Category Archives: Driftwood Deeds

Gift Inspiration Driftwood Deeds

If you’re anything like me, two weeks before Christmas you’re probably not exactly done with your Christmas gifts. For me, that is because my family is made up of die-hard pragmatists when it comes to material things, who almost impossible to find presents for. So I researched gifts for people who appreciate such things in a series of book inspired gift ideas.

BIW-series-banner

 

My Breaking in Waves series is set by the seaside, full of ocean treasures, long lost stories and love.

Etsy: Sea Glass Necklace, by lacylauragray — $7.50

In the first book, Paul takes Iris on a walk by the sea-side, to an abandoned beach where he finds all the raw materials for his work-work: driftwood and rope, sea-glass and rusty fishing gear. They walk around the place in wellington boots, searching for treasure and forging a very first connection.  They find little glittering fishing lures, and pieces of sea-glass glittering in the sand.

 

“So you think I like broken things?” I asked after a long time, voice warm and tinged in this quiet, restful moment. Paul Archer looked at me over the rim of his cup, which he held in both hands to drink as though it was an Asian bowl.

Etsy: Asian Bowl with Chopsticks Holder by SwampFires, $25.00

“I think you understand them, notice them,” he corrected, then tilted his head, put the cup down and pulled his glasses from his face. He wiped the hot water condensation from the lenses before resetting the glasses on his nose in that charming gesture. “And maybe, you feel drawn to them, too.” (Driftwood Deeds, Chapter 3)

Although primarily a screen-writer, Paul likes to work with his hands. He makes beautiful things out of driftwood: furniture and decorative objects. Later in Trading Tides, she makes a bed-side table for Iris because she needs somewhere to rest her books when she’s asleep. He likes the stories he imagines in old wood, long cut from its tree.

Driftwood Dock for iPad and iPhone, by Docksmith — $120.00

It has history embedded in its markings, a history of growth, and then another long story of getting lost and found by the beach. Driftwood inspires him to write, and — in a way — driftwood inspires him to be the person he wants to be, the person he grows into throughout the series.

Paul is like a knotted, washed out piece of wood, Iris finds on her day at the beach. A piece of driftwood that compels, inspires her with its beauty and its history, with the soft sheen of its form. And she takes it with her, slowly working new life into a man who long thought the most exciting parts of his life were in the past.

Handmade Leather Paddle, by ThePaddleman — $40.28

Instead, they start their tumultuous love story – and of course it’s not simple. Great passion never comes easy. But then Iris doesn’t like easy. She likes pain and the test of endurance. She likes the way Paul reaches for a leather strap to spank her rear.

“You didn’t want to wear any of them,” he says after a while. I pause, try to gather my thoughts. Then I shake my head.

“But you want to be mine?”

HIS & HER’S Leather Infinity Cuff Bracelets, by MemorylaneJewelry — $80.00

“Yes!” There’s a sharp, hot knot in my stomach and I reach for his hand on the wall, cover it with mine. “Of course I do. I am. And I want… I want to wear something of yours. I want to be reminded all the time. Just…”

“Just what, baby girl?”

“I think maybe I want something of yours. Something that’s you. Or me. Something that’s about us. (Trading Tides, Epilogue)

Leather Journal, by CLWorkshop — $40.00

And, of course, in the very last book – Saltwater Skin, which will be released in January – Paul has given Iris more than a leather cuff, and a collar. He also gave her a diary, he bound from the same piece of leather. A diary for her to him, to write in her thoughts and her feelings, to express everything she finds hard to say out loud — like all of us should.

 

 

Lastly, there are still the books – ebooks for now, although there will be a print edition of the full collection in the new year! But then, who doesn’t love a book appearing on their eReader, a new one a friend enjoyed before us?

