Text in image: Dot Club, a mailing list

Dot Club #24

Dot Club #24 will be going out in a few days. Here's what you lovely peeps can look forward to:

  • A quick questionnaire about what you'd like to see next year
  • A little update following the announcement that my publisher is closing
  • A bit of shop talk about consent in romance (plus resources)
  • A rundown of steamy books to warm you up for Christmas
  • #TIL a curious finding about faking orgasms
  • A tiny microfic

Sit tight if you're on the list!

If not, you can sign up via my website.

Two women in a sensual embrace, bathed in pink hues

stolen time — a cinquain

padded, soft
—dancing across skin.
you sigh, i smile,

Two women in a sensual embrace, bathed in pink hues


This style of poem is called a cinquain. Here’s how to write one.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Fresh Find: The Pornographer's Apprentice by Lisabet Sarai

I'm honoured to be taking part in Lisabet Sarai's book blast for her latest release, The Pornographer's Apprentice, a steampunk erotica novel featuring BDSM, menage, Victorian delights, and a feminist heroine.

Here's Lisabet to tell us a little more...

Born Again Victorian

by Lisabet Sarai

Sometimes I think I lived a past life in the Victorian age. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been drawn to architecture and costumes from the period. My siblings used to tease me about how much I liked “gingerbread” houses. In my high school yearbook picture, I’m wearing a high-necked, 1880’s style blouse with an antique cameo brooch at my throat. I’ve been a huge fan of Gilbert and Sullivan – the consummate chroniclers of Victorian culture - since I was introduced to their operettas at age five. I had devoured the complete Sherlock Holmes before I turned fifteen.

Although I haven’t yet found the patience to write a full-fledged Victorian historical novel, my erotic romance Miranda’s Masks features a parallel plot that unfolds in nineteenth-century Boston. I’ve also penned a number of steam punk stories, all set in an alternative Victorian world with more advanced technology than actually existed (although in fact the latter half of the eighteen hundreds was a hotbed of invention and entrepreneurship). Possibly due to all the nineteenth century fiction I’ve consumed, I find it surprisingly easy to write dialogue and description that can pass as Victorian. I certainly can’t produce the same level of authenticity for any other historical era.

It might seem strange that I’m so attracted to things Victorian. Given my interest in sexuality (both literary and personal), I probably would have had difficulty adapting to the prudish societal norms of the time. Of course, perennially popular Victorian erotica like The Pearl and My Secret Life suggest that there was a quite a gap between what people professed in public and what they did in private (or in the company of like-minded libertines).

That’s my theory, anyway: that the Victorians were a far lustier group than they pretended. That’s certainly true of the characters in my Victorian-themed novels, including The Pornographer’s Apprentice.

A woman with her eyes obscured, dressed in Victorian garb, on the cover of The Pornographer's Apprentice by Lisabet Sarai

The Pornographer's Apprentice by Lisabet Sarai

She wants to build sex toys… if they’ll let her.

In prudish, patriarchal Victorian England, nineteen year old prodigy Gillian Smith finds a secret society dedicated to the erotic arts. She’ll need both her intellect and her physical charms to earn the permanent position she craves.

If you like steam punk erotica with a kinky feminist bent, you’ll love The Pornographer’s Apprentice.

The Toymakers Guild series: Defying the repressive morality of the Victorian era, the Toymakers Guild uses advanced technology to fabricate bespoke sexual artifacts for the discrete pleasure of select clients. Its members are not only brilliant engineers but also sexual renegades seeking freedom from the prudish society that surrounds them. These are their stories.


Amelia rested her hands on Gillian’s bare shoulders and leaned in to kiss her. Bold as brass, the intruder used her tongue to tease Gillian’s lips open, then plunged inside. With distinctly unladylike ferocity, she took possession of Gillian’s mouth.

Thoroughly awake now, and more aroused by the second, Gillian met Amelia’s kiss with equal passion. Meanwhile, confident that Amelia would not object, she reached out to cradle and caress the woman’s full bosom. Amelia’s magnificent breasts, far more opulent than Lettie’s, felt wonderfully firm and pliant in her hands. The taut nipples that poked through the thin cotton nightdress spoke volumes about their owner’s excitement. Gillian gave one nub a light pinch. With gratifying swiftness, it hardened further.

