“Poison” & “Poison II: Spring”

Coming to Amazon Kindle 12/24/2020.

Winter has arrived, and I come bearing news of three re-releases from my heyday as former pseud Jane Bled: “Poison,”  “Poison II” Spring,” and Naomi , the third installment in  The MASTER Series. Jane Bled has long since left the premises, but I remain in her stead. Her spirit is intact inasmuch as her bones are safely in my keeping. Since Autumn, I’ve only published works in my new name; it is my intention to keep J.B. buried, since I have outgrown her. May she rest in peace.

Though I tend to be tight-lipped about my reasons for writing what I do, I feel the need to share the preface found in the latest version of my mildly controversial erotic anti-romance “Poison.” Now I know everyone won’t enjoy my work, but it truly blows my mind to see this story on people’s shelves under “MM Romance.” No sarcasm meant: is that a joke?!

Continue reading “Holiday Releases: “Poison,” “Poison II: Spring,” & Naomi (MASTER, Book 3)”

My Dark VanessaMy Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My Dark Vanessa explores the trope of middle-aged-man-seduces-young-girl through the abused party’s perspective. Narrator Vanessa, deliberately blind to her own mistreatment, scorns and rejects the common labels of “victim” and “survivor.” Instead, she chooses to see herself as a complicit party in a mutually desired relationship. The novel evokes inevitable comparisons to Lolita; however, it does not recreate Vladimir Nabokov‘s vision (though author Kate Elizabeth Russell certainly pays homage to it in certain scenes).

My friend and I were recently chatting about books and she revealed Lolita was a “fantasy read”—and confessed she wished the main seduction scene contained more heat. I was nonplussed. Did we read the same book? From my perspective, Lolita is essentially a tragedy with comedic and satiric elements. Its implicit eroticism is heightened by Vladimir Nabokov‘s prose, but it’s not a hot and sexy romance meant to inspire arousal. To each her own…though in all honesty, my friend’s opinion disturbs me, because it epitomizes deliberate misinterpretation of an author’s intent, and fetishizes hebephelia.

In My Dark Vanessa, there are numerous references to Vladimir Nabokov‘s work (particularly, Lolita and Pale Fire), since teacher Jacob Strane uses these novels to groom student Vanessa into normalizing a forbidden love mentality. “Poor Mr. Strane” can’t help his cravings. What bad luck, to fall in love with a teenager! He doesn’t desire to seduce other students: he’s only in love with her. Or so Vanessa first believes…

My Dark Vanessa is not written to titillate. In fact, I struggled with nausea each time Strane made advances on his “special” pupil. Their sex scenes are not overly graphic, but they definitely contain the “ick” factor. The slow build and subsequent consummation of the main characters’ sexual and emotional relationship is written at a queasy pace (deliberate enough to draw out the tension—once the seduction reaches its climax, events rapidly escalate to a point of no return).

What seems like a series of glaring red flags to world-wise adults is interpreted as beacons of romantic possibility to lonely, naïve young Vanessa. Alternating between flashbacks and the present effectively illustrates the extent of the psychological damage Vanessa has incurred. It’s a fairly realistic portrayal of an unstable young woman unable to let go of her “first love”, since he made such a formative impression on her at a pivotal age during the height of her vulnerability. She clings to the memory of their relationship well into adulthood, and returns to him time and again even after he discards her for new conquests.

Kate Elizabeth Russell‘s debut novel is both a cautionary tale and fictional exploration of how those in power (such as teachers, and other figures of authority brought to public shame for their egregious transgressions during the #MeToo era) can exploit their privilege and status as leverage to sow seeds of doubt in their accusers’ credibility. It’s all too easy to imagine how frequently this type of teacher/student situation arises in both public and private academic settings. And easier still to imagine school scandals swept under the rug by self-serving administrations choosing to silence whistleblowers and protect their own reputations over revealing explosive, damaging truths about staff members.

