Hi Amber thank you for inviting me to the blog today. It’s always great to talk with another author and also to perhaps answer some readers’ questions indirectly.
I write romance at the moment paranormal and contemporary urban fantasy. I write in this genre because it gives me lots of scope to write happy endings. I think if I wrote romance without the fantasy, or paranormal aspect I would be tempted to make them sad stories.
I read all kinds of genres and lots of books. I sometimes have two novels on the go at the same time. I do read modern authors and other Indies too. I’m fascinated by the concept of fate in novels probably because I had a thing for Thomas Hardy novels in high school.
As an indie author I do other work besides write.
I’ve always had a writing component to my work, writing commercial and academic material. I generally work in community education and development of some kind. It’s usually within the literacy field. Lots of this work is promotion and fundraising, which is funny because that’s the part about being an author I find the hardest. I find it hard to market my books. It seems difficult to get your book noticed. Finding the places where the readers of your particular genre blend might hang out is hard, but if you do then it’s really great to hear from them.
I have a Facebook page for a particular YA series that I write and it was great fun to hear the readers’ comments about the characters and book covers.
My experience in community work has helped me develop resilience. I think that’s a really important thing for authors because there are some cruel blows in the writing field and you have to be able to cry for a day, and get back at it.
I was born in the United Kingdom but have lived in many places in the world because of the nature of my work. I’m pleased to be back amongst the UK countryside and history right now and often find inspiration in the sacred stone rings, barrows, medieval castle ruins, and flower gardens that are literally littering the country.
The book I brought along to share today was inspired by a visit to an old manor house garden. I saw something in a spooky overgrown part of the garden which inspired the start of the book and then when I began to write it the characters as usual took over.
It’s not a spooky story it’s full on romance and humor. I have woven lots of hidden Greek and Roman gods into the story through other characters names, which was great fun. It’s a genre blend of romance, and fantasy. Lots of real life meets fantasy.
There’s this ordinary girl. She has her own graphic design business but she has to work hard to pay her mortgage. She has no family and it’s been a long time since she had a man in her life. It’s summer and she seems to be surrounded by couples. The sun and her loneliness makes her long for love or at least kisses. She looks at her house from her garden and knows it needs painting but she can’t afford that so she decides to visit the nearby garden store to buy flowers for her garden. There she meets Justin who is gorgeous (naturally), and enigmatic. He finds her attractive and decides to pursue her.
The other thread of the story is the fantasy aspect because down the road live two gods left over from ancient times, and Stella our heroine gets caught up in a game they play, love relationships develop, and the whole game is upended.
It’s a multi-thread story and has themes that are serious, and funny. It’s about history repeating itself, love and loss, love and not being afraid to show it, and all the beautiful things in the world. I think it’s very hard to ‘meet’ that someone special in today’s world and that’s why I write the way I do I guess.
I’ve tried to show humanity and our frailties within the story.
The sex scenes were great to write because I wanted to create the atmosphere of absolute tenderness and love between Stella and her men.
I think they are successful, as most of the reviewers so far have loved them.
Stella is ‘every girl’. She finds herself left behind with not many outings because her friends all have men in their lives. She works hard. She wants to be love and give love. She’s brave.
I know a few women like that.
Excerpts from different chapters in the book:
The assistant was an attractive young man, and his long chestnut hair was held back by a blue and white spotted band. He was slightly suntanned, tall, and strong, and he grinned at her as she told him she would buy the birdbath, but had fallen in love with the statue of the man over there. She pointed, and the young man grinned again.
“Mercury”, he said. “Everybody loves him, even I love him. We’ve only got one of him and there are three or four of each of the other statues”.
The young man’s name badge read Justin. Stella smiled at him.
“I don’t think he will sell too soon because he is so expensive, but I wish he wasn’t”, she said, and she sighed.