“By the gods, you’re delicious,” Amelia sighed. Her mouth slid away from Gillian’s to nibble along the jaw line, then she licked her way down Gillian’s throat to the hollow between her breasts. “Every inch of you,” she added.

Gillian rolled both of Amelia’s nips between her fingertips. She gave them a tug. Amelia released a choked cry, then dove in to suckle Gillian’s teats.

Now it was the young apprentice’s turn to moan, as bright pleasure shimmered from her peaks down to the valley of her loins. She tightened her thighs for a moment, savouring the friction that created against her throbbing clit. Then she spread her legs wide, baring her secret garden to the other woman’s eyes.

“Take me,” she pleaded. “I’m wet as rain for you, Amelia.”

About Lisabet Sarai

Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – over one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website, along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance, she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads, Pinterest, and Twitter. Join her VIP email list.

Book cover for Chasing Sisyphus by JL Peridot

She knew the start of a dick-swinging when she saw one — excerpt from Chasing Sisyphus

It's been a while since the last excerpt share. This one's from my first novella, Chasing Sisyphus, published by Siren-BookStrand and released in 2017.

She found Declan crouched over a puddle on the floor. She grabbed a handful of paper towels and stooped down beside him, mopping up the spill.

“I got it.” He hissed, and snatched them from her.

“Sorry, I thought you’d want some help.”

“You brought a cop into my home. How does that help? Are you trying to get me shipped out?”

“Of course not. I wouldn’t have brought him here if I had a choice.”

“What do you mean ‘choice’? What kind of shit are you caught up in, Ade?”

“I could ask you the same thing!”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“The car? Last night?”

“Are you drunk? What car?”

She heard Rhys clear his throat behind them and shut her mouth. They turned to see the detective’s broad body towering over them from the doorway.

“The car you ran into the Legion River last night,” he answered. “At least, I think that’s what she means. But don’t stop talking on my account.”

Declan postured up, gripping a shard of mug in one hand. Rhys reached for the holster in his jacket.

Adria leapt between them. She knew the start of a dick-swinging when she saw one. She held both them at arm’s length, hand to chest, looking back and forth between them, keeping shard and gun in the corners of her vision.

“What say we skip the coffee and talk? Just talk, OK? That’s all we came for, Dec. Honest.”

Book cover for Chasing Sisyphus by JL Peridot

Chasing Sisyphus is the first book in The Basilica Conspiracy series. If you fancy checking it out while I'm still working on the other books, you can find ebook purchase links on my website.

A 3x3 Instagram grid of miscellaneous photos

Project 365

Back in September, when I was super stressed and anxious about a lot of things, I remembered an old social media photo challenge. It's called "Project 365", where you post a photo a day for a year. People still do it today, though it doesn't seem to pop up as often as it used to.

When last I tried it, I found some much-needed perspective on the life I was living at the time. Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees, and it takes something big (like 365 photos) to finally bring the landscape into focus. I saw the traps I kept falling into. I discovered what was making me unhappy, and from there, I could make changes.

A 3x3 Instagram grid of miscellaneous photos
Follow my Project 365 on Instagram.

I'm on Day 68 now and it's been great so far. I feel connected to my surroundings and a sense of ownership over my choices and activities, though if you'd asked me before if I felt disconnected, I probably would have said no. Maybe it's a case of not realising what we're missing until we find it.

Just under 300 days to go. I wonder what else will come up along the way.

If you've ever done a 365, I'd love to hear about it. How did you find it? What did you get out of it? How did you feel by the end? Leave a comment or send me an email if you feel like sharing!

An orange waxing gibbous moon

I'm playing Anti-Belle Thanksgiving this month!

I can't even.

How is it November already? Feels like this year blitzed and dragged at the same time.

Hurdles have abounded over the past 11 months (and more); some visible, some invisible. The pandemic turned up the pressure and thrust a whole lotta things into focus.

