dating off and on through college, but certain things became too much and…”

“What sort of things?”

She wasn’t sure she wanted to go into that. Looking at the folded list not far from his plate, with the Little section left blank, she was sure of it. “Let’s just say, he didn’t like the kind of submissive I am and found someone whom he liked better.”

Eric had stopped chewing. The blue of his gaze seemed to have darkened, but he nodded. “Please continue.”

“My mom isn’t likely to grill you over anything. She’s a…” Lacey huffed, not at all comfortable and unsure how much to reveal this soon. But then, it was a relationship of only three days. There probably wasn’t any such thing as ‘too soon’. She braced herself before meeting his gaze again. “My mother is a drunk. Recovering,” she reluctantly amended. “Supposedly. It’s my birthday next weekend and I promised I’d go. If I could find an excuse to get out of it, I would, but I only ever drive out to her place once a year and… I don’t know. I’d rather she screwed up my birthday, than any other holiday I actually have happy memories of.” She slumped a little in her seat, painfully aware of how ugly that just made her seem. “That sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it?”

“Sometimes it ought to sound as bad as it is,” he said without judgment. “Does she know about your lifestyle choice?”

“God, no.” Lacey recoiled. “She’s completely vanilla, as far as I know. And I don’t ever want to share this part of me with her.”

“I can be discrete,” Eric assured. “Tell me, what made you respond to my ad?”


Lacey cringed. “I saw it and I thought… well, after two years of being on my own, maybe this would be a safe way to ease myself back into the dating game. Especially with someone who could give me some—” She hesitated to say ‘nice’. “—experiences.”

The waitress brought his meal just then, setting his double-patty cheeseburger and savory-scented fries on the table between them. A bundle of nerves when she’d come in, sometime during their conversation, she had relaxed enough to actually feel hungry instead of sick. She wished she hadn’t told him she’d already eaten.

Letting the waitress clear his empty salad plate, he squeezed ketchup across both the burger and fries. She tried not to stare at his food while he ate.

“I can be nice, and I certainly am safe.” Eric winked at her before popping a fry in his mouth. “I am a little curious though, what kind of submissive do you consider yourself to be? And I want you to know, I respect your privacy. I’m not asking you to go into anything painful from your past. I’m asking because the whole point of my ad was to find someone in the lifestyle who I could bring not just to dinner with my parents, but to the event party afterward. I can’t very well go stag to that after convincing them I have a girlfriend. They’d never believe it.”

“Right. Of course.” She understood that completely.

“We’ll be expected to scene together at least once that night.”

Her stomach erupted into shivering butterflies. “Right,” she said again. Her voice cracked.

“I’d prefer it if that weren’t our first time. We’ll seem more natural if we’ve played prior to the big night. Plus, I’d like to get to know for myself who the submissive-you really is. Between your birthday party and my mother’s events, I think my projected three days of togetherness will be right on target. We need to be comfortable with one another so that can be reflected in our scene.”

She melted a little. She also panicked.


Part 4 of 4 will continue tomorrow…

Real by Maren Smith, coming this Friday!

A Dom in need of girlfriend…

A Dom in need of a girlfriend…

A submissive whose curiosity got the best of her…

The ad read: Submissive Wanted, Three Days Only

Theirs was a temporary relationship contracted not to last… but a lot could happen in three short days.


Excerpt: Chapter One, Part 2 of 4:


Lacey almost jumped out of the booth, at the same time folding her papers with a guilty snap as she met All-I-Want’s questioning eyes. They were blue eyes; very blue. Like, Caribbean ocean waters on a warm and sunny day. Those photos he’d sent her really hadn’t done him justice.

“That didn’t look at all guilty,” he chuckled. His warm tone washed over her, sprouting instant blooms of heat in the pit of her nervous stomach. “Hi.” He held out his hand. “My name is Eric.”

He stood over her, hand outstretched, a briefcase tucked under one arm with a smile curling at the corners of his handsome mouth, and it all seemed so ridiculously non-threatening that Lacey couldn’t help but smile back.

