Friday, February 10, 2017

New Release and New Beginnings

Buy it today at Amazon or your favorite online retailer!

Mid-Winter Healing is out! That's the big news! I am so excited to be working with one of my long time favorites Sara Daniel and one of my new favorites Carolyn Spear.

If you enjoy romance with a touch of the fantastic, I do recommend you visit the Wiccan Haus series at Decadent Publishing. I fell head over heels in love with the world of the Wiccan Haus years ago when I read the first book by the series creator Dominque Eastwick. Since then, this shared world has gotten more and more fascinating with every release.

In short, the Wiccan Haus is a spa for the paranormal world, which coexists alongside ours, but secretly. Humans sometimes get to come to the island retreat, but even if they show up oblivious to the real nature of the spa, they have a tendency to fall neck-deep into the magic of the place and of course in love as well!

The series itself covers a wide range of pairings and heat levels, so there is something for everyone. Mid-Winter Healing has three MF pairings and heat levels that will not scorch your eyeballs out! Here are the short blurbs for you:

Dex Seer has spent his life on the wrong side of the law, working for anyone who will pay him enough to afford the medicine his sister needs to keep from going blind. But the medicine no longer exists. In desperation, he books a stay at the Wiccan Haus to heal his sister. With a sexy government spy following him through the portal, he stands to lose everything he’s spent his life protecting.

After too many years reading the evil, sadistic thoughts of her government’s enemies, Monica Smic is exhausted and cynical. Worse, her soul discovered its mate in a lawless bounty hunter, and staying away from him is destroying her from the inside out. When she passes out on the job, her boss forces her to take a week off at the Wiccan Haus to get her act together.

Despite their mutual distrust, the more time Dex and Monica spend in each other’s company, the more their battered souls find solace in the other’s. But Dex’s first loyalty is to his sister, and Monica’s is to her government. On the Winter Solstice, they will either heal each other or lose everything in winter’s fiercest storm.

Alina Argal hopes to mix in a little pleasure when she visits her childhood friend Sarka Rowan at Wiccan Haus. She badly needs a boost to her battered ego following a humiliating breakup of her arranged engagement to Thad Yates ,the eldest son of one of the most powerful magical families. A little R and R at the lighthouse should help her get her feet back under her. The last person she expects to find sharing the small lightkeeper's house with is Thad's brother Sean.

Long the black sheep of the family for being born without magic, Sean Yates has always gone his own way. A former Army infantry officer, he now suffers a slight limp and PTSD. His one desire is to win Alina's love now that his brother is out of the picture. But is he really?

Will Alina open herself to the one brother she needs and deserves or marry for duty?

Soren Feodor has never backed down from a challenge. But when his attempt to unlock a treasure fails miserably, his sole hope lies with Emma van Pelt, the only human who ever successfully resisted him. A trip to the Wiccan Haus could heal his body, but Emma knows nothing about the dangers of the magical work that lies before them.

When a chance encounter brought Emma face to face with the mages of the paranormal world, mysterious Soren tried and failed to make her forget it ever happened. Now she’s the only chance he has at revealing the powers of a legendary magical item, provided he will even let her try to help.

Can the two learn to work together and unravel the wards of the Tears of Therin, or will love’s magick be the death of them?

I personally had a wonderful time writing Love's Magick. Okay, that's a lie. I wrote it twice. The first time it never felt right to me. The characters weren't true to themselves. So I started over. Some things happened exactly the same way, but so much shifted as Soren and Emma showed their real natures and their true selves. I am very happy with this story of a prideful mage and a co-opted historian.

Meanwhile, I've decided to start blogging again, not just about writing and books and such but about some of the things I've been doing lately for myself. I feel really good these days and think I should probably share some of them.

Right now, my two biggest inspirations/sources of feeling great are the following: (your gateway to getting off the food crazy train and finding health through High Fat Low Carb eating. So far I've lost 25 pounds by putting cream on everything. Sort of.) (a way to dress beautifully without filling your closet with things)

However, the honest truth is I hate to blog. I hate to put things out there into the datastream that never go away. I am all about the ephemeral. I hate to look back.

Nevertheless, there comes a time when one's voice needs to be heard. I guess now is as good a time as any. Welcome back to my blog.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Why You Do and Don't Want a Maltese Dog

I live with the most wonderful little dog in the world. He is a Maltese named Scooter and he is preciously adorable, smart, playful, loving, and all-around delightful. However, when my husband was asked by a coworker if he recommended the Maltese as a breed, he said, “Absolutely not!”

Imagine my surprise!

“My Maltese baby is the light of my life, my little precious angel, the most adorably wonderful dog I ever met! Why on earth would my husband tell others to stay away from the breed?” I wondered as I cuddled my soft snugglebunny.

