September 21st, 2011

red carpet

Welcome Kay Berrisford

Today I welcome Kay Berrisford to the blog :). I met Kay at the UK Meet this year, where I think we were both thrilled to meet so many great authors in our home country!

Kay's celebrating her first novel, Bound for the Forest, out now at Loose Id and you can buy it HERE!

BLURB: England, 1817. Ex-soldier Melmoth Brien returns to his ancestral home in the ancient Greenwood, intending to retrieve his family’s valuables and get the hell out of there. When he’s beaten to it by Scarlet, a young woodsman turned thief, Brien overpowers him and ties him up, demanding he help get the family fortune back by leading him deep into the forest. The flash of sexual fire between them is undeniable, but a force more powerful than rivalry or lust is ratcheting up the tension.

Brien’s family are Protectors of the Greenwood, a responsibility he has discarded like every other in his life. To Scarlet, whose very life-force is bound to the Greenwood, this makes Brien a traitor. He would use anything, even his body, to drive him away. After all, a traitor may stir the fouler Spirits, who will demand blood. And Scarlet knows he is marked for sacrifice...

Lured ever deeper into a realm of ritualized sex and magic, bondage and blood, the fighting gives way to rampant lovemaking, but Scarlet needs more than just sex to survive. Can Brien admit his identity as a Protector and bind his underling forever, or will the Greenwood Spirits enslave them both?

Genres: LGBT, nontraditional sexuality, historical, fantasy, paranormal, BDSM. Novel, 68000 words.

And now, over to Kay herself...

The publication of my first novel, “Bound for the Forest,” has obviously been a huge event in my life. In the last few weeks I’ve squealed in delight at my beautiful book cover, had the pleasure of getting to know tons of amazing fellow writers, and wallowed in a quagmire of self-doubt. My ‘other half’ can tell you that, before the release, I was insufferably nervous and grumpy. Even bringing me a toffee apple all the way from Bath did not cheer me up. Sorry, Chris!

Looking back, however, I think the biggest change in my life came just under a year ago, when several of my friends -- they know who they are!! – convinced me to sit down and write what I really wanted to write. I did just that. I stopped worrying about what I thought publishers were looking for, or what anybody would think, and wrote my book. “Bound” took me the best part of three months to write and completely dominated my life. I started keeping a notebook by my bed for ideas that came to me in the middle of the night.

The “big change” occurred to me before I even sent “Bound” off to Loose Id. When I was studying at school or university or working in a busy press office, my imagination was the place that I went to for escape and relaxation. And, despite always enjoying my occupations, I went there a lot. Now when I wanted to switch off, particularly if I wanted to stop buzzing about story ideas and go to sleep, I was at a little bit of a loss. Yes, I loved my writing, but I could no longer quite relax in my usual way. As my pile of WIPs grew, so did the list of imaginative spaces that prompted my grabbing for a notebook: magical forests, castles, ruined abbeys, Victorian London, the theatre, anything to do with fairies and pixies and, erm, Green Men. And as for thinking about sex, well, it’s always going to be fun, but escape? Hell, no. Reach for the notebook once more!

Of course, I’m not complaining. It’s fantastic that I can spend so much time doing the one thing I’ve always loved and, besides, I can always read another writer’s book for escape. As for my over-active imagination, well, I’m finding new places to explore. Because it’s not my usual thing, I’ve been playing with a lot of sci-fi daydreams of late. And now I’ve got a plan for a sci-fi novella, featuring intergalactic elves discovering the joys of BDSM. Whoops!

Thanks so much to Clare London for letting me blog here today!


Something in Scarlet’s laughter chimed dark and feckless. But, Brien supposed, one might as well laugh at one’s misfortune. Although in the light of the lad’s survival, he decided Scarlet’s life might have been more charmed than unfortunate.

“Why don’t you leave? You’re a young man, and you’ve got your health. There is a world beyond the Greenwood, Scarlet. There’s towns and cities, roads to be traveled, oceans to be crossed. There’s art, music, beautiful women, delicious wines…”

“We have the elderberry wine,” Scarlet interrupted. “And beer flavored with ginger and honey.”

“Believe me, boy, you’ve never lived.”