Driftwood Deeds, Breaking in Waves #1, Laila Blake goodreads-badge

Trading Tides, Breaking in Waves #2, Laila Blake goodreads-badge

Detail of female hands tied up with rope goodreads-badge

Pre-order on Amazon

Release date: Jan 6th 2014

 

 

New Release: Trading Tides

Remember a few months ago, when I talked about writing this a lot? Well, Trading Tides is finally out now. And in order to celebrate the release, we have a new series edition cover for Driftwood Deeds as well! :D

Detail of female hands tied up

Remember Driftwood Deeds? Because you should definitely get a copy and read it, if I may say so myself, hehe – if just so that you can check out Trading Tides!

DriftwoodDeedssmallDriftwood Deeds
(Breaking in Waves #1)

Release Date: 9th December 2013

When journalist Iris Ellis visits a sleepy seaside town to interview recluse screenwriter Paul Archer, he offers her insights into never acted upon fantasies of dominance and submission. Too curious to deny herself a taste of them, Iris gives herself up to Paul’s gentle guidance, but when she realizes that a taste can never be enough, she must find the courage to ask for what she needs or risk losing it all.

Called a “gem for fans of BDSM romance and the perfect starting point for readers new to the genre” by RT Book Reviews, Driftwood Deeds is a novella of sexual awakening as well as consent and communication in bdsm.

Publisher: A Hotter State

Amazon.com \\ Amazon.co.uk \\ Amazon.de
B&N \\ Kobo \\ ARe Romance \\ Smashwords \\ Goodreads
Or set the mood on the
Driftwood Deeds Pinterest Board and Playlist

DriftwoodDeedssmallTrading Tides
(Breaking in Waves #2)

Release Date: 17th July 2013

Love, they say, is magnified by absence.
After the dream-like quality of Iris’ visit at Paul’s sea-side home, she is back in the routine and drudgery of her city life. Struggling to put a label on what they have together, they phone and write letters, trying to sustain the flame, until they can make time to be in each other’s arms again. But once they are, how do you pull back into proportions a love so magnified it burns?

Publisher: A Hotter State

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Amazon.com \\ Amazon.co.uk \\ Amazon.de
B&N \\ Kobo \\ ARe Romance \\ Smashwords \\ Goodreads
Or set the mood on the
Trading Tides Pinterest Board and Playlist

 

Let’s talk about love. Insta-love.

Almost all my characters suffer from what I understand is a fatal flaw in romance novels.

Almost all my characters have a tragic slant towards insta-love.

Now, I don’t actually write romance, as far as I would define it, although Driftwood Deeds
comes pretty close. I think, I write novels with love stories in their side or main plots, usually some kind of genre cross-over, because that’s what makes me happy. But there is still that romantic connection, the nod to everybody who does like to read about love. Like me, like you – like almost everybody it seems, considering that even very male-oriented staples usually feature some kind of love story, love interest or love-related motivation. And why wouldn’t it?
medium_2834306912After (and often enough before) the basic necessities for survival are satisfied, love seems to be one of the forces in our lives that creates the most change, the most flux, drama, happiness, anxiety and contentment, all at once. It’s a literary gold mine. What would 1984 be without the strange, crooked love story between Winston and Juliet? Or even Fight Club, without Marla Singer? It surprised me at the time when I read that Chuck Palahniuk categorized his novel as a love story. It made a crazy amount of sense, when I read it again.

So this insta-love business. I understand why it’s a somewhat hated trope. It smacks a little bit of neglect, of giving your characters something good too easily. And maybe that’s true. Sometimes. But avoiding insta-love completely, would also remove my personal experience of love from my writing. And I don’t want to do that. I want my writing to be real, and honest. Not so personal that you can read some of my stories and feel like I just put my life’s story on your shoulders, but personal enough to transport truth.
For me, love was always quick. And it takes a while to understand that my personal experience is not everybody else’s. So for a long time, the idea of insta-love baffled me. Do we really need reasons for falling in love? Do we need conflict and emotional back and forth? It’s never been that way for me – the reasons and the drama came later.

