Playing with Gods

A fellow creative once shared that we work out our demons and dreams when we write. I have certainly rediscovered this truth in creating my latest work Asira Awakens. Stepping away from what readers have come to expect given my previous work, this one challenges me on several levels.

This is a story that mixes history, mythology and religion. Set against a contemporary backdrop, the main characters wrestle with the best in humanity and its worst. It explores our better angels, crimes against humanity and the demons that haunt us. Yet in this quagmire, two remarkable people discover love that manifests in unexpected ways.

Through this work, I have wrestled a few demons of my own around spiritual issues, the nature of the divine and my relationship to it. But I have also realized a dream and found a greater gift... because of my love for writing. This creative endeavor has brought me face to face with my truths, my dreams, and yes my demons... but it's their story... Ben's and Deborah's. 

Above all things, this book has reaffirmed my universal truth. Against all odds, disappointments and human shortcomings... love is redemptive. Love is the key.

 

A Time for All Things...

I'm always growing as a writer. Challenging myself to learn from others' and my own mistakes, I strive to improve my craft. I've learned to celebrate successes when they come and reflect on how best to move forward when things are slower than I like- in all things.

I have reached a new phase in my writing... I'm exploring another genre. Stepping aside (though not permanently) from Erotic Romance, I'm having a wonderful time creating my latest work ASIRA AWAKENS. it's fun playing with gods and other worldly creatures while still keeping a bit of steamy, without the explicit content found in my first four novels.

I hope you enjoy this journey with me! I really think you will like it...because it's time.

Asira Awakens... Playlist

It's fairly simple really. Many authors use music to inspire their writing. For some of us, that music becomes our book's soundtrack. 

Scheduled for release in July 2017, Here's the playlist for my latest. It's ethereal, moody, and sexy. Enjoy!!


Human Behaviour- Bjork
Uninvited- Alannis Morrisett
Smells Like Teen Spirit-Tori Amos
I Want You- Marian Hill
Good to Love- FKA twigs
Electric-Alina Barez
Bout You- Marian Hill
One Thousand Times- James Vincent McMorrow
Get you (feat. Kali Uchis)- Daniel Ceasar
Whenever I Say Your Name- Sting & Mary J Blige
Aint Love Strange- Stanaj
Possession- Sarah McLaughin
In the Air Tonight-Phil Collins
Fragile- Sting
Ultralife- Oh Wonder
Human- Aquilo

A Many Splendid Thing

I've been thinking a lot lately about love... 

More than a chemical reaction triggered by hormones, visual or physical stimulation,,,

It is this thing, that becomes all consuming making us feel alive, anxious, unsteady, yet totally enraptured in bliss.

It is this thing making us dream and want in ways never imagined possible. 

It is this thing bringing us to the apex of joy or when it crumbles, the depths of despair.

Love is a many splendid thing. A precious gift.

It is trusting, yearning, safety, peace, comfort, joy, it is...divine.

Connecting with another person who embraces your contradictions, who wipes your tears and stands with you through all of life's trials, who soothes your aching heart and lifts you back up-that's love. It's easy to proclaim when everything is going well, when your body flushes at the sight of them.

But true love? It has no boundaries. It frees us, compliments all that we are and makes us better because it gives us hope... and destiny.

 

When The Pain Ain't Sweet

We've all heard it, "it hurts so good." We may have actually felt it...that sweet ecstasy of having a lover that makes you squirm, wince and moan with desire from the sweetest nibble to love 'taps' to full device strikes that accentuate sexual desire. 

Since entering the world of erotic writing, (particularly after meeting with BDSM practitioners and other kinksters), one thing is abundantly clear. People need to know the difference between abuse and sexual play. Like any sexual contact, NO ONE should ever touch you, inflict pain or insert anything into your body without your EXPRESS permission and negotiation. EVER!! Testing limits and sexual boundaries are at the heart of sexual discovery and play. However, you should NEVER be forced into any interaction or manipulated to do anything that makes you uncomfortable or feel threatened. 

It seems like such a simple idea-but apparently it's not. With increasing interest in, and lessening taboo nature of sexual play, distressing things are happening. In recent months, I've read news reports about people being harmed or killed due to what is being described as BDSM gone wrong. There is NO SUCH thing! People who don't know what the hell they're doing are putting their partners at risk or displaying truly psychotic behavior. That's what's happening.