“Hi, sorry!” She almost knocked her water over in a belated attempt to shake before she offended him. “Oh! Oo!” She caught her glass and set it aside before she made things worse, using both their napkins to mop up what little had spilt. “Sorry,” she said again. “I’m a little nervous. I’ve never done this before.”

“That’s okay.” Sliding into the booth on the bench across from hers, Eric held out his hand again.

Hesitating only a little, Lacey shook it a second time. “Lacey,” she greeted.

“Glad to meet you, Lacey.” His smile broadened. He also kept his hand extended. “Did you fill out the contract I sent you, and may I see it?”

Duh. Her face burning, she thrust her many-times-folded and starting-to-fray papers into his waiting hand. “Sorry.”

“That’s three times now that you’ve apologized when you haven’t done anything wrong.” His smile held only the slightest censure; one that he softened with a wink. “I think you can stop that now.”

“Sorry,” she said again, then winced. “I mean… okay, right.”

Laying his briefcase on the bench beside him, Eric pulled out a pen. “Coffee, please,” he told the waitress when she came to take his order. He glanced to Lacey, eyebrows arched. “Have you eaten lunch?”

She hadn’t even eaten breakfast. Her nerves wouldn’t let her, but if she ordered something he might try to buy it for her. She wasn’t prepared for that, so Lacey lied. “Sure.”

“Do you mind if I eat?” he asked. “I’m starved.”

“Oh no, please! Go right ahead.”

He ordered a burger and fries, with a side salad added on. As soon as the waitress had gone, his head bowed once more over the contract. He took his time, the tip of the pen keeping track of what question he was on, and making it easy for Lacey to follow along. The silence as he read was stomach-churningly absolute, and smothering. Why was she so nervous? It wasn’t as if she had anything invested in this. Either one of them could get up and walk away; no big deal. Maybe that was why. Maybe it was because the harder she tried to convince herself this was no big deal, the more it began to feel like she was putting herself on an auction block. With no bidders in the crowd, no less. Because if there was an interested bidder, why wasn’t he saying anything? So far, Eric had looked over two pages of answers without a sound. Not a grunt or a thoughtful hum. Nothing.

That didn’t bode well. He hated her. She’d answered something wrong, and any minute now he was going to raise his head, look dead at her and say…

“I like this,” Eric said, startling her as he flipped the page to continue checking questions on the other side. “We’re closely matched in preferences. Submissive, three years’ experience. Tell me about that? What does ‘experienced’ mean to you?”

Of course, he would ask that.

“Um… well.” She wasn’t much better than a newbie, really. Rubbing her sweaty palms against her thighs, Lacey did her best to make herself sound more knowledgeable than she was. “I-I’ve been in the scene since I moved here a few years ago. I joined my local dungeon. They meet pretty regularly—”

“They meet, but you don’t?”

He would pick up on that.

“I’ve attended when I could, but I haven’t in about six months or so.”

“Why not?” When she hesitated, he glanced up at her with a knowing glint narrowing his eyes. “Few partnerships in life can succeed without trust. Police and firemen are the only people who, maybe, might need it more than we do. For that reason, honesty is the one thing I’m most hard-nosed about. I won’t play with a partner I can’t trust, and I wouldn’t expect you to either. I promise I won’t ever lie to you, but you need to give me that same courtesy. If it’s uncomfortable, say so. If you don’t want to do it, tell me that. If you’re scared, I want to know. But don’t lie, all right?”

Half the knots in her stomach tightened to chokeholds. Strangely though, the other half relaxed. “O-okay. Um, well… there’s this guy who comes to the play parties and… well, he keeps asking me to scene with him. But, um…”

“You don’t want to,” he guessed.

She rubbed her palms over her thighs again. “No, he’s… very scary.” Her voice went Little before she could catch it. She cleared her throat twice before it would go back again. “He likes electric play, and he has this taser…”

“Okay,” Eric said softly. “Thank you for being honest with me. I know it’s hard, especially when we don’t know each other, and you’ve probably spent most of your life trying to keep the submissive aspect of your sexuality hidden.  I appreciate that.” He turned to the next page of the contract. “Did you notice there is no section in here for electric play?”