I don't know about anyone else, but gratitude seems to be the one constant that gets me through a difficult challenge. I take stock of what I have, make time to meditate on it all, and remember that how much we have will never matter if we don't know how to appreciate it.

This is what got me started on a Project 365 (which I'll talk more about in a future post), and why I plan to participate in Skye McDonald's and jennsbookvibes's Instagram hashtag game, #antibellethanksgiving, this month.

#antibellethanksgiving themes: Nov 16: Blessings in disguise, Nov 17: Your cheering squad, Nov 18: What’s your pleasure?, Nov 19: Share your table, Nov 20: What gets you through?
#antibellethanksgiving meme starts 16 Nov!

Anti-Belle Thanksgiving is a week of love, gratitude, and community between readers and romantics—especially those of us who loved Skye McDonald's Not Suitable For Work! From Skye's newsletter:

I'm partnering with Jennifer from "JennsBookVibes" to host a week of thankfulness over on Instagram. Daily from November 16-20, you can enter to win a prize by following us and playing the prompt of the day. At the end of the week, a grand prize winner will get their pick of one of 3 Nashville-based business prize packs!
What will you pick? Christie Cookies? Bongo Java Coffee? Jewelry from Strings for Hope? The choice will be yours!
Mark your calendar for November 16-20 and be sure to follow me on Instagram to play along!

The game starts 16 Nov 2020. Let's play together 💞

Green eyes peer through a starry night sky on the cover of Beneath the Sleepless Stars by Charisse Nicolle

Fresh Find: Beneath the Sleepless Stars by Charisse Nicolle

When I first held Charisse Nicolle's debut paperback in my hands all those years ago, I didn't think I could be prouder of my friend and colleague. Now, many house moves later, that book has vanished, but the pride and friendship lives on. Charisse tells me her novel is today more polished than ever, and re-launched last year on Amazon.

I asked if she'd mind sharing it with all of you. Here's what she had to say...

Beneath the Sleepless Stars by Charisse Nicolle

Will a love thought lost to the endless gaze of sleepless stars awaken once more?

By daylight, Sapphira is an aspiring young designer, trying desperately not to end up in the family antiques business. The discovery an heirloom necklace hidden beneath the floorboards leads her to an encounter with the fabulously wealthy billionaire-about-town, Lincoln Scorpeone.

By starlight, Sapphira now finds herself amorously entangled in Linc's fabulous world. Yet the closer they get, the more she is haunted by cryptic dreams of a stranger warning her that she is courting danger.

When an unexpected proposal causes her dreams and reality to spectacularly collide, the truth of Sapphira’s heritage exposes the false facades of all those closest to her. Believing the necklace holds the key to her family's secrets, she escapes to London in pursuit of answers.

On a chilly starlit rooftop she meets the enigmatic Declan. Sensing he is intertwined with her nebulous dreams, Sapphira is drawn to the beguiling green-eyed barman.

Yet just as Sapphira begins to awaken the secrets of her bloodline, she finds herself pursued by a Hunter - who has returned from the shadows to enact a centuries-old revenge.

To survive, Sapphira and Declan must join forces and fight to overcome an immortal feud that lays claim to both their hearts.

Beneath the endless gaze of sleepless stars, will dreams be all they ever have?

Green eyes peer through a starry night sky on the cover of Beneath the Sleepless Stars by Charisse Nicolle


‘Crummy English weather,’ I muttered.

‘Don’t need a penny for your thoughts then,’ a soft male voice murmured behind me. Startled, I turned, realising that in my quest to feel free I had not thought to consider sinister axe wielding maniacs who lurked about on London rooftops on chilly nights. I could make out a figure in the shadows, leaning casually against the main large chimney. My pendant jolted into high alert and the hairs stood up all along my arms.

‘I didn’t realise anyone else was up here.’ That’s right, point out to Jack the Ripper that you are up here all alone. You really are on the ball tonight.