Please be safe, sane, consensual and careful out there! 

And remember...

NO MEANS NO-even if it takes the form of a safe word. Honor it, be respectful of it. 

The Love You Deserve

You deserve to be loved the way you want...

You want someone who's there to help lift you up when you falter...

You want someone who makes your relationship a priority...

You want someone to plan and build a future with...

You want someone who takes genuine joy striving to learn more about you everyday...

But instead ...

You may have someone who tears you down in little and big ways,

You may have someone who treats you as if you are one of many options,

You may have someone who compartmentalizes you,

You may have someone who behaves as if your presence in an inconvenience.

And yet...you love them so much that you are willing to set yourself on fire to keep them warm. This isn't love but rather enabling and self-destruction. Somewhere along the way, seeing the best in your partner skews your vision to the point of choosing to ignore the worst. 

And sometimes  it may simply be that the person you've chosen to be with can't give you the kind of love you need or want. It simply doesn't work. 

You deserve to be loved the way you want. If your partner isn't giving it to you...no matter how much you may genuinely love them...it's time to move on. 

I have loved like that...more than once. 

 

 

Tell Me What You Want

Since beginning my fourth book "Darling Nikita" I've had the pleasure of using "Beta" readers for the first time. I write chapters, send them out to a people who've agreed to provide feedback on everything from typos, grammar and reaction to the story's arc and characters.

This is fascinating on a number of levels because it's happening in real time before the work is actually completed. Readers are making very clear what they want to happen with certain characters and how they feel about others. I know how I want this story to flow and each character's transformation-but must be open to what they are sharing without turning my work into a crowd sourced creation.

An interesting dynamic is taking place. But so far, it's making me think about novel writing in a completely different way. Based on reader sentiment, I've taken one character out of Nikita's memory and gave him a brief but important introduction into her present...we'll see what happens next...

 

Discovering Nikita

Creating new works is always an adventure. My greatest joy is creating complex characters whose choices drive action and/or are shaped by the environments in which they live or choose to move through. Above all, I want characters with whom a reader can relate on a visceral level.

I'm finding "Darling Nikita" is more complex than I originally imagined her to be. She is strong, vulnerable, competent and self-assured. Yet this woman is willing to don the title of 'sub.' Why? What motivates capable, moral, loving and sexy women to engage in BDSM knowing the inherent risks and labels that could follow.  

That is the nature of the book. Yes, there's steamy sex depicted, but that is not the story-it is the outcome of one woman's journey to greater self.

Interested in becoming a BETA/early reader? Feel free to message me.

Darling Nikita Playlist

Like many writers, music helps me set the emotional tone for my characters and the story arcs. Sometimes the songs come to me as I go,  other times they come when the bulk of the writing is completed. But occasionally, it comes like this-before the first draft is finished. Enjoy!

1. I Love Me Some Him...Toni Braxton

2. I'm a Mighty Tight Woman...Sippie Wallace

3. Naughty Girl...Beyonce

4. Un-break My Heart...Toni Braxton

5. Whole Damn Year...Mary Jane Blige

6. He Wasn't Man Enough For Me...Toni Braxton

7. No More Drama...Mary J Blige

8. Sleeping With The One I Love...Fantasia

9. S&M...Rihanna

10. I'm a Slave 4 U...Britney Spears

11. Cater 2 U...Destiny's Child

12. Call Me...Aretha Franklin

13. Something's Got a Hold of Me...Etta James

14. The Deeper I Get...Regina Bell

15. Q.U.E.E.N....Janelle Monae

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm...

When I began this trilogy, it started as one book, one story. As I've shared many times, I had no intention of writing three books about the same characters. But Janine and Michael along with several other characters in their world demanded more from me. I created something that took on a life of its own and they wouldn't let me release them as easily as I thought I could. Admittedly, early readers expressed interest in knowing more about several of them. That encouragement spurred the development of new stories...and the trilogy was completed.

Why am I referencing this so far into this journey? I have been struck, absolutely delighted and humbled by overwhelmingly positive comments from reviewers. In addition to stressing that this is a character-driven tale (which it is), they have talked about how relatable each one is in many different ways. These are characters that we cheer for, ache for and want so much for. I couldn't be more pleased readers are connecting to them the way they are...and recommending the books to others. It is every writer's dream.