Though the pacing lagged during the last third of the book, I nevertheless continued to turn the page at a steady rate. I rooted for Vanessa’s rejection of her self-imposed denial, yet found myself frustrated with her stagnancy and stubborn refusal to see Strane for what he was (a serial sexual and emotional predator of young women). At the same time, I understand how deep-seated trauma can result in the deepest form of denial and ultimately impede a person’s ability to grow and change. The book’s ending is less of a resolution than some readers might find satisfactory, but it’s realistic in the sense that the grieving process is complicated (therefore, healing through acceptance can be difficult to achieve).

All in all, My Dark Vanessa is a solid debut novel that offers a compelling, memorable read. The subject matter is as relevant now as I suspect it will prove in the years to come, since the #MeToo movement has only just begun.

View all my reviews

TGIF!

If you celebrated Thanksgiving, I hope you had a wonderful holiday. Today I come bearing news of another new release right on the heels of “Primer.” Luna, the second installment in LGBTQ vampire series MASTER, is officially back online. When I first published Luna back in 2014, it was embarrassingly riddled with typos, format issues, and the occasional grammatical error. Since I enlisted the services of Reedsy freelance editor Beth Dorward this time around, I’m confident the second edition of Luna is a superior reading experience. In addition to adding about 10K words of previously unpublished backstory regarding how rock star vampire Raiden honed his killing skills under the coercive influence of his bad-to-the-bone maker Justus, I’ve polished up the present-day interaction between Raiden and his hotheaded protégé Gabriel.

Bonus! I made a book trailer. Be forewarned: there are spoilers in the trailer relevant to both Luna and Crimson (MASTER, Book 1). If you’re unfamiliar with the story, I suggest reading Crimson first. Check out the Crimson book trailer for a peek at the plot. Furthermore, I invite you to indulge in a free copy of Crimson on Smashwords (epub format). Since I’m feeling extra giving, I decided to put Luna on sale for 50% off as well. The last day of this two-book Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale is 11/30—please don’t hesitate to download your free copy of Crimson and grab Luna while it’s 50% off. In return, if you’d be so kind as to leave me a rating and/or review to help spread the word about my books, I’d greatly appreciate it. 

In case you missed it, I released the “Primer” trailer yesterday. Near the end of this blog post, I’ve provided a brief synopsis of that story as well. And…surprise! “Primer” is free today on Amazon Kindle. I’m super-curious to know what readers think of this story, as it’s my first attempt at penning erotica featuring explicit sex scenes with both f/f and hetero pairings. My test readers went wild for it, but one of them was definitely biased, since I wrote the story per his commission req’s. 😉

Back to the main point of this post: Luna’s release! Scroll past the book description to view the trailer, read an excerpt, and find the purchase links. Don’t forget about that special Smashwords sale I’m hosting until 11/30. Happy perusing!


Cover art © George Cotronis

Luna (MASTER, Book 2)


Release Date: 11/27/2020.

Genres: LGBTQ/Vampire/Horror/Dark Fantasy/Paranormal/Contemporary

Description: A fledgling vampire needs a seasoned mentor to help him hone his homicidal instincts. The scent of blood is both an incentive for murder, and a potent aphrodisiac…opposites attract.

In the present, rock star Raiden and his reluctant sidekick, celebrity actor Gabriel Colin, encounter various challenges while attempting to conceal their criminal activities. Their shared proclivities provide fodder for the potential formation of a bond beyond necessity.

Stalking humans to satisfy Raiden’s need for blood is a means to an end—but who provided the blueprint for his methodology? Snapshots of the singer’s past reveal further details of his transformation; and once again bring him face to face with Justus, the master vampire who orchestrated his fiancée’s demise.

Amid two timelines, the tension between maker and creation intensifies, exploding into degenerate violence—and surprising passion.

Read an excerpt from Luna.

Purchase links:

Luna on Smashwords (50% off)

Luna on Kindle

Luna in paperback

Luna at your preferred online bookstore



Cover image © Kuzmin Pavel

“Primer”


Release Date: 11/26/2020

Genres: Bisexual Erotica/Romance/Contemporary/Humor

Book description: Carmen is a sassy late-bloomer beleaguered by an increasingly monotonous existence and unrelieved sexual frustration. During an impulsive night on the town, she encounters Stefan, a darkly handsome, lyrics-quoting tech nerd. Exploring a potential hookup with Stefan might provide the inspiration Carmen requires to stop obsessing over a year-old one-night stand with temptress Yumi…especially if this seductive new suitor can satisfy her filthiest roleplay fantasies.