She hadn’t actually. She’d been more overwhelmed by the parts that were included—Shibari, impact, sensation play, role-play, and the Little section that had stirred more fantasies than any other part, and which she had agonized over the longest before leaving it out entirely. Oh God, and then there was that incredibly hot and stomach-quivering section on different forms of sex and erotic play-slash-punishment.

“I had wondered,” she lied, mostly because she didn’t want him to think she was too inexperienced or unobservant. Or worse, uninterested.

“This is the list I use when screening potential play partners.” He paused long enough to accept the salad the returning waitress set on the table. “Thank you,” he told her, then waited for her to move on before continuing. “Everything on this list is here because it interests me. I have done electric play in the past. I did it because I am a dungeon monitor for my local group, and if you don’t know how to do something correctly, how can you tell if it’s being done incorrectly?”

“Right.” That made sense.

“It’s not my favorite kink, which is why it’s not on my list.” He arched his eyebrows, canting his head slightly. “To each their own, but I can’t imagine using a taser.”

She couldn’t imagine wanting one used on her, but a woman at her group sure did. She had a scene with one at least once every few months. The sound was so terrifying, Lacey couldn’t bear to stay in the building. “So, what are your favorite kinks?”

Smiling, he waggled the list at her. “Everything on here is something I enjoy, to one degree or another.”

Lacey froze. The Little section. Every knot in her gut returned full force. And Lord, but the entire last page was almost exclusively devoted to sex stuff, some of which had been hot enough to spark some serious fantasies after she’d gone to bed. She’d lied on just about all of it, because she just couldn’t bring herself to be that vulnerably honest for the sake of a fake three-day relationship.

“Oh,” Lacey said.

Licking his thumb—her nipples perked at the sight—Eric flipped another page. “There’s not a lot I’m seeing that you dislike outright. You’ve marked a few activities as unfamiliar to you, but you’re willing to try them. I like that.”

Her breasts grew heavy and warm; her nipples tightened even more. She liked a lot of the things Eric had in the sex section of his list. Oral… anal… disciplinary… Just the thought of it brought a rush of wanton desire trickling down into the folds of her labia. She could see herself doing them, not with some faceless, unknown, fantasy Dom, but with Caribbean blue-eyed Eric. Being pressed facedown upon the bed, with the strength of his body pinning her there. His fist locked in the back of her hair. The thickness of his cock pounding into her in a way that was entirely pleasurable, even when it wasn’t comfortable, with the heat of his breath burning hot suggestions in her ear: “This is how bad girls get punished, isn’t it?” Oh, the erotic mortification of having to agree while he growled, “Take your punishment, babygirl. Take it!”

Her whole body erupted in shivers…


Part 3 of 4 will continue tomorrow…

Real by Maren Smith, coming this Friday!

Ready for a new Maren Smith book?

A Dom in need of a girlfriend…

A submissive whose curiosity got the best of her…

The ad read: Submissive Wanted, Three Days Only

Theirs was a temporary relationship contracted not to last… but a lot could happen in three short days.


Excerpt: Chapter One, Part 1 of 4:




Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree (the best version, sung by Brenda Lee) was playing over the International House of Pancakes’ sound system, but Lacey McPherson wasn’t singing or dancing along. She trailed behind the hostess, following her past the busy tables to a quiet booth in the back. At two weeks after Halloween and two weeks before Thanksgiving, they already had a tree up in the waiting area and a red felt blanket draped over a giant throne of a chair where Santa was about to sit and put himself into service. But Lacey wasn’t requesting a table where she could furtively watch and wish she were small enough to get away with sitting on his lap. She couldn’t, of course. She was twenty-seven, and at the moment, she was more worried about not throwing up than she was about the Santa actor now getting comfortable on his throne.