Justin gave her a glance of approval. He liked her friendly open manner and big light blue eyes. She had a good figure too, he decided as she walked ahead of him, even though her jeans looked a size too big, and her cotton sweater was loose, and came down to her thighs, as if she hid behind the clothes. He pulled the trolley along with the birdbath on it, and he wished she could have afforded Mercury. He watched the way tendrils of her dark hair fell from her ponytail and whispered around the back of her slender neck. She should have Mercury, he thought.
By the time they were at the checkouts Justin, whose dad owned the center, had decided Stella would have Mercury. He made sure that he was the one to ring up her purchases and to take her address for the delivery of the birdbath. He smiled at her as she thanked him for his help and watched her take the flat box with her bedding flowers balanced on there to her car, saying she would manage them, and that he had helped enough.
Justin left the checkout to the two people who were scheduled to work there that day and went straight down to the statues. He talked to them as he walked through to Mercury telling them that Mercury was going home to someone who loved him. He grinned at one of the smaller frogs, and picked it up to put in in a birdbath that had collected a little water as the nearby plants received their nightly watering from the overhead sprays.
Justin took the tag from Mercury’s winged sandal and slapped him on the shoulder. “You are one lucky guy Mercury, and this time maybe so shall I be”, he said, and took the tag with the bar code down to the checkout where he rang it up as paid on his own account, and included it for delivery with the birdbath to Stella.
Mercury silently walked to the door of the conservatory. He had watched Stella lock the door on some nights and forget it on others. Tonight she had forgotten probably because she was so in love with him, and had about driven him crazy with her fondling and kisses.
He pushed his hands through his dark chestnut hair and licked his lips he would very much like a drink of water he decided, and as he turned the handle of the door he made sure that all of him had shed the stone. Then holding up his drapery that served to cover his lower body he went into Stella’s house. He silently found a glass filled it full of cold water to have a long drink and then he placed it carefully on the table.
Mercury needed to make sure not to frighten Stella, he had to make sure she believed this was a dream, and so very softly, almost silently he chanted a spell to keep her semi sleeping as he climbed the stairs to her room.
He pushed her bedroom door open carefully and looked at her sleeping. His green eyes filled with tears. She had a T-shirt on, and some little cotton shorts that came to her hips, and left her thighs, and legs bare. He glided to her bed and sat beside her. The way she looked was touchingly peaceful, and he stroked her hair away from her face as he bent to kiss her cheeks, then nose, her eyelids and then her lips. Stella stirred and moved towards his lips. In her dream she was with Mercury. She wanted him so badly and he was real in her bed with her.
He was too, and he lay down next to her and began to ease the T-shirt up her body kissing her along her ribs until he reached her breasts when he was overtaken by a wave of desire and took a nipple into his mouth. He sucked gently, and licked all the way to her other breast where he swirled his tongue around that nipple. His hand caressing down her body to stop and push the little cotton pants down until he could feel her soft dampness.
He found her mouth with his as he pressed his fingers into her carefully, gently, lovingly. Stella was dreaming of him, had her hands in his hair, and was kissing him passionately. She moved her lips from his and whispered his name, “Mercury”.
Mercury moved quickly to have her kiss back on his lips and eased over her with care. Stella moved her hands over his body until she found him hard and needy, and in her dream she moved down his body kissing him until she took the velvet end of him into her mouth and sucked a little. Mercury softly moaned with pleasure his hands in her hair, but he wanted her kiss, and he moved her until he held her close, his lips on hers, and then he opened her legs trailing his fingertips against her to make sure she really wanted him. He was very gentle about pushing into her, and nearly groaned aloud when she held him to her, and thrust her hips to meet him. She whispered his name again against his lips, and as they made love to each other he told her he loved her, over and over. Stella told him she loved him too.
When the first rays of the morning sun wove between the last streaks of darkness, Mercury raised himself from Stella’s arms and kissed her lovingly.
Copyright Tessa Stokes 2012 ISBN 978-1-908210-48-7
Stone Kisses is currently available on Amazon US and UK
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