Then I forced myself to take a step back from the ridiculous dog-crush I have on my Scootiebug and evaluate him logically. In truth, I have to admit, my baby dog’s breed has its faults.

First of all, if you are considering a Maltese, be certain you can treat him like a big dog, not like the sweet baby you know in your heart that he is. A small dog that is over-pampered and overly catered to can become a holy terror of need---a barking, snappish, dependent, terrified little bundle of noise and teeth.

It is vital that babydog walks from room to room and explores the world like a big dog. She’s tougher than you think and needs the socialization that comes from four feet on the ground and interaction with a variety of people, situations, and other dogs. She needs to know that her place in the world is a confident one and that she has nothing to be afraid of.

Also, Maltese are prone to separation anxiety through no fault of their own. We create these needy little bark machines when we make the dog feel like every departure is the end of the world. If you have a freak-out fit of weepiness and cuddling before you leave him, he’ll learn to associate your departure with horrible emotional turmoil. Downplay your comings and goings from the house as if it is absolutely no big deal to you, so that he too will be totally cool with your leaving and coming home.

Of course, I understand that your heart breaks completely at being separated from your little angel for more than a few minutes but never show that to the dog.  Wait until you are in the car, then collapse into a pool of quivering emotion as you clutch his photograph. Just never let him see it! Ever! You are a person and understand that you are coming back. He is a dog and will only understand what you teach him. Teach him to be cool and confident with your routine and he will be happy all day long. Teach him to fear your departure and wonder if you are ever coming back any time you walk out the door and he will bark and cry all day long, making him seriously unhappy and fragile and making your neighbors furious.

In the same way, be wary of over-comforting Little Bit when he is upset or afraid. Doing so only reinforces the idea to him that the thing he fears truly is every bit as terrifying as he believes it to be. This leads to incessant barking at said vacuum cleaner or visitor or bug or raindrop. These things should be no big deal at all to a well-adjusted dog. Worse, should your baby decide that you need his protection from the terrifying world, you  can expect him to leap to your defense by barking at or even worse biting everyone who attempts to hug, kiss, talk to, or otherwise interact with you. You can forget having a love life if your dog decides he is your personal bodyguard.

Maltese are also much smarter than they get credit for. Dogs are frequently judged by how willing they are to learn and perform as the measure of their intelligence. Well, I’ve had smart dogs and dumb sweethearts and I have to say Scooter is a very intelligent little dog. However, as much as a Maltese knows, he is often too stubborn to be very obedient. Scooter knows lots of tricks but refuses to work without immediate food reward. Plus, the Maltese can be a pain to house train because of his small bladder and tendency to just pee wherever the hell he wants. I highly recommend crate training and indoor pee pads. Scooter will hold his poop pretty well until he goes outside, but uses a variety of pee pads through the house . . . usually. If you aren’t good with this, don’t get a Maltese. On the upside, they are very little dogs and their messes are also very little. Just deal with it.

When Scooter was a puppy, I made every attempt to socialize him as a confident dog. Now that he is grown, he handles separation very well. To the best of my knowledge, he is quiet at home alone and is content to pretty much sleep and gnaw on chew sticks while we are away. However, he does have a tendency to be vocal (that means bark his fool head off) when we have visitors until he is certain they present no threat. He also warns us whenever there is a moth in the house. This makes him a great guard dog; unfortunately the volume and timbre of his bark gets right under my husband’s skin. I have to vacuum the house with the dog outside or in another room entirely. In Scooter’s world, that vacuum cleaner is the spawn of Satan and must die a horrible death, pulled apart by tiny dog teeth. I think it is adorable.

Despite its challenges, the breed has many wonderfully positive traits that more than make up for their tendency to develop small dog syndrome. They do not shed and have the softest, most luxurious coats ever. If you’ll keep him bathed twice a month and trimmed up in a puppy cut every six weeks or so, he’ll have a relatively easy-care coat that is about as hypoallergenic as a dog gets.

But the best thing about a Maltese is she loves your lap. Well over two thousand years of breeding nothing but cuddly sweethearts culminates in your very own precious white bundle of snuggledom.

A Maltese loves to cuddle against you and sleep and stretch in precious ways. There is no place on earth she prefers to your arms as you walk around the house, and she’s small enough to carry everywhere (even though you shouldn’t since she’s a big dog and sometimes needs to walk like a big dog so she will remember that). Everything a Maltese does is precious to watch. They play and tumble and cuddle like perpetual puppies that never grow up, especially with a short cut. They also don’t need much room to exercise. A game of fetch in the living room can be enough to wear them out. Top that off with a round of tricks to work their brain and most of their excess energy will be consumed so you can lie on the couch and watch TV or read a book together in cuddly bliss.