Lacey was one giant goose-bump of nervous energy, and she had been for two days now. That was how long it had been since she’d stumbled across that personals ad on FetLife, the online home for the kinky-inclined. Lord knows, she’d seen a lot of crazy posts from a lot of really crazy people on that website. This particular ad, the one bringing Lacey to this particular IHOP at this late lunch time of day, read like this:


Submissive Wanted for Three Days Only


Are you single this Christmas? Are you tired of everything your family has to say about it? What a coincidence, so am I! Dom seeks submissive for the holidays. You wow my family, and I’ll wow yours. Let’s neither of us be guilted into a blind date with the worst possible member of the opposite sex that our mothers can find… or worse, the same sex, forcing us once again to have that awkward “I’m not gay” conversation. All replies gratefully considered. Your picture gets mine. Full-disclosure kink contract a must as at least one scene will be required, but all hard and soft limits 100% respected. Feel free to message me at:




It read like a joke. Probably because it was, and yet… Lacey—single now for two very long years and absolutely dreading having to once again face down her mother’s holiday supper alone—had read it over and over again. Now, as had happened then, every nerve inside her tingled with an increasing awareness for the mild desperation and heavy irritation that could be read between each humor-tinged line. She could see this as-yet faceless man hammering out and posting that ad in direct response to some particularly aggravating phone call with the mother he described. Being alone for the holidays sucked. It was why suicide rates this time of the year sky-rocketed; not that she’d ever considered that, but only Valentine’s Day was worse when it came to celebrating alone. And yet… All-I-Want couldn’t really mean what he’d posted. Who’d ever heard of someone wanting a submissive long enough to fool his parents—particularly his mother—into thinking their son had finally found his One? Even knowing this ad wasn’t real and fully expecting his reply to say as much, that was if he even bothered to reply at all, Lacey had still sent him an email.

If you’re serious, she’d written, I might be interested in applying. She’d then changed her clothes, brushed her hair, put on some light makeup, decided her clothes were too dressy for an impromptu selfie and so changed again. But then she was too casual, so she’d changed into her favorite clubbing clothes. But now she looked like a prostitute, and how come she hadn’t noticed that before? So, again, she’d changed her clothes and roughly forty minutes later in front of the bathroom mirror, she’d snapped a pic with her cellphone and sent it as an attachment to that email. Only after the email had gone through, had she noticed she should have cleaned the bathroom first because she could clearly see two out of three sets of discarded outfits flung over the towel bar in the background.

As if All-I-Want, who only wanted a submissive for three lousy days, was going to grade her on her housekeeping skills. Lacey had still been so mortified that she’d buried herself under a mound of blankets and stuffies, with her two favorite Build-A-Bears pressed to her ears in an effort to block out the notification chime when she received her answer a whole heart-stopping thirty-seven minutes later. The bears hadn’t worked; she’d heard it anyway, and in full Little panic-mode, she’d run to check the email, but then didn’t want to open it because what if all he wrote back was: Of course I’m not serious. What are you, some kind of cute but sloppy nut? For God’s sake, clean your bathroom.

Or worse, what if he said: You’re cute enough to fool my mom, let’s do this thing! …But first, have some pride, woman. Go clean your bathroom.

Lacey couldn’t bear it. She’d cleaned her bathroom. Only after that, with her two favorite stuffies clutched to her chest for moral support, had she opened the email.

Yes, I am absolutely serious. I also appreciate the photo. Here’s one of me in return. If I meet with your approval and you’d like to take this further, let me know.

He made no mention of her messy bathroom, so really, what kind of Dom could he be? Still, Lacey had opened up the photo attachment. God… who wouldn’t want to take this further? And why didn’t he have a lineup of girlfriends? This guy was gorgeous! Short blond hair, professionally cut. Eyes either blue or grey, it was hard to tell without blowing up the photo, and when she did, the pixeling became all blurry. He looked fit. Like, Norcross fit, and instead of one photo, he’d sent two.

