August MacGregor

Celebrating Sensuality. Intended for mature audiences, 18 and over


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‘Lucky’ Excerpt

Following up on yesterday’s post about my new novel, Lucky, being free until Sunday, June 25, I wanted to post an excerpt from the novel. Here’s the start of chapter 1:
 

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Hugo Freeman stared in disbelief at the lottery ticket in his hand, then at the television screen. But the string of numbers had vanished from the screen, replaced by the guy with poofed-up hair and cheese-ball grin and shiny suit.

“There you have it, folks,” the TV guy said in his ain’t everything great voice. “Congratulations to the lucky winners! If you’re not one of those, be sure to try again next week. Who knows when your luck will turn on the Cloud Nine Lottery? Good night folks!”

Cut to a commercial for some kind of drug to alleviate some kind of painful symptoms.

Hugo’s attention was more on the ticket than the screen. Did he win? The numbers that were on TV had seemed to match those on his ticket. Maybe some of the numbers were close. Was there a 39 in the winning numbers, or had it been 29?

Impossible that he matched every winning number. The chances of matching were astronomically against him — and everyone else who played Cloud Nine every week with the hope of picking the five regular numbers and the Lightning Strike number. Thousands of people across the many states where Cloud Nine was offered. All those people handing over a dollar for each ticket, buying several tickets every time.

Hugo had seen it happen regularly. He played regularly, too. Five tickets each week, never the same number. Some people played the same numbers with meanings: birthdays, anniversaries, and such. Hugo didn’t understand the idea behind that strategy. As if luck was somehow bound to catch up with numbers meaningful to a certain person.

It was like driving the same car on the same road and thinking the road would end up in a paradise of sexy beachgoers who handed you a tropical drink and invited you to join the party. But, in reality, the road led to the same Goddamn places it had always did. Same bullshit houses, same bullshit stores.

He would find out the winning numbers tomorrow, at work. He’d wait until Darnell was in his office doing paperwork, then Hugo would pull out the ticket and compare his numbers against the official ones. The numbers had looked close on TV, but that didn’t win anything. No prize for close. Only right on the money got you the money.

Hold on. The Internet didn’t provide answers to everything, but it gave a lot of answers. Would Cloud Nine’s website have the numbers so soon after the little plastic numbered balls were lifted out of the glass box, where they swirled in a mini tornado? It was worth checking out.

Hugo turned on his old laptop and retrieved a Budweiser from the fridge while the computer woke up. Taking a drink of beer, he knew he didn’t win. He never did. He was used to the slowness of his laptop, but it irritated him as he sat on the couch and watched the computer on the coffee table. He wanted to be done with this chore. See that his numbers were close losers, then he could wrap up Friday night.

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May Plans

Once again, several months have passed since I last posted here. As before my previous post, I’ve been quite busy with writing, working, and family. But everyone I know is quite busy, so I’m certainly not alone with that.

One of the projects that’s been keeping me busy is River — the working title of a novel I finished writing last year, and I’ve been editing it this year. I’m pleased to say that I plan on self-publishing the novel in May. The editing process  seemed to take longer than it did, but I’ve grown to I appreciate the process of re-shaping of the story. Compared to the first draft, it’s more stream-lined and tighter. Hopefuly, making it a more enjoyable read.

I’ll give more info when the book becomes live on Amazon, as I’m still working on making it a little tighter. But it feels good to be almost finished. With the warmer temperatures of spring, it’s like the book is coming out of hibernation.


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Surprises and Surprises

I’m floating on cloud nine right now because my novel is on Amazon’s bestsellers of erotica for Kindle ebooks! This past week, Tara & Steve: A Tale of Swingers entered the top 100 list at #100, and it has fluctuated around the list. This morning, it reached #84! (The list is updated hourly, so the position will definitely keep changing.)

How the hell did this happen?

I haven’t written a blog post showcasing the book, and I’ve tweeted about it a couple of times. This was far from the strategy I’ve read that authors should do, in carpeting all available social media sites to get the word out about your book.