“Only because I’ve never had the chance!”

The lead pulled taut. Brien turned quickly. Scarlet had frozen, as if rooted to the spot, and glared at him with a burning reproach.

Brien was baffled. “You want to leave the forest?”

“Yes! I mean…no.” Scarlet puffed the hair from his eyes, visibly exasperated. “I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to talk about it. It’s…it’s my turn to ask questions.” Composing himself, Scarlet pushed back his shoulders and took a tentative step forward. “So…I suppose you’ve had a lot of lovers, Captain Brien?”

“Hundreds of them!” Brien grinned and continued on his way, although he was far too intrigued to think about himself. He’d naturally assumed Scarlet was the sort of backward creature who didn’t want to leave the forest, but pondering it for a moment, Brien realized that Scarlet’s revelation was unsurprising. The woodsman was ill-educated and naive, but he was far from stupid. And he might be small, but he was deadly tough. If Scarlet wanted to leave, what actually kept him here? Fear of the unknown, possibly? Or was there something or somebody physically preventing Scarlet from leaving the Greenwood?

“We’re nearly there,” said Scarlet abruptly. “You’ll be rid of me soon.”

Scarlet picked up his pace, moving so close behind Brien that he verged on pushing past. Brien shot him a hard look. Since that morning, Scarlet’s cheeks had steadily regained their healthy, pinkish hue, as had those claret-colored lips, which he now smoothed together and licked as if tasting the remnants of a delicious meal. It was so provocative that Brien’s intrigue fast dissolved into irritated lust, recalling Scarlet’s question about lovers.

Was the woodsman deliberating goading him? Did he realize how much Brien wanted to see him sink to his knees right there on the forest floor and slip those shiny lips over his cock? Damn it, yes, that was still his only interest in this wanton cove. He leveled his brows, his glare thunderous.

“We’d better be bloody well nearly there. I can’t wait to get out of this hell. My God, any poor fool who chooses to live here in this day and age would be better off in Bedlam.”


For more info visit



A Rose by Any Other Name ...?

Clare and Chrissy Play the Name Game

Clare: Happy September everyone! Welcome to another festive edition of The Clare and Chrissy Show. The kids are back to school, the air is crisping with the first breath of Fall and Chrissy…*sigh* Where did she go this time? CHRISSY!

Chrissy: Hmmmm?

Clare: How's about putting that down and joining us?

Chrissy: Now?

Clare: It would be nice. We’re on.

Chrissy: Dang. Where does the time go?

Clare: You’ve been stuck on the store website for three hours now.

Chrissy: Sorry, sorry. I just can’t resist a good back to school sale. There’s something about seeing the new crop of office supplies. All that crisp paper, colored pens, and new designs of sticky notes. Oooh, and did you see the organizing binders? Makes me all kinds of tingly.

Clare: *rolls eyes* Perhaps we’ll touch on your tingly parts another day. For today we’re turning our focus to the bane of several authors we’ve chatted with. Namely, the fine art of naming our characters.

Chrissy: That’s always a toughie, and I’m not just talking about saying that three times fast.

Clare: Even if we are that gifted someone who avoids outlining like the plague and writes in a total freefall (those were the days ...), we simply cannot start putting words down on the page without knowing just who we are writing about.

Chrissy: Well, we can try, but it looks pretty odd to have XXX and YYY down in print rather than names. The trouble is, we invest so much into the names we choose. They can define our characters and communicate to our readers before they even start the first page.

Clare: So true. Did you ever try to change a name halfway through a story? Most disorientating.

Chrissy: And the effects can be horrifically wide-reaching. We may never know that our favorite character’s name actually belonged to someone’s ex-boyfriend, or the baggage associated with it.

Clare: And even if we did what could or should we do about it? Somehow, somewhere, someone is almost inevitably going to react unfavorably to our name choice.

Chrissy: So it’s full steam ahead and go with your gut. Or name, as the case may be.

Clare: Anyone who has read any of Chrissy’s work knows that she prefers character names that are simple and straightforward. A reflection of the men she writes about. As per the adorable Bruce/Brian/Bryce in Business Before Pleasure.

Chrissy: While Clare brings her more European flare to both the page and her characters. Note the sexy Alexsy *heh* in Just-You Eyes.