The first was the completely normal, guy-next-door type of picture. He wore jeans, a flannel shirt, and he was sitting on the tailgate of a cherry-red pickup somewhere out in the woods. The second photo was All-I-Want dungeon-master style. Black leather pants replaced the jeans. No shirt exposed the perfect and hairless chest of a man in his physical prime, who probably preferred to wax. Gone was the tailgate. Instead, he was standing behind a long, red-padded table that doubled as a cage underneath. A half-naked woman with a bright red ass was sleeping inside it and spread out across the top—be still her beating heart—were all the tools of his trade. Paddles, one wood, one leather; crops and canes; an assortment of floggers; cuffs; a length of honest-to-God chain; vibrators, dildoes, butt plugs of assorted sizes; and Lord, but she’d liked the look of the wide leather belt around his waist.

Lacey had squirmed in her chair.

Something had to be wrong with him, right? Guys who looked this good and who were, in actuality, good normal worth-having guys, were always attached. Right?

She’d stared at his picture, cradling both Build-A-Bears in her lap, only one of which was an actual bear. The other was a dark blue T-Rex in a Batgirl dress. Bat Rex. She was Lacey’s absolute favorite.

Just because All-I-Want was single, she’d thought, that didn’t mean he wasn’t a decent guy. She was single, after all. Apart from some minor housekeeping issues, she thought she was a pretty decent catch. It couldn’t hurt to get more information. And really, if worse came to worse, it was still only for three days over the holidays. At least she’d have a date to somebody’s Christmas dinner.

“Okay,” she’d breathed as she’d laid her hands on the keyboard and opened up an email reply. Let’s do this thing.

And so, now here she was. Sliding into a quiet booth in the back of her local IHOP, ordering coffee with a tummy that was so wound up in nervous knots that she might throw up if she dared eat or drink anything. She had a folded copy of All-I-Want’s negotiation contract clutched between her hands. She kept pinching the seam, sliding her finger and thumbnail down the length of it. It couldn’t get any more folded than it was, and actually, the paper fibers were starting to fray. Still, she couldn’t help herself. Her sneakered feet jiggled up and down under the table as she repeatedly checked her watch. It was okay that he wasn’t here yet. She was ten minutes early. That didn’t mean he was standing her up.

What if she hated his personality? His ad had given her a glimpse of his sense of humor, so at least he had one. But what if that was all he had? What if she hated everything else about him? What if he hated her?

That was why they were meeting for coffee, in a public place no less. They were doing it to feel each other out in the most non-threatening way possible. She was perfectly safe, as he had pointed out. He’d even requested she rope in a friend to be her safety contact while she was here. She’d never thought of that before, but he’d insisted she text someone every fifteen minutes until the date was done. If necessary, she could even have someone call in a fake emergency so she could bail without feeling guilty or pressured to stay if he just plain wasn’t what she was looking for in a three-days-only for-the-holidays kind of relationship. That had been his idea too, which kind of defeated the purpose since, if she did have an ‘emergency’, he was going to know it was only to get away from him. That made her feel weird, so she hadn’t done it. She didn’t want to explain to anyone about the guy she took home to meet her mother, and who she then followed home to meet his, and then never talked to again. And what if he took one look at her and bailed right now? She certainly didn’t want anyone to know she wasn’t even temporary relationship material.

Lacey checked her watch again. Eight more minutes. Jesus, how time dragged when she just wanted it to be over.

Desperate for some kind of distraction, Lacey opened the papers she’d brought, looking again at the form he’d given her. There was no such thing as a ‘standard’ BDSM contract and scene negotiation, although most of the good ones usually covered the same sort of information. All the who, whats, whens, and wheres of all possible scene activities were listed somewhere on these eight pages. Lacey wasn’t a frequent participant in her local community’s regular meet-and-greets. A couple of times, she’d been to their dungeon, which was little more than the finished basement portion of the lead member’s barn. She’d even played, although not with the Doms. Rather, she liked to join the Little groups, pulling up a section of floor whenever a Little Party was announced. She wasn’t a real Little, but none of the others needed to know that. And there was no denying that those Parties were huge emotional stress-relievers for her, even if she did like to say she did it only for the juice boxes and the coloring.