Because once the book was published on Amazon, I felt elated about finishing it — and then I went to work on another story. That’s been my mindset of late: not blogging and promoting as much on Twitter, but focusing more on crafting stories.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted that something clicked with this book. It has easily out-sold my other two novels — Bavarian Beauty and An Eager Audience: A Cuckold Erotic Romance — as well as my various novellas and short stories.

Whatever the reason, I’ve been surprised to see my book among the list of bestsellers. To put it frankly, it’s a place I didn’t imagine being. I simply hoped people would buy my books and enjoy them. Enough to someday bring in an income where I could write full time.

Here’s the cover of the book:

Tara & Steve ebook cover

Another surprise is that my book isn’t selling thousands of copies a day to get on the bestseller list. The number is actually fewer than 60 a day — when you add in the Kindle Unlimited downloads to the actual sales.

I’m thrilled to sell that many. I certainly haven’t expected to sell thousands of books a day. That atmosphere belongs to E.L. James, whose Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy looks to be firmly in the top three slots of Amazon’s erotica bestseller list.

I have to mention one other surprise here, because I’ve been scratching my head about it for a while. Every day, the most popular post on my blog is How to Talk Dirty (and Romantic) in German. It’s caused me to ask the same question: How the hell did this happen? The post is from the two weeks of Octoberfest 2014, when I blogged every day about some of the landscape, music, food, and history of Bavaria — all to promote Bavarian Beauty. Out of those posts (and all my other posts), the one on talking dirty in German stands at the top of the heap.

Maybe the post’s popularity is due to a link at streettalksavvy.com, where I got a few of the phrases. Maybe, maybe not. But while I can’t figure out the reason, I have to hope that people out there are using the list to do some sexy talking in German 🙂

Until next time, meinen Lieblings!


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Beltane: Night of Magic & Romance

novel cover for Beltane: Night of Magic & Romance

FREE for 5 days! Starting today, you can get your hot hands on the ebook, Beltane: Night of Magic & Romance at Amazon.

This is a novella of romance and fantasy. Not necessarily a fantasy with tons of fighting, like in The Lord of the Rings. This story is much simpler and gentler than that epic trilogy.

Beltane is a Gaelic festival to celebrate fertility and the arrival of the warm season, rejoicing in the land as it awoke from the long slumber of winter. Of leaves appearing in their wondrous green. Of icy streams thawing and flowing swiftly once more, their lovely gurgling like music in the forest. Of flowers blossoming, their colors bursting with happiness, the joy of being alive once more.

On Beltane night, two bonfires were built in a field, with cattle led between the fires. Revelers — who wore crowns of intertwined flowers and herbs — danced around the bonfires and leaped over them.

And revelers emulated the union of the Goddess with the God of Beltane by joining together in coupling.

In this story, Katelyn is approached by a few men who wish to celebrate Beltane night by rolling in the woods with her. But she’s put off by their drunkenness and selfishness. So she tricks them in a way that allows her to sneak away from the two bonfires and have a rest by herself.

However, her rest is interrupted by yet another man. Shandon. Who is not like the other men in the village. He’s not cocky and sloppy from ale. Instead, he’s soft-spoken and gentle. And he appreciates Katelyn beyond simply wanting to have selfish sex with her.

But even another interruption crashes their conversation. Queen Mab — queen of the faeries — arrives on a tall horse and offers them a visit to the spirit world. A way to experience magic like they’ve never seen before.

In the spirit world, Shandon has to pass three challenges to see what he is made of, and how much he cares for Katelyn in his budding love. And with the three challenges, things get interesting — and fun 🙂

Please note: There are a couple of sex scenes in this story that include explicit descriptions. This is not erotica, as the whole story is not just about sex. Rather, it is erotic romance and fantasy. And it is meant for mature readers 18 years and older only.