I’ve read a lot about introverts and emphatic and sensitive people recently, ostensibly in order to put a nicer spin on a lot of my character traits, redefining them for myself as assets. But I came across something interesting, which was that highly sensitive people often report falling in love really fast and head-over-heels intensely. Maybe because there is something about our nervous systems that is easy overwhelmed in general (loud parties, a problem, that news report about the suffering after an earthquake) and of course love can be the most overwhelming of all.

Maybe it’s the romance novel expectation: when the plot is the love story, why throw the prize away a few pages after they meet? I understand that rationally, but in every other way I find that hugely problematic.
For one thing, why is that the prize? Surely the prize is actually being with that person, and realizing you can actually make it work.

It also bothers me, when (usually) the girl doesn’t like him at first, thinks he’s a bit brutish or arrogant or stupid or whatever, and then we spend a novel reading about how she was wrong and he got her anyway. Why do we insist on telling women not to trust their instincts? Instincts are good! We should foster them, try to divide them from our prejudices, hone them and allow them to influence our decisions.
Another way love is oven deferred in books, is due to pride. And again, I understand about not giving away the prize and all, but I actually like reading about people who are open and generous about their feelings. Who don’t hold onto them like little old misers with their pennies. Who are open to falling in love, even if it hurts; who laugh, even at slightly stupid jokes; who cry when something is sad rather than refusing to feel. Why do we so often look down on people who feel.

So you fall for someone and the worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work out, you get rejected, you find out he isn’t really that great… yeah, that stuff hurts. And we can learn to deal with that. Especially when we are open about that pain, too.

BTLOTM -- color240x360In By the Light of the Moon, Moira and Owain, once they find a connection, fall in love hard and fast. And I never considered that this might be insta-love. Especially because she is a 19-year-old who’s never been in love before. Isn’t that how we fall in love for the first time? Hard and fast, without reason or pride, absolutely at the mercy of this avalanche of hormones and joy and panic that spreads through our bodies at the sight of his smile, at the feel of his first touch?

I still fall in love like that.

I’m a grown-up now, so I know not to say it. I know that I can only say I am in love with someone when I am ready to make a commitment and, better yet, when they have said it first so I know they are ready for a commitment – but all that is just my head talking, my cultural programming, the knowledge of acceptable word usage. So I use different words, but the feeling is still there.
The truth is there isn’t one way to love, or one definition. Love can be all sort of things, and go through all sorts of phases – but that first flutter, the overwhelming feeling that this person could be someone incredible, why is that so underrated anymore?

Of course it’s not as stable, it’s not a promise, it’s not a guarantee, but isn’t that beauty in it? Isn’t that something that can grow? And isn’t the growth an interesting story, too?
I love Pride & Prejudice, but I still want to shake Lizzie and Darcy because they are wasting so much precious time, so many moments together. They even manage to almost destroy the sweet insta-love between Jane and Bingly with their pride and rationality. And I want to shake them for that, too.

And yeah, I hate insta-love too when it’s about superficial stuff. When love comes from the way someone wears their hair, or the cocky smile on his face. But that’s not all we perceive. I think after even evening together, we can see so much in a person. In their opinions, their jokes, their reactions, the little nuances in their voice, especially in their voice.
I think we should pat ourselves and our characters on the back and trust a little more, give some weight to first impressions and instincts, to sudden rushes of feeling.

Sure, they’ll lead us astray sometimes. But that’s no reason to stop feeling.

photo credit: Brandon Christopher Warren and mohammadali via photopin cc

Release News Spring 2014

May is knocking on the door with — at least here in Cologne/Germany — a lot sunshine and birdsong. There hasn’t been much time for blogging recently, or maybe I just lacked that fire that always drives me to some issue-laden post about society and women and writing.  And so I let the thoughts percolate until the fire is back, but I still wanted to give you all a quick update on what has been going on this month and where we stand.