Lacey looked over the page she’d been given. There was a whole section on here devoted to Littles, each question designed to reveal what kind of Little she was and what she liked. Did she identify as a Little? That was question number one. Lacey had put ‘no’ and all the other questions in this section she had left blank. It killed her just a bit inside, even though she wasn’t a real Little. She’d had a Daddy Dom in the past, and he’d wasted no time at all pointing that fact out. Besides, she’d read All-I-Want’s profile and looked at his FetLife photos, and frankly, nothing on there had screamed ‘Daddy Dom’ to her. Rather, he seemed more into Shibari and the artistic crafting of intricate corsets and dresses out of colorful bondage rope. He obviously enjoyed impact play. More than three-quarters of his pictures showed his handiwork from that.

Lacey liked those pictures. She’d saved more than a few to her laptop in a file marked with his name. Which might seem creepy or stalker-ish, and she hoped he never found out about it. But she told herself it was prudent research, especially since she was planning to hop in the car with this guy at some point and travel off to meet his parents. For three days, including play scenes and overnight sleeping arrangements. Her tummy quivered. A girl couldn’t be too careful.

Especially considering some of the bright red butts All-I-Want had posted on his profile. Some of those photos… Wow. Lacey squirmed again, bottom tingling. She tried to concentrate on the form, wasting time by checking once more for any questions she might have missed. She refused to look at the Little section. That side of her was too personal to share with anyone she didn’t intend to stick around with, especially when she wasn’t a real Little to start with.

But getting spanked by him was okay, her brain said wryly, and her tummy tightened up all over again.


Part 2 of 4 will continue tomorrow…

Real by Maren Smith, coming this Friday!

An Old-Fashioned Man by Celeste Jones

I love domestic discipline. Shocker there, I know. But not all stories in the genre are the same. Certain ones trip my trigger faster than others, and this is one of those that hits the mark dead center.



After a cataclysmic earthquake destroys the campus of her small women’s college and

everything in the surrounding area—and possibly much of the world—Lara is left wandering the

woods in search of food, shelter, and other survivors. When she spends the night in a barn to

escape the cold, however, she is surprised to be awoken by a tall, handsome Amish man.


When he startles Lara and she makes a run for it, Caleb Miller takes it upon himself to chase the

frightened girl down and make sure she is provided with a hot meal and a warm place to sleep.

But Lara is unlike any woman Caleb has ever set eyes on, and in spite of the circumstances,

every moment they spend together leaves him more certain that she is meant to be his wife.


Though she is shocked when Caleb asks her to be his bride, Lara cannot deny her excitement at

the thought of sharing his bed. But after accepting his proposal, she quickly discovers that his

approach to wifely discipline is quite traditional indeed, and it isn’t long before she finds herself

over his knee for a sound spanking on her bare bottom.


The stern chastisement leaves Lara’s cheeks blushing and her backside burning, yet it also

arouses her deeply, and when her new husband takes her in his arms and makes her his own it is

more pleasurable than she ever imagined. But will her body’s response to Caleb’s firm-handed

dominance be enough to leave her in no doubt that she belongs with an old-fashioned man?


Publisher’s Note: An Old-Fashioned Man includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material

offends you, please don’t buy this book




“The switch shall be used after we are married, for serious infractions. For today, I believe I can make my point without it.”

The first slap of his work-worn hand against her tender flesh dissuaded her of the belief that he’d be gentle. “Ouch, that hurt.”

“How else are you to learn a lesson, Lara?” He gave her lessons all over her left cheek and then administered some stinging lessons to the right. All the while, Lara yelped and bounced across his knees.

“Caleb,” she said, gasping between swats, “please stop.”

“I am the one who determines your punishment. ‘Tis your job to be quiet and think about why you are being disciplined.”

Lara rolled from side to side trying to elude his paddle-like hand. “All I can think about is that it hurts.”