With all that said, I guess I'm still taken aback that the strength of this story seems to transcend the ethnicity of the characters. In all the reviews I've read on Amazon and Goodreads, only one ever discussed it. I think that's cool...and a part of me is grateful that the books are drawing such a diverse audience who view this as the love story I intended.

But it still makes me say hmmm...especially considering the events happening in the U.S. 

Asserting Independence

With the Fourth of July upon us, it seems appropriate to think about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I'm not talking about selfish ambitions where you trample over the needs and desires of others. (That's a pretty shitty thing to do and we see far too much of it.) Instead, think more about being open and honest with yourself and demanding meaningful interactions with those around you.

I've been pondering  this course I'm on- essentially living two lives. Trying to keep my worlds from colliding. Both are elements of my authentic and creative self, but somehow one has become far more acceptable than the other. But the truth is-for very practical purposes-I need to leap forward into the unknown. That may very well mean "outing" my real identity before it is done to me.

So dear fans...stay tuned. I don't know when, where or how, but I hear you. I will be making cloaked appearances starting Fall 2016. Details are being worked out but it looks like Manhattan and Detroit are first up!

 

The Music In My Head...Part 3

So much has been happening that didn't realize that I never posted the play list for Their Now and Forever (Book III) of the trilogy. Special thanks to a fan for asking me about it. You all are terrific. So here goes...

NO SLEEP...JANET JACKSON

HOPELESS...DIONNE FARRIS

THERE GOES MY BABY...USHER

TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO...TEVIN CAMPBELL

DEMONS...FATBOY SLIM (FEAT. MACY GRAY)

DANGEROUS WOMAN...ARIANA GRANDE

DRINK YOU AWAY...JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

COME BACK TO BED...JOHN MAYER

MY IMMORTAL...EVANESSENCE (AMY LEE)

STAY...RIHANNA

 

COME PLAY WITH ME!

Would you like to be on the "inside track" for an upcoming book release? Here's your chance!

I'm putting together Beta Reading Team #4 to give me direct feedback on my next book "Darling Nikita." There will be gifts and surprises along the way so inbox me via FB, email chevelle@chevelleallen.com or simply click on the Contact Me link on this website.

Your opinion matters and I'd love your input on my early drafts. We'll begin July 15, 2016 and be wrapping up within six months. Let me know and spread the word!

Imagine That...

Could you do it? Could you give yourself to someone so completely that you trust them not only with your heart but your physical self beyond the bounds of traditional sexual engagement? 

Crafting scenes like those experienced by Michael and Janine in the books has been among the greatest creative tests I have experienced as a writer. Imagining what it feels like to have your lover's hands gripped tightly around your throat...or the sensation of a flogger or belt against your skin while turning it into an erotic adventure that most readers can fantasize about without being repulsed. It's tricky, especially since most depictions seen or memories shared by readers about this type of sexual play are any thing but erotic. 

I think that's the trick. Helping the reader enter a world with which they have limited to no familiarity and coming out of it a little more informed, less judgmental and maybe even turned on. Imagination is a powerful thing...sometimes it can lead us on journeys we never considered before.

 

Black Kink

Once again, I'm intrigued by readers who were initially taken aback to discover the characters engaging in BDSM play in my 'love trilogy' are African American. It never occurred to them that black people participated in this kind of sexual exploration.

For the most part, they expressed a presumption that BDSM is a "white thing." Admittedly, I didn't flag the books as "African American." That was a deliberate choice because I do believe Michael and Janine's love story has universal appeal. But that choice has created a kind of marvelous discovery for readers (regardless of background or ethnicity) I couldn't have anticipated and frankly...I'm delighted.

So yes, there are lots of black people who engage in BDSM. In fact there are a number of organizations and groups out there that cater to them exclusively. The communities are close knit and I was fortunate that one let me in to examine their world and interactions. Several are open and welcome folks to come and learn about safe, sane and consensual play with them. Each group hosts conferences to learn about techniques and new toys. They have meet-ups, demonstrations and parties. There are networks of clubs around the country-some cities (especially majority black cities) have several of these clubs that are "play only" or "sex-friendly."

So there you have it. Black Kink is a real thing...a very real thing. Trust me! 

 

The "What If" Lover...

We've all had one. That person we fell in love with so hard and fast that our world was left in a tailspin...but we know we'd do it all again. Maybe...

I'm not talking about one night stands or that gorgeous, hot-bodied person that made you cum so many times you lost count. No, this one was special. You couldn't put your finger on it if you tried-and you have.