Here’s a little more about the background of Beltane:

“It was a celebration of the sexual union of the God and Goddess, and the creative energies born from their love-making. These energies were thought to bless the land, animals and people, bestowing health and fertility on all. And so the people of the Celtic tribes, unencumbered by prudish morals, took the opportunity to emulate the gods and spent Beltane night in feverish coupling. According to many sources, it didn’t matter if the partners knew one another previously or not, for on that night, all women were the Goddess incarnate and all men, the God. But it wasn’t just sex; it was a holy union blessed by the gods.” (Quoted from Nicole Evelina’s Through the Mists of Time website.)

For more information about this festival, see its Wikipedia article, An Aussie Wytch’s post (which also offers advice if you wish to celebrate Beltane, too), and Nicole Evelina’s article. These were all helpful to me in my writing this story.


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April Update

It’s been a while! I hope you’ve been well. Many weeks have gone by since I last posted on my blog — and it was quite a change going from posting every day during January and February to taking a break.

While I’ve missed posting on my blog and reading other blogs, the break has been a good one. It’s helped me get on a better track with my day job. Which has been busy, so I was relieved to take away the deadline of posting every day that I had put on myself.

Also, the break from my blog helped fine-tune my focus back onto longer stories — instead of poetry and flash fiction. And that’s been wonderful.

Because I’ve come to realize a big difference in writing flash fiction versus longer stories. Coming up with shorter pieces (fewer than 1,000 words) is neat for seeing what kind of story you can tell in a condensed amount of time. They’re fun to write.

However, you don’t get immersed in the story. Not like you do with a novella or a novel. It hit me when I made the realization that maybe it’s the reason why my short stories don’t sell very well on Amazon and Smashwords. I thought about it from a reader’s point of view, when I pick up a novel and dive into it and find out where it takes me. I like rooting for the characters and seeing what happens to them. Seeing if they change, grow, as the story unfolds.

And that’s what I’ve been missing as a writer when I focused on shorter stories. I missed connecting with the characters and pulling for them. I missed imagining the possibilities of where the story could go. Then seeing how I think the characters would react to the expanding story.

And that’s what I got back to when I returned my attention to longer stories. I was able to immerse myself in them. Like I said, it’s been wonderful. I’ve had such a good time writing a few stories — and I even managed to finish a couple.

I’ve worked on different types of stories: more romantic and sexier ones under my August pen name, as well as more vanilla stories under my real name. It’s been interesting to see that I write slower with the vanilla stuff. Nothing like the sexy scenes (or anticipation of sexy scenes) to get the fingers flying on the keyboard. Except for the dangerous stuff — like in the thriller novel on which I worked for National Novel Writing Month last November.

I’m still planning to get back to that thriller novel. Eventually!

But I’ve been wrapping other stuff up first. The big one was completing my second novel, Tara & Steve: A Tale of Swingers. This project started off several years ago as a series of short stories about a dating couple that tries out a swinging lifestyle — and the consequences that those adventures have on their relationship.

I tied together the short stories into chapters for a novel and hit it hard with my editor’s hammer. Well, that sounds too violent. More like a pen, with removing stuff here and adding stuff there. The novel is the longest story I’ve written so far, at a little more than 135,000 words. And, damn, that sucker felt good to publish.

I also finished a story that started off as a short piece last year on my blog. It had bugged me that the story wasn’t done, since the characters yearned for more than where I left them. So I expanded the story into a novella, and that’s published, too. I’ll have a post about it next week, as I’m going give the ebook away for free on Amazon for 5 days. It’s about Beltane, the Gaelic festival to celebrate fertility and the arrival of the warm season. The event comes on May 1, so I want to make the novella free leading up to that day.

The original story ran last year in two parts, and I deleted those posts because the ebook is under Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDP Select), which means the story can’t be available electronically anywhere besides Amazon. It also means that if you have Kindle Unlimited, the story is free any time it’s within the program — well beyond the 5 days when it’s free to everybody.