Warning: The following short story contains explicit sexual content, including student/teacher fetish, spanking, and f/f. Reader discretion is highly advised.

Read “Primer” on Kindle


And finally…

With less than five weeks left until the birth of my third child, I’m doing my best to stay ahead of the curve and republish previous works (all the while writing new ones, such as the sequel to “Primer,” MASTER Books 4 & 5, and finishing unpublished works The Second Best Thing and Bare Possibilities). Wish me luck!

Cheers,
R. N. Jayne

“Primer” releases today on Kindle!

Free for Amazon Prime members.

I’m bustin’ out the Cook’s champagne (don’t judge—it’s going in the turkey my husband insists on preparing for Thanksgiving) to celebrate the release of my commissioned erotic short story “Primer.” Speaking of giving thanks, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to the folks who have added my stories on Goodreads, reviewed my works, or engaged in positive interactions with me since I restarted my writing career. I am thankful for your time and attention. Writing is one of my dearest loves, and sharing it with others brings me much satisfaction. That being said, I am also thankful for the health and safety of my family. As I prepare to introduce my baby-in-waiting to the world outside the womb, I am reminded that, despite the future’s daunting uncertainty, I can find reasons to smile. Reasons to savor moments of happiness. Reasons to keep growing, learning, and living. 

And now, I present to you…the book trailer for “Primer.” I’m rather pleased with my efforts. The biggest challenge I encountered was finding the appropriate background music within the limits of Windows Video Editor. Lo and behold, when I uploaded my trailer to YouTube, I realized I could have used one of the free music tracks the site offers. I’m curious—if you make book trailers, where do you find your soundtracks? I’m pretty anal about ensuring the timing of the music matches the flow of the images. It seems that effect may prove difficult to achieve if I assemble the trailer first and then match the royalty-free YouTube music with it upon uploading…or maybe there exists a key step that will simplify this. Anyway, I’d appreciate any advice on trailer-making. 

Scroll down past the description of “Primer” to view the trailer, or watch it on YouTube.


Cover image © Kuzmin Pavel

Release Date: 11/26/2020

Genres: Bisexual Erotica/Romance/Contemporary/Humor/Short Stories

Book description: Carmen is a sassy late-bloomer beleaguered by an increasingly monotonous existence and unrelieved sexual frustration. During an impulsive night on the town, she encounters Stefan, a darkly handsome, lyrics-quoting tech nerd. Exploring a potential hookup with Stefan might provide the inspiration Carmen requires to stop obsessing over a year-old one-night stand with temptress Yumi…especially if this seductive new suitor can satisfy her filthiest roleplay fantasies.

Warning: The following short story contains explicit sexual content, including student/teacher fetish, spanking, and f/f. Reader discretion is highly advised.

Read “Primer” on Kindle

In related news, I also made a book trailer for another new release: Luna, the second installment in my LGBTQ vampire series MASTER. You can read an excerpt on my blog. Luna releases on digital platforms worldwide and in paperback on Amazon 11/27/2020.

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, please have a safe and happy one. Cheers!

As I gear up to release Luna, the second book in my LGBTQ vampire series MASTER, I’m grateful to have the expertise of inestimable editor Beth Dorward and the artistic vision of cover artist George Cotronis. Getting my feet wet with indie publishing via Reesdy hasn’t been easy, but I’m ultimately glad I decided to go this route. Sink or swim, I’m here for the long haul.

Today, I come bearing fruit from Luna (release date 11/27/2020). The following brand-new excerpt follows singer-cum-vampire Raiden as he pursues his next meal in Nagoya, Japan. What he doesn’t realize: someone else is simultaneously stalking him.

Genres: LGBTQ/Horror/Dark Fantasy/Paranormal/Contemporary

Warning: Allusions to drug abuse and violence. Reader discretion is advised.