‘Understandable. I try to be rather unnoticeable.’ His voice had a distinctly Irish lilt to it, but somewhat diluted, sounding like he had lived in London for a long time. A memory awakened, tingling at the edges of my brain, but I was too preoccupied with my safety to acknowledge it.

By who? Your other slasher victims? ‘Is that because you like to skulk about in the shadows?’

‘Skulking? Hardly. This is my space you’re invading. I claimed this rooftop long ago.’

I judged the distance between myself and the door. I sidled along the wall a little to the right. If I dodged to the other side of the main chimney from where he stood, then I could make the door in about five bounds.

‘I didn’t realise one could take a lease out on a rooftop. Is that a British thing? I may have to consider that option myself if this week doesn’t improve.’ I took one step more to the right to improve my getaway angle. The pendant chain, well concealed beneath my hoodie, hummed with electricity against my neck, a sure sign something was afoot.

‘We all need a place to come and be ourselves. Sharpen my axe skills. That kinda thing. Are you - are you trying to move away from me?’ he suddenly asked, his tone of voice incredulous.

Oh God, he really is an axe murderer and I’ve made him angry. ‘Stay away from me! I know Tai Chi!’ I yelled, commencing my escape plan.

‘Wait - what?

I made the first three bounds successfully before my foot managed to hook on a cable feeding off one of the antennae, plunging me into a collision course with one of the smaller chimneys. My complete lack of any kind of athletic ability was shining gloriously through once again. I couldn’t even escape when my life depended on it. I cried out and instinctively brought my hands up to protect my face as I braced myself for the inevitable impact. But at the last moment when I should have connected with something flat and brick, I found myself pressed up against something broad and soft. Strong arms grabbed my shoulders and kept me upright. My hands gripped cotton that had that well-worn, favourite t-shirt feel to it. And smelt faintly of sweat. His face was bent down, checking to see if my ankle was okay. I gripped his t- shirt and wondered how he could not be freezing on a night like this. Yet I could feel his warmth emanating through the fabric, smouldering beneath my fingertips.

I looked up into his face which was barely inches from my own.

It was angular with strongly outlined cheekbones, one of which bore a small jagged scar. Slightly chapped lips framed a set of perfect teeth. A small indent cleft the bottom of his square chin. He had a goatee, but not in the preppy trimmed way, just in a “forgot to shave for a few days” way. He looked to be in his late twenties, his hair concealed beneath a dark grey beanie, his one consolation to the cold night. A cheeky smirk played across his mouth, yet his dark eyebrows were furrowed in concern across his eyes. Oh, but those eyes. In the dim light I could see that they were an intoxicating green. Like a choppy sea on a stormy day, inviting you in but capable of pulling you under; you could lose yourself entirely.

He turned from examining my ankle. Our eyes connected and my world suspended completely.

I was certain that in that instant, my heart stopped beating, my lungs stopped breathing. Instead the vehement humming that had reached fever pitch within the necklace unexpectedly surged free, consuming my whole body and powering me with life. The force of it overcame me and I was transfixed, feeling utterly exposed before him, vulnerable and laid bare, as though he could see right through to my very soul with those shining eyes. It was an unsettling and intrusive feeling and yet I could not avert my eyes from his. Just when I felt certain I would be completely overwhelmed by his gaze, he blinked, his eyes clouding over; I was released, and the connection passed. My heart rate slowly settled, as the power pulsating within me retreated once more to the containment of the pendant. I drew a ragged breath. A haunting memory triggered in the recesses of my mind, but I was incapable of coherent thought. His eyes remained intense, like unfathomable storm clouds, a fortress to protect what lay beyond.

‘Are you alright?’ As he spoke his breath caressed my wind burnt cheeks. I opened my mouth, intending to answer smartly ‘oh you have no idea just how much better I am now thanks’, but the word axe came flashing back into my mind. He was clearly now trying to lull me into a false sense of security. But I wasn’t falling for that.

Reviews from Goodreads

"I was completely hooked from the first page, an enticing romance fantasy"

"A captivating read and true page turner"

"An intriguing urban fantasy romance... I didn't want to put it down"

"Creating a genre within itself, Beneath the Sleepless Stars is well worth the read"

"I really enjoyed this debut novel and I can't wait for the next one!"