Clare: But despite our personal preferences, it’s the readers’ views that matter. And determines whether or not they will even pickup our books and take them home.

Chrissy: Sad but true. Show me a scifi or fantasy novel that has names all filled up with apostrophes and hyphens and it’ll never make my TBR list, no matter who wrote it.

Clare: Well, it does make my hackles rise before I've even started if I'm being asked to connect with someone called Xbrylmthynn i.e. whose name I couldn't pronounce aloud without the benefit of 4 margaritas.

Chrissy: *shrugs* Exactly. Just like everyone else, I only have limited time to read. I’m not going to pick up anything that pushes my immediately irritated button. We’ve all heard ourselves complain about characters too stupid to live and what a turn-off they are. It works the same way for names that are way too funky to read.

Clare: Hell's bells. I feel a whole new pressure about this naming thing. I even started a spreadsheet once, trying to remember which ones I'd "used up", and to try and prove that not ALL my alphas have to have a name beginning with M, D, R or T *lol*.

Chrissy: But despite feeling like choosing our names is like tiptoeing over a landmine, the difficult character name decision is actually one of the fun perks of writing a story.

Clare: More fun than making the characters dance to my capricious whim? Bwhahaha.

Chrissy: *cough* Clare and her God Complex strikes again *cough*. And we can use our naming powers for both good and evil.

Clare: We’ve all heard that old joke, don’t piss off the author – you might end up in their next book? Trust me, it’s hard to resist the impulse some days.

Chrissy: Of course, we know plenty of other ways authors come up with their character names rather than indulging in a fit of pique. They include scanning baby name websites, or talking to neighbors, and relatives. Some pay homage to their favorite television characters, and others utilize random name generators.

Clare: The blessings of the technological age. Of course, there’s also ex-coworkers who gave us a hard time. Ahem. Not that I’d know anything about that.

Chrissy: Hmmmmm. I’ve borrowed a few names from email spammers determined to desecrate my inbox.

Clare: Heh. There’s an idea for my next book! I have one fellow determined to enlarge my, well, parts I don’t have.

Chrissy: My favorite source for names are the programs handed out at school concerts or graduations that list all the students.

Clare: And I've been known to use the phone book, or players in the Premier League. But don’t some of the modern spellings make you want to burst out laughing? We’ve seen Danielle morph into Dany-L, Tristan reborn as Trystyn, or my recent favourite, Xian for Christian ...and I won't even raise eyebrows at the Pampers(c) "Most Visited Names" list which includes Lettice and Gaylord, for fear of offending *someone* with those names :).

Chrissy: They can be a real eye opener. But these are going to be the buyers of our books in several years.

Clare: We might as well learn to go with the times. *rocks my recliner*

Chrissy: Then there’s always the question of which came first? The name or the character?

Clare: I like that question. Sounds like my M/R/D issue again. Did we imbue our character with traits inherent in the name we chose…

Chrissy: …or did we choose a name based on the traits we already envisioned?

Clare: Such fun to consider.

Clare and Chrissy: How about our readers?
*Are there certain types of names that ensure you’ll never pick up a book? Or do you not even notice, and we are talking out our hats?
*Authors, what’s your favorite way to choose a character name?
*Which does come first? The name or the character?
*And finally, who else finds it hard to resist the allure of the back to school sales at their favorite office supply store?

Give us your thoughts and be entered into a random drawing to win some sparkly Clare and Chrissy Swag. Winner to be announced in our next monthly blog post.


August Winner: elin_gregory - Congratulations! Please send your mailing address to Clare at for your festive Clare and Chrissy Swag.

Missed any of our posts? Follow the 'sticky' post for these rambles of ours HERE.

Here's Chrissy! website // blog.

Here's Clare! website // blog.

Chrissy: Pssst, Clare?

Clare: What, Chrissy?

Chrissy: I didn't want to say this in front of everyone, but I found you an "Office Supplies Anonymous" T-shirt to wear to our next group meeting.

Clare: Oh, and it's such a pretty purple. I *love* it.

Chrissy: Now, come here and look at this display of colored ink pens. Did you see the dark green ones? They are to die for...