So that’s an overview of what I’ve been up to since my last post. Lots of work on my day job and lots of writing. Of course, getting out and enjoying the sunshine, too 🙂

After posting next week about my Beltane novella, I’ll probably duck out again for another break. I apologize for not keeping a more regular schedule of posting. But some stories have their grip on me, and it’s really hard to stay away from them for long. I’m not sure what I’d post about if I did have a regular schedule — since I’m not going to return to writing poetry or flash fiction any time soon. I hope you understand. Writing the longer stories is like a drug that pulls me in and gives me a rush that’s amazing.


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Author Interview: Zoe Ambler

Zoe Ambler

I met Zoe Ambler back in November, during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), when loads of writers try to plunk down 50,000 words for a novel. I started following her blog, where she talks about her own writing — much of it done in a coffee shop, which I think is amazing, because I’d be too distracted to write. Social media is already a distraction, but if you add people watching to the mix … well, that would pull my focus away even more.

Recently, she’s been interviewing fellow authors on her blog, and she accepted my offer to be interviewed in the series. On the flip side, she also allowed to be interviewed here on my blog. I think it’s really neat learning more of another writer’s background and rituals. Writing is such a solitary activity, that it’s nice to share this stuff.

Also, stay tuned after the interview for info about Zoe’s book, The Road of Darkness, with cover, summary, and links.

Zoe’s interview:

1. What is your writing process?
I don’t really have a process, I don’t think. I mean, I am certainly more productive when NOT at home. I love working from my little coffee shop. Or when on ‘vacation’. I get random ideas at very random times, however. So I always have a little notebook on me to jot things down. I have these little notebooks EVERYWHERE…purse, truck, backpack, laptop bag…The biggest problem is finding a pen or pencil when I need it…lol. My ‘process’ doesn’t happen in order, either. I may have a random idea that would be great just nestled in a random chapter of a book, not really a beginning or ending.

2. What do you read for pleasure?
Anything and everything. Well, except romance. Erotica, yes, romance, no. I love everything from horror to non-fiction.

3. What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The freedom. I have a head full of ideas on a variety of subjects, and writing lets me place them on paper, with the hopes that someone out there is going to sit back and really enjoy it.

4. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a full time coffee drinker. Hot, cold, iced…gimme coffee. I live in a little land called Enterprise Alabama. We have a statue of a lady holding a bug in town square. I love cats. LOVE CATS!!! I have a cat. She’s very neurotic. Just like her owner. ..lol. I have one child, a beautiful young woman now. When not at the coffee shop, I have a home office I live out of. On some occasions I sleep. Mostly when not feeling well. Otherwise I quite the insomniac.

5. What are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes down to sitting down and writing?
When at home, I get very easily distracted by Netflix. I’m one of those people that just can’t watch an episode or two of something…I have to watch the series from start to finish…lol. And then there is my gaming. As for strengths…when I do get ‘in the zone’ on writing something, I write for hours on end, forgoing sleep and all. The ideas just pour from my head to the screen and usually doesn’t need much editing.

6. Do you have any strange writing habits?
I don’t think so. I mean, I talk things out with my cat…and answer for her. We argue sometimes. Nothing strange there. >_>

7. What is your least favorite part of the publishing/writing process?
Marketing/advertising/promoting. HATE IT. I’m not good at it, but can’t afford someone to do it for me…lol.

8. Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point?
I make it. You wouldn’t really think me the type, but I do. And I love clean sheets. So I have a linen closet full of the pricey nice sheets.

9. Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
The Everglades and Florida Keys.

10. Choose: Vampires, Werewolves, Demons or Zombies?
Vampires

Bonus Question: How prepared are you for the Zombie Apocalypse I’ve ordered?
I am so totally prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse. Food, weapons (I have a nice, completely usable collection of swords), ‘run over anything and everything’ 4WD truck. My house is in a good spot, the only real danger being is if the zombie are ‘regular’ zombies, or ‘Mira Grant’ zombies. (Mira Grant zombies – anything over 40lbs can be turned into a zombie, meaning I would then have to contend with zombie deer and cows)