This is the person that you found yourself inextricably drawn to on a truly cosmic level. That person who made every fiber of your being stand at attention and take note. That person who filled your heart so completely, that you still think of them no matter how may years it's been. They imprinted on you. They are a part of you.  And if you didn't end up with your happily ever after with them, you would try again, if circumstances permitted.

That's love...and all its wondrous messy. It is the thing we long for, the thing we search out. If we're lucky, we find glimpses of it wherever our heart leads.

Nothing Compares To You...

How can you grieve for someone you've never met? When it comes to musicians, we've grown accustomed to the trope of "gone too soon." But never could I expect such a thing to be applied to HIs Royal Badness-Prince. I came of age with him. Through him, I celebrated my unconventional interests and curiosities. With his music as the soundtrack, I explored sexuality with a freedom often not allowed someone with my background.

I danced and grooved to his funky tracks, and was equally moved by his sensual ballads.  I grew up with Prince...every messy step. His passing has been devastating. But his music is eternal. We still leap to our feet when "1999" plays, or sway to "Purple Rain." For those of us who continued the ride, we got funky with "The Pope" and found a new, more mature eroticism with "U Know."

If you've been following my blog, you know I shared my playlists for Her Love and Regrets and His Pleasures and Pain about a month ago. Both lists had Prince songs included to capture the mood and sentiments of those books. I hope you enjoy them...

A Rose By Any Other Name

One of the challenges in writing these books was trying to figure out how best to describe sexual acts. I could've take the path most often chosen and simply found some creative way to describe a penis or labia and various forms of sexual intercourse. You know something like, "he inserted himself into her wanting folds" kind of thing. But it didn't feel right and it didn't raise the level of eroticism I wanted. Instead, I wrote things like "easing his dick into her, he imagined the soft, pulsating walls of her pussy engulfing him."

I know there are those who prefer more gentile phrasing in their romance books. In fact, some may not be able to get past the more graphic content of my books...and that's okay. As the saying goes, everything isn't for everyone. Even though I wouldn't use such words in daily speech, there's something about hearing those particular words in your head when you read. There's an immediacy..and familiarity. We all have a way of saying words that can  build a heat and allow us to feel the characters' desires on a visceral level. That's what I wanted to create for my readers.

 

"You Like Me! You really like me!"

Okay, some may be too young for that cultural reference, but the majority of you will get it! LOL

The past few weeks have been a blur...but something pretty special is happening. More readers are spreading the word about my books, reviewers are adding their perspectives on blogs and websites, and new readers are discovering Her Love and Regrets (Book I). I'm humbled by the response so far! His Pleasures and Pain (Book 2) is now available and the final book of the trilogy Their Now and Forever (Book 3) will be released by the end of the month-so enjoy!

Book sales are strong with Kindle readers from the US and UK. I'm delighted by those of you who keep returning to this website and blog to peep what I've been up to.  Bottom line? A BIG, SLOPPY KISS AND THANK YOU! for being on this journey with me.

Where Did You Get That?

I've been asked why I selected the items shown on the book covers. 

As you can imagine, each image reflects an important idea from the book. When Janine chooses to go further with Michael into BDSM play, the flogger is the device used. It is a standard device that can be purchased at a number of chain or specialty 'lovers' shops. But the photographer did something amazing. After reading the book, she was drawn to the idea of placing flowers within the tails to reflect that this is a love story-FIRST. The result is stunning.

Cufflinks clearly represent a man. When I started thinking about Michael's journey and the duality he must combat, I wanted a symbol that reflected all that he is. After considerable research, I discovered that among some BDSM practitioners, this 'triskele' subtly identifies them to one another. Necklaces, ornaments, charms, etc. are available on line or in specialty shops. But this particular item was purchased from an amazing vendor in Germany whose products are extremely well made compared to most US vendors. When I held them in my hand, I knew this was exactly what I needed.

Given the success with the cufflinks imagery, I reached out to the German vendor again and asked about distinctive submissive collars. Once again, he did not fail me. His selection of hand-crafted goodies was extraordinary! The "O" Collar was more beautiful than I could have imagined and it is custom-measured for the wearer. In the book I described what Janine wears, but left the specific details for a later draft until I was certain what it would look like...and how it would feel. 

As you read the books, I hope you think the choices made where as perfect as I did.