About Charisse Nicolle

I am an indie writer hailing from the sunset coast of Australia. When not pondering my next storyline, or the countless possible ways GoT could have ended, I am an ardent U2 fan, blatantly inept skier, and the only person I know who can make any garment more creased by attempting to iron it.

I have been known to apply a Star Wars quote to any given situation, prefer DC over Marvel any day, and believe the best story recipe combines sprinklings of mystery, spoonfuls of laughter and generous dashes of romance.

Beneath the Sleepless Stars is my first published novel.

My top 10 retrofuturistic love songs

To get in the mood for writing my retro-futuristic romance fiction, I listen to a lot of synthwave. It’s kind of hard to explain if you’re not familiar with the genre, but you’ll know it once you hear it.

Think 80s synth music, but fuller, cleaner, polished and modern, yet with that distinct longing for a distant halcyon era. It’s sometimes described as “nostalgia for a future that never happened”—that’s the kind of future I like to write about.

So grab a cup of tea, a cherry cola, a FIJI artesian water or malted milkshake, and enjoy a little retrofuture love.

10. Let’s Talk — FM-84


One of my all-time favourites, this song captures the sweet sad moods I wanted for Sofia and Alexei in The Only Question That Matters. It’s a story of heartbreak and hope, of flowers that bloom after the rain, a love that perhaps, one day, could be.

9. Time After Time — Gunship


An absolutely sublime cover of Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time by British synthwave band, Gunship. It’s a dreamy take on an already gorgeous track that any 80s nostalgic will fall in love with.

8. Sunset — The Midnight



A touch more upbeat is this great track by my favourite band, The Midnight. It’s fresh, it’s synth-y, and it’s the perfect soundtrack for a rebellious new adult romance vibe.

7. Do It Again — Trevor Something


I had this one on repeat when I wrote It Starts With A Kiss. With such a great balance of optimism, carefree and oh, this moment means everything, it’s the perfect song to steal a kiss to.

6. Crystal Ships — Michael Oakley


Some definite retro throwbacks with this one. I don’t know about you, but I’m picturing an angsty but wholesome 80s teen drama. Teal, pink and mullets everywhere, and a heartbroken guy in a white suit and wayfarers, crooning to a star-studded sky above a Miami shoreline.

5. Nightcall — Kavinsky


Ryan Gosling fans should recognise this Kavinsky track from Drive (2011). It’s been a staple on my playlists for a while. A dumpy-beat sound as sultry as this creates just the right mood for a dark romance or erotica with a touch of danger.

4. Tangled — Le Flex


More synthpop than synthwave, I’ve been told, but it’s all the same to me when we’re talking sweet, crushy romantic feels. This is a pretty song for hopeful heroines/heroes and their cinnamon roll love interests. In space, of course.

3. Girl — Timecop1983


I wasn’t sure whether to include this one, as the lyrics make me kind of sad. But then again, isn’t that what celebrating nostalgia is all about? I think the best description I’ve ever read of this track went something like this: “a dreamy pop song that dials up the celestial and serves up heaping spoonfuls of uplift.” (source)

2. Your Love (September 87 remix) — Droid Bishop


Beautiful and dreamy. This is the song you’d make out to with your special person as your survival pod enters the gravity well of the nearest habitable planet, the two of you making the most of this quiet time before you’re rockside and searching for your shipmates.

1. Run Away With Me — Moonrunner83


Finally, let’s leave off with this beauty of a track. Now pop your varsity jacket on, hop in my spaceship, and we’ll fly towards the neon sunset. Our HEA awaits us at the edge of the galaxy 😘

A white man kisses a Black woman on the cover of Building on Broken Dreams by Lyndell Williams

Fresh Find: Building on Broken Dreams by Lyndell Williams

Lyndell Williams once published a blog post titled, Muslims do that?!

It about summed up my astonishment and delight when I first stumbled upon her work. Her stories depict Muslim couples navigating love and sensuality within their unique cultural and social environment. They're about sex, love, faith, passion... all the goodies you want in a romantic, erotic piece of art.