After Life Lessons

As you probably know by now — because we’ve been flogging it a lot — After Life Lessons finally came out earlier this month. With editing, formatting, graphics and review solicitation, it really took up the better parts of February and March in a way I wasn’t quite prepared for. But it’s finally out and work starts to taper off just as feedback is streaming in.
It’s actually doing quite well, better than we expected and we’ve had a lot of great support from readers and the overwhelming response was pretty damn positive.ALL400-6001

We expected that it would be hard sale, mixing zombies (which make people expect and hope for action and adventure) with both romance and more women’s fiction/general fiction elements that slow down the action and take the book to a place we enjoy. And while the responses have shown that there was some basis for this concern, they also proved that the majority of people followed us down this different path and largely enjoyed it very much.

We really are grateful for that leap of faith on the side of our readers.

On the side of actual news, we finalized the first draft of After Life Lessons – The Interlude this week. As we discussed before, it is a collection of 9 short stories told from various first person points of view (mainly Aaron and Emily, of course, but also Song and Annika). They showcast their lives in the 2 years they spend at the farm they find towards the end of After Life Lessons (Book One) and so bridge over nicely to the start of After Life Lessons (Book Two), which is where we plan to end the series.
After several rounds of editing and formatting, we will officially release After Life Lessons – The Interlude in July 2014. Friends and readers who sign up to our newsletter, will get it for free a little ahead of time.

 

Lakeside Series

BTLOTM -- color600x900After the rights to By the Light of the Moon were returned to me earlier this year and the book vanished from online retailers, I’m ready to release the revised and edited version next month, on May 27th 2014.

It was really a wonderful process to finally go back in and to fix some of those issues that I’ve been having with the book ever since I realized a publisher actually wanted it, but then it was too late. I gave the book a different start, changed some of the motivations and relationships. It’s essentially the same book, and I don’t think that readers of the original version will need to read this new one to follow the series onward, but I am a lot more proud of it the way it is now.

I’m about to move into formatting it and going through all the necessary steps to get it out there to you, but at the same time, I am also starting to edit Lakeside #2 – A Taste of Winter, which I hope to finally release in September or October (only a year after I originally hoped to release it).

To stay informed about those releases, you can also always sign up for the Lilt Literary release newsletter.

 

Breaking in Waves

Driftwood Deeds has been out for almost 5 months, and so it’s no big surprise that we are moving towards the release of the next installment. Trading Tides is currently with my lovely publisher A Hotter State and going through edits and other publishing processes. We hope to release it towards the end of June.tradingtides1

Trading Tides takes Iris back to her work in London and follows her experience of longing and difficulty in a distance relationship. At 35k, it’s a bit longer than Driftwood Deeds, but still just within novella parameters.

The last installment of the Breaking in Waves series should also come out sometimes towards the end of the year. It will be called Saltwater Skin, be told from Paul’s perspective and take both of them back to the sea and into a final HEA.

 

Other Releases

In terms of anthologies, I also have some new things to report. After Kristina Wright’s Best Erotic Romance in February and Shawna Kenney’s Book Lovers in March, I actually have a few new ones lined up that feature stories of mine.

Bossy – Five Productive Tales of Lesbian Lust, Harper Bliss (May)
A Princess Bound – Naughty Fairy Tales for Women, Kristina Wright (May/June)
Bound for Trouble – BDSM erotica for women, Alison Tyler (July)
The Big Book of Bondage, Rachel Kramer Bussel (July)

And in addition to that, Ladylit will release a small collection of just my lesbian short stories sometime this year. How exciting is that?

Explanations

We’re so sorry we’ve not posted a new podcast in nearly a month! With the holidays upon us, our fair Laila landed in the hospital and only now just got out! Pour one for her missing gallbladder, or toast her recovery by buying your very own copy of her new novella, Driftwood Deeds! We’ll be back as soon as we’re able with more chats, rants, and all around interesting (we hope) fun. Stay tuned!


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