Sadly, it is the Maltese’s complete adorability that is its worst enemy. It’s so easy to smother them in love that they become spoiled terrors who bark incessantly for even more attention. Apartment dwellers choose them because they are small and don’t need a lot of space. However, those barks can pierce walls and the neighbors will complain constantly if the dog is unhappy alone. If you aren’t willing to put in the effort to make sure your baby dog is well-socialized and trained, stay away from the Maltese.

In both Australia and Seoul, South Korea, the Maltese is the number one breed dumped at dog shelters, usually due to barkiness. This fact is particularly heartbreaking because these dogs adore their owners so completely. The owner creates a dog who is terrified of being alone, then because the dog barks constantly when alone, the owner dumps the dog in a shelter---alone and without the owner it needs so desperately. I donate each month to Maltese Rescue to help unfortunate sweethearts like these find homes with new owners who can love them through the rough spots until they are happy little dogs again.

My Scooter brings me so much joy each and every day and loves me so thoroughly that I could not imagine owning another breed. I have had other wonderful breeds and dogs that I loved with all my heart, but Scooter is special. The mix of intelligence, adorability, personality, and cuddliness in a Maltese can’t be matched. For those willing to invest themselves in their dogs (and willing to put up with some crap --- sometimes literally), I cannot recommend a Maltese highly enough.

Friday, August 28, 2015

"Talk Dirty to Me": Pillow Talk and the Blog Post

One of my biggest issues in writing sex scenes (yes, I write sex scenes) is the dialog.

Quite frankly, I have a terrible time with coming up with what people actually say during sex versus what many romance novels have them say during sex. "Harder faster oh yes right there" only goes so far.

The truth is in my personal sexual experience and probably lots of other folks' experience as well, there's not a lot of talking going on. Maybe some moaning and stuff but not any real exchanging of information.

I know there's plenty of turn-on mileage in "talking dirty" during sex, but Sweetie and I just don't go there. Maybe we're too self-conscious. Maybe it's because "f*** me harder" or "that is some sweet c***" isn't something likely to come out of either one of our mouths during our daytime conversations.

Or maybe it's because sex has a tendency to unleash crazy stuff in one's head. If I started saying aloud some of the ideas that run through my mind during orgasm, Sweetie might decide I need help and not just from Dr. Ruth.

I feel the same way about blogging. I freaking hate to blog. For the most part, the things in my head that I might truly blog about are the scary things, the uncomfortable things---like the issue I have with bedroom dialog.

Unfortunately, if I want people to know who I am as a writer so they will (I hope) want to read my books, I need to be genuine. Sure, I can post a thousand pieces about crocheting or my favorite paleo recipes, but what does that tell anybody about the kind of books I write or whether you'll want to read them?

So, despite the fact the people who know me in real life and know my penname will likely get way more information from me than they want to know, I'm going to start blogging about the things going on in my writing. It's personal. It's sometimes TMI. But it's real---just like the talking during sex thing.

My current manuscript in progress is a science fiction romance mostly because I have wanted to combine two of my favorite genres forever, but also because I had a idea about a way to explore the role of sex in a relationship.

Due to cool sci-fi plot points I won't get into right now, my two leads have a biochemically induced sort of telepathic connection to each other that is fueled by oxytocin and vassopressin (the two hormones that flood the brain during orgasm). That means that their pillow talk turns into pillow thought and as such is much harder to control, especially for our newbie Evan.

This has driven me to ask questions like "What truly goes through a 22 year old guy's head during sex?" and "What kinds of memories might churn up inside him?" I don't know about you, but sex, especially sex early in the relationship, stirs up all kinds of embarrassing and deeply locked away things about myself.

What if the dialog wasn't so much "you're so tight, I'm coming" as a thought stream of real vulnerability? What if he remembered how it felt to have a crush on a teacher as a kid and the mortifying embarrassment of having all his friends point out his unstoppable hard-on right in front of her? What if he's the only one sharing this kind of information because his link partner Dayna has done this before and knows how to control it? What kinds of trust issues does this stir up between them?

Sex with Sweetie still makes me confront myself and our relationship even after 18 years together. I believe sex is a powerful force that goes way beyond the physical, a force that we have a tendency to sensationalize and romanticize in order to titillate (what a great word!) rather than explore deeply.

So as I continue to work through this new MS, I'll do my best to blog about the ideas I'm playing with. Should I hit TMI territory, please feel free to not tell my mother about it. But if I'm going to blog and I'm going to write, I'm going to be honest with my readers of both.

What about you? Ideas on pillow talk? Blog honesty? TMI in general?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lifebound is here!


About four years ago, my teenage daughter developed a huge crush on snowboarder Shaun White and forced me to watch any number of YouTube of this incredible, red-haired phenomenon. In no time, I had my own Shaun White obsession, which bled over into watching the crazy stunts of extreme snowboarders and skateboarders like Tony Hawk and Bob Burnquist.