It's with great excitement that I'm getting to participate in the book blitz for her latest release, Building on Broken Dreams. Here's everything you need to know about this erotic suspense romance.

A white man kisses a Black woman on the cover of Building on Broken Dreams by Lyndell Williams

Building on Broken Dreams by Lyndell Williams

He’s everything she wants, but can she trust another man?

From award-winning writer and bestselling author Lyndell Williams, a steamy romance that tests the boundaries of faith and yearning.

If Maryam Avery stays in New York for one more day, she will die.

Trapped in an abusive relationship with the manipulative and cruel Raad, she can feel her life closing in around her. After he chases her from her home and family, Maryam flees to Philadelphia, searching desperately for a new beginning, something to help rebuild her spiritually and physically.

When she meets the mysterious Adam, things are thrown off-kilter. A successful businessperson with his own past that he is fleeing from, he is everything that Maryam wants. But can she trust another man?

Doubt gives way to desire. They find themselves in a whirlwind romance, and for once, it seems like everything will work out.

Until Raad turns up.

Release Date: 14 October 2020
Genre(s): Erotic romance, romantic suspense, erotic suspense, interracial romance, Muslim romance, BWWM romance


Maryam finished cooking and stood in the hall, holding a thermos of hot coffee in one hand and an egg sandwich half-wrapped in aluminum foil in the other. How angry was he? What is he going to do to her?

Adam strode toward her, grumbling and fumbling with his belt buckle. “Eight months of work shot to hell.” He stopped. His glower transformed into a grin that reached his hazel eyes. “What’s this?”

She plastered on a smile and batted her lashes at a speed almost matching the cadence of her heart. “I thought you could take it with you.”

His shoulders relaxed. He held her face in his hands. “You’re something else, Mary. You know—” he sprayed her lips with kisses “—I owe you a honeymoon. How about I arrange one?”

“I’d like that.”

He pressed her backward, pinning her between his body and the wall. The heat reignited and waved through her, burning away any fear or anxiety. He might have been angry, but not with her, and he would not take it out on her. She balanced the sandwich and mug in her hands. Her breathing got heavier with each nip to her neck. “Adam.”

He stepped back and reached into her robe. “Mary,” he groaned and yanked her panties from her hips while uttering a dua. Already moist white lace and satin fell to her feet. He propped against the wall across from her and ripped open his pants snap and zipper. “When you same my name like that, I got to have you.”

“But your friend.”

“Will wait.” His rough hands spanned up her thighs and clenched her rear, lifting her. His breath rushed into her ear. “I want you now. Do you want this D or not?”

His throbbing stiffness titillated her fiery folds. “Yes.” She locked her legs around his hips at her ankles and squeezed his broad shoulders as he stretched and filled her. “Adam, please.” She slowly blinked at the bobbing picture of Mecca hanging on the opposite as he bounced her on his stiffness. The movement of their bodies fed a mounting desire. Their first time together had been so tender. He had eased her fears and brought her to ecstasy. Now, the raw lust surging between them infused every inch of her in a way she had never felt before. It was all so glorious. She tucked her heels under his tense bottom, stilling his thrusts and unleashing a carnal shriek from deep inside. He soon roared in release and set her down. She panted, leaning against the wall and letting her legs drop.

He trailed pecks up her neck before stealing her air with a lingering kiss on her lips. He pinned her gaze while adjusting and closing his pants. “You don’t know what you do to me, Mary. I’ve never wanted someone so much.” He disappeared into the kitchen. Water ran for a moment before he came back, taking the thermos and crushed sandwich from her hands. “I’ll be back in time for the next prayer.” He offered salams and bit into it, strutting away and disappearing into the morning light, flooding the opened door.

About Lyndell Williams

Lyndell Williams is an award-winning writer and bestselling author. She is a cultural critic with a background in literary criticism specializing in romance. She is an editor, writing coach and mentor. She has been published in peer-reviewed journals and writes for multiple online publications.