With an exasperated sigh, Caleb swung his leg over both of hers and clamped her in place. “Hold still and hold your tongue, woman.” He raised the single knee Lara balanced across and pressed his other leg against the backs of her calves, forcing her to a jackknife position, bare rear end pointed toward the ceiling. For a first timer, Caleb spanked with surprising accuracy and vigor. Heat reverberated across her bottom and down her thighs. The same tingling sensation she’d sought to alleviate in the shower earlier blossomed in her womanhood and she cried out in confusion and pain. Why was Caleb spanking her and why did her traitorous body like it?

Available now on Amazon!



What is ‘show don’t tell’?

I understand there is a rare breed of author out there that actually understands exactly what is meant when they are told ‘show don’t tell’. I’m not one of them. I often struggle with this and it’s a work in progress, but I am comforted by the knowledge that I don’t suffer alone in this ongoing struggle to ‘show’, rather than narrate. It wasn’t until I started this challenge that I began to really look at the problem, and talk to other authors who were struggling with it as well. I am by no means perfect when it comes to exercising this concept within my own work. Like I said, it’s a work in progress. However, I do know a few basics and so I thought I’d share those here.

#1: Can you identify when you’re telling instead of showing?

There is nothing more disheartening than building up the courage to show your story to someone and have them say, ‘It’s really pretty good… except all those places when you show instead of tell.” Especially if you have no idea what they’re talking about. So, what does ‘show don’t tell’ even mean and how can you identify when you’re doing it wrong?

Anton Chekov not only said it best, but he said it in a way I could finally grasp.

Break this quote down and what it teaches you is that every time you write ‘The moon shone’, you are telling. Never say ‘The moon shone over the city’ when you can say ‘Eerie silver-white moonlight lit the wet city streets, making the puddles glisten and the shadows cast by crates, cars and boxes that much darker.’ Showing deepens the mood of your scene. Telling is just… there. Why say ‘It was windy’ when you could say ‘A whispering breeze tugged at the folds of her skirt and played in the auburn curls of her hair’? Or, ‘Dry withered leaves shivered in the tree tops, letting loose their clawing branches to rain tumbling down across the lawn.’

#2: Feel/Felt is always telling when you use it to expression emotion.

When I hit the end of every first draft, the first thing I do is a Find and Replace, searching up words I tend to overuse and this is also where I start looking for feel and felt. If it’s not talking about sensation, find another way to say it.

#3 Okay, it took me a LONG time to get a grip on this. So, on the off chance that someone else also needs another couple examples, here you go. These are a few ways to SHOW emotion, rather than to TELL it.

#4 The magic of body language.

Body language can say everything if you use it right.  Admittedly, it does require a bit more thought than simply saying, ‘Bob was sad.’

#5 Use your senses.

When it comes to showing how your characters are feeling, the senses are your best friends. Stick with one or two. It shouldn’t take paragraphs to describe an emotion. If you’re using more than a sentence or two, you need to trim it down. Also, if you use the same senses each and every time, you lose some of the descriptive depth you’re trying to build. So mix it up. Balance means using as many as you can in various ways, without your WIP reading like your going down… well, this list.

For something that took me years to grasp, it literally comes down to one line: If the emotion is the descriptor, chances are you’re telling. If the senses are the descriptor, that’s showing and that’s what you want.

Is ‘Said’ Really Dead?

I read an article yesterday that claimed use of the word ‘said’ is dead. For some reason, authors are being encouraged to steer clear of it’s usage and turn instead to other words that might better describe how whatever is being said. For instance, whisper describes how the speaker is talking. Bellowed not only describes tone, but also the character’s mood. Therefore, the article seemed to be advocating the death of ‘said’, which is a non-descriptor, by enriching your writing through the use of other dialogue tags. Meme lists abound all over google that provide 200+ words that could be used instead of plain, ol’ said. Because said is dead.