It was out of this cougarish fascination with these super-hot (see Bob Burnquist), crazy-talented young men that Josh Trenton, the hero of Lifebound, took over my dreams. But I needed a heroine. Adriana Velen springs out of my long fascination with poetry from the Romantic period and the concept of the lamia. With apologies to Coleridge and Keats, my lamia spins out of their idea of the beautiful woman who drains life by touch while giving back creative energy to her victim.

When this classically educated, polished young woman runs headlong into the extreme energy of our skateboarding hero, all kinds of sparks fly!

Buy here!!


Here's a brief excerpt.


Lifebound (The Wiccan Haus)

by Leigh Daley

A fine line divides ecstasy and death; they are about to cross it.
Lamia Adriana Velen doesn’t want another host. She has come to Wiccan Haus to learn to balance her energies without draining the life of a human.  However, when extreme skateboarder Josh Trenton comes near, his energy practically leaps into her. Josh just wants space to recover from an accident that could end his career, but one touch from Adriana threatens to enslave him---body and soul. Can they walk the fine line between ecstasy and death or will she consume him utterly?
Adriana had done plenty of ice-skating as a girl, which paid off as she found her balance pretty quickly. The board responded to her as she shifted her weight, curving back and forth across the pavement.

A movement out of the corner of her eye caught her attention.  Josh had borrowed a board and was also gliding along, weaving in and out of the benches that bordered the edges.

“You guys need to work on grinding these benches and popping ollies over them,” he said. “This could be a great place to skate.”

“Something tells me Sarka would not approve of us grinding her benches,” Joseph warned.

Adriana suddenly remembered her promise to Sarka that she would go to her room and stay far away from Josh Trenton. She sighed then. The morning had been surprisingly enjoyable. But for her own good, she needed to pack it in.

Sadly, she pushed off back toward the group of guys. “I’m going to have to call it a day,” she said as she drew closer to them.

“For real?” Josh asked, disappointment in his voice.

“Yes, I’ve got to get some work done,” she lied as she rolled up.

Just as she reached the edge of the pavement where the group stood, her front wheel hung on a pebble, stopping the board suddenly and throwing her forward. She threw out her hands to catch herself, but Josh got there first.

He reached out to grab her arms to keep her from falling, and despite her best effort to roll away from him, he caught her.

They hit the ground hard.

But it was done.

His fingers gripped her shoulders as he pulled her into him, and the contact between them completed with a rush of energy that left her lightheaded.

Time stopped as his human strength surged between them, as it soaked up the overflow of power that had built in her, as it gave back its own life in return.

The first contact with a prospective host generally felt a bit uncomfortable, almost like a negotiation, as her energies shifted and adjusted to be compatible with the host. With Tom it had taken months of casual touches—the barest brush of fingertips as she passed him a pen, a hand laid briefly on his arm through layers of clothing—before she could begin to allow any real interchange of energy flow between them. And even while she sat hand in hand with him in the ambulance, the flow had been controllable—at least for a while.

What she felt now was not controllable. She lay on the ground on top of Josh, his hands gripping the bare skin of her arms tightly, their legs tangled together on the ground, her cheek pressed against his.  Her focus zeroed in on the soft sensation of his breath against her neck and the warmth that surged from him as their bodies touched their entire length separated by only the thinnest layers of cotton.

Their energies synchronized effortlessly and began to surge back and forth between them like raw current. He poured into her like she was a dry well, and she soaked him up as if she could never get enough. His life flowed quicksilver-smooth in her veins. Her skin tingled and glowed as his essence washed over her in a flood of pure elation.

But as much as she tried to give the flow back to him, she knew she took even more in an insidious unstoppable drain of his energies. She was going to hurt him. She was going to pull his life completely away from him if she didn’t break the connection—soon. She clamped down on her abilities, she couldn’t stop up a fire hose with a piece of bubblegum.

Desperately, she twisted against his grasp, but he held her tightly.

“Josh, please,” she whispered into his ear, “you’ve got to let me go.”

Finally, his hold relaxed enough for her to push herself away to sit a few feet from him on the ground. He sat up and looked at her, his breath coming in deep ragged gasps. He was pale and shaking.

“I’m sorry.”

“For what?” he asked, then his eyes fluttered shut and he passed out cold on the grass.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Musa Publishing: NEW RELEASE for LEIGH DALEY

New release! This book was so much fun to write. Check it out!

Musa Publishing: NEW RELEASE for LEIGH DALEY: Musa Publishing is excited to announce Lifebound , a wonderful addition to the Wiccan Haus series by Leigh Daley , is now available. A ...

Friday, June 21, 2013