Road to Darkness, by Zoe Ambler

The Road of Darkness is the story of Addison. She’s a young Southern Belle in early 1700 Louisiana with a love for Voodoo. She’s a child of privilege, but never really let it go to her head. She was always a little odd.
On an innocent outing, Addison falls prey to a supernatural predator. A vampire. He attacks and turns her, then leaves her to lost and alone with this new hunger for blood. However, unlike most, she embraces this new ‘life’. She finds delight in it. A darkness grows within her.
Like any young vampire left to fend for themselves, she stumbles in her new existence. She meets others here and there, and the world of the paranormal opens up to her.
Due in part to her thrill of bloodlust, she becomes fascinated with war. Soon she is moving from country to country, war to war. Mans evolution and technology in the art of warfare intrigues her.
Through her time and adventures, she has fleeting bits of both happiness and sorrow. The darkness within her will only allow her so much happiness.
Her link with all things Voodoo brings her into the servitude of the Baron Semedi, demi-god of the Underworld. A deal gone bad. It only serves to deepen that darkness.

Can anyone help her before she does irrevocable damage to both an entire city of innocent people…and herself?

Links for The Road of Darkness: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Scribd. | Googleplay


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Eric Key’s New Story

Eric Key’s new story — Mstislav — is out, and it’s available for free at Smashwords.

Eric used to have a WordPress blog, where he talked not only about his writing, but stories from others. This support was extended to other people’s blogs, where I saw he was a frequent commenter. He also supported my writing on my blog, for which I’m grateful. It’s in this spirit of helping out a fellow indie author that I’m posting about his new story — and a couple of his other stories that are freshly available on Smashwords.

Before I get into his three ebooks, I want to say that reading them comes at an appropriate time for me. The novel I’m writing for NaNoWriMo is horror, and it was really interesting to read what another author has done within the genre.

However, Eric’s stories aren’t just horror — they’re erotic horror. So you need to know that these stories are only for readers 18 years and older, due to the explicit descriptions of sex and violence. As Eric’s warning message on his ebooks says, “This story is a work of fiction and it is intended for mature audiences. All the characters depicted in sexual situations are over the age of 18.”

The first two stories below are erotic horror, and they bring a big, walloping dose of both of those. These are not the stories for you if you want a romance with sparkly vampires. What you get instead are intense stories with scenes that come right at you, and there are things in them that I’ve never read about before. Enough to maybe make Stephen King flinch. Indeed, Eric has a very vivid imagination. These are dark stories that aren’t exactly for squeamish readers.

The third story below is erotica and contains BDSM. I’ve never read Fifty Shades of Grey, so I can’t compare Eric’s For the Glory to that popular BDSM book, but I can tell you that Eric’s story has very hot scenes. It also might be the only erotica book with a Gettier problem in it.

The blurbs for each book are under the titles. Click on the covers or titles to jump to their Smashword pages. As of today, all of these ebooks are free…
Mstislav, by Eric Keys

Mstislav

Angela is a school teacher with a double life. She thinks her secrets might get her into trouble someday, but it turns out the the secrets of one of her students and her husband are far more of a threat to the world than her dabbling in erotic writing. As things come to light Angela is drawn into a world of violence, vengeance, blood, sex and glory. You see, she’s about to meet Mstislav.

Grace and Blood, by Eric Keys
Grace and Blood

All Gracie wanted was to fulfill her passionate desire for her boss, Kevin. But when she finally makes her move she finds herself drawn into a story beyond her understanding. It’s a story of fear, blood and lust that might set fire to the world.

For the Glory, by Eric Keys
For the Glory

Sometimes it takes extraordinary measures to turn hate into love.

Ilsa was driven by rage when she met Saul. He was everything she despised, but he saw something more in her. But does he have the determination to break through Ilsa’s defenses? And more importantly, does Ilsa have the strength to let him?

Warning: There are ideas and words in here which might make you uncomfortable, but there is also plenty of hot BDSM action. And maybe there will be a happy ending.

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One last thing: Eric’s new blog is The Blood, The Glory, and The Grace.