Well, I am writing this to say SAID is NOT dead. In fact, if you follow that advice, you run a serious risk of creating a novel that reads like a 1950s Dick Tracy comic book. Meaning, campy and over-the-top,  a work that no one reading it would take seriously. Sorry, Harvey Comics. Not sorry, to whomever authored that incredibly bad piece of advice. In fact, not only am I not sorry, but you owe every reader who bought into that horrible statement a Coke and an apology.
Said is NOT dead. Yes, you should keep that list of 200+ other ways to say SAID handy and use it SPARINGLY as a way to enrich your story by turning your dialogue tags into descriptions on your character’s tone and emotions. Did you notice my use of the word ‘sparingly’ up there? That’s because I personally believe that roughly 70% of your dialogue should include a dialogue tags (and yes, I did just pull that percentage out of my ass) and only 70% of that should be SAID. Why?
  • Because if you don’t use SAID and only use descriptors, then your book will read as if it were written for angsty teenagers, by an angsty teenager without any grasp on how real emotions work or how to incorporate them into their WIPs.
  • Because when a reader is lost in a story, their eye will pass right over SAID, but still cue in on the important stuff: what is being said and who is saying it.
  • Because sometimes characters just need to talk, damn it, without all the fripperies that can bog down a dialogue scene.

Let me give you an example:

Example One:

“I hate coming up with examples,” she announced.

“I know,” he commiserated. “But, sometimes it’s necessary.”

“To who?” she exclaimed. “Who’s even going to read this?”

“Oh,” he chuckled. “I’m sure you’ll get one or two readers.”

“Bet I don’t,” she complained.

“Besides,” he continued, “you’re making a point. Points should be made whether anyone reads it or not.”

She scoffed. “You’re just saying that because you’re a sadist and you get sick enjoyment out of making me do things I don’t like to do.”

“No,” he drawled. “I’m saying it because it’s true.” He smirked. “Being a sadist does make it more fun, though.”

Okay, I’m lousy at examples, but you get the point. It reads clunky and all the expostulating is ridiculous. In a normal story, you wouldn’t use a dialogue tag every time your character speaks, but if you use nothing but descriptor tags, your entire book will read this way.

However, swap it around. You can kind of see what the author of ‘said is dead’ was trying to say.

Example Two:

“I hate coming up with examples,” she said.

“I know,” he said. “But, sometimes it’s necessary.”

“To who?” she asked. “Who’s even going to read this?”

“Oh,” he chuckled. “I’m sure you’ll get one or two readers.”

“Bet I don’t,” she said.

“Besides,” he said, “you’re making a point. Points should be made whether anyone reads it or not.”

She scoffed. “You’re just saying that because you’re a sadist and you get sick enjoyment out of making me do things I don’t like to do.”

“No,” he said. “I’m saying it because it’s true.” He smirked. “Being a sadist does make it more fun, though.”

If you only use SAID (apart from the obvious deviations), then it can still ruin an otherwise decent dialogue exchange. So, if SAID is not dead, how then should it be used? In my opinion, these are the rules that authors should follow when using dialogue tags:

  • If it’s not a question, use SAID.
  • Does a descriptor need to be used? If yes, use a descriptor (whispered, breathed, scoffed, laughed, yelled, etc…). If no, use SAID.
  • Is a dialogue tag necessary at all? Are there more than two people involved in the conversation? If yes, don’t go more than two lines (and by line, I mean switching back and forth between speakers, not sentences) without a dialogue tag. It quickly becomes difficult for readers to keep straight who’s saying what. If no, use dialogue tags sparingly.
  • Can you use an action instead of a dialogue tag? If yes, don’t use SAID or anything else, use the action instead. People almost never just stand around talking. Your book is a movie in the head of the reader. Let your characters move.

Example Three:

“I hate coming up with examples,” Jill said.

“I know.” Sorting through the mail, Ben kept two and dropped the rest in the trash. “But, sometimes it’s necessary.”

“To who? Who’s even going to read this?”

He chuckled. “Oh, I’m sure you’ll get one or two readers.”

Pouting, she scowled. “Bet I don’t.”

“Besides, you’re making a point. Points should be made whether anyone reads it or not.”

She scoffed. “You’re just saying that because you’re a sadist and you get sick enjoyment out of making me do things I don’t like to do.”

“No, I’m saying it because it’s true.” He smirked and swatted her for no reason other than the tactile pleasure of her butt in his hand. “Being a sadist does make it more fun, though.”