Cover art by George Cotronis


Continue reading “Excerpt from Luna (MASTER, Book 2)”

“Phelia”

by R. N. Jayne

 

I’m having that nightmare again—the one where I’m lost in the woods. Only I’m not on dry land: I’m underwater. The forest grows tentacles. These wooden jellyfish have arms like boughs. They reach for me. Tangle my hair. Pull me down.

Drowning, I choke on my love’s name. 

***

Phelia’s trying on a headpiece for her dungeon mistress Halloween costume. She fiddles with the formidable crown of spikes. I wonder who she wants to repel with this getup. Maybe she wants to people to think she’s impenetrable.

It’s been seven months since my passing. I should be jealous, thinking of her in potential romantic relationships with others. I’m not. It’s only natural for her to move on. I’ve watched her grieve, curled up in the quilt I made last spring, rubbing the fading hand-embroidered squares against her lips like she could absorb them into the fabric of her skin. I’ve leaned in to kiss her, to be rebuffed by her defensive self-hug against an attack of goosebumps. She was reacting to the sudden drop of temperature my presence incurs. Perhaps.

I wish I could slip into Phelia’s music apps—I’d send her a playlist. This is what I’m feeling for you right now, I’d tell her. Nothing’s changed; except I miss you more. I don’t need a body to hold you. I’m gone, but I can’t leave.

She considers a matching necklace: choker-style, smaller spikes; but it will truncate her slim, strong dancer’s neck. I see the one I want her to try. It’s a deep orange pendant flecked with burgundy and cat’s eye yellow. I imagine it against her bronzed skin.

“Choose that one,” I murmur into her ear. “It will bring out your eyes.” Continue reading “Halloween Short Story: “Phelia””

ApartmentApartment by Teddy Wayne 
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 Stars, rounded up.

This page-turning character study, ode to loneliness, and quasi-exploration of toxic masculinity’s detrimental effect on guy-guy platonic relationships makes for a fascinating read. Author Teddy Wayne has an aptitude for displaying painful truths and sharp observations with candid, witty prose. Of all his novels, this is my favorite to-date.

I’ve often wondered at the inscrutable bonds shared between men, especially straight men. In American society, there seems to be a code of conduct that I, as a woman, have never been taught. It mystified me when my late-teens guy friends would sit one seat apart (with a “buffer seat” in between) at the movies. When I asked them why they did that, they looked at me like I was nuts.

“Because,” one of them told me, “we’re guys.”

“Yeah,” the other chimed in. “We need our space.”

“Is this, like, a stretching-out-your-legs thing?” I asked.

They both shook their heads.

“It’s just a guy thing,” the first one reiterated. “You wouldn’t understand.”

He’s right—I didn’t. (And still don’t.) But in Apartment, Teddy Wayne’s approach to the often-unspoken intricacies found in certain male-male friendships gave me a bit more insight. It’s the fear of being vulnerable and/or emasculated that keeps the main characters—awkward, introspective Unnamed Narrator, and laconic, unworldly Billy—from building upon their intimacy in way that doesn’t feel like a power exchange.

Unnamed Narrator is that quintessential outskirts-guy who hasn’t opened himself up to close friendships or romantic relationships due to serious daddy issues and a weak sense of self. He’s also somewhat spoon-fed, since the same father who abandoned him in young adulthood is now responsible for footing the bill on his rent-controlled New York apartment. He’s aware of his privilege—even experiences guilt because of it—but also resents thinking of himself as privileged. All the while, he’s trying to make his mark in the collegiate writing world (which he assumes to be little more than a pipe dream, considering the lackluster reception his stories receive).

In a crucial moment of enduring scathing literary criticism from his professor and classmates, the narrator feels particularly insecure and humiliated; then a fellow student, the effortlessly charismatic, blue-collar Billy, comes to his defense. Billy’s casually offered snippet of praise supplies the narrator with much-desired hope for his authorial future. An affinity between the two aspiring writers—lubricated by large quantities of alcohol, shared paternal abandonment issues, and similar social detachment strategies—rapidly develops. Unnamed Narrator impulsively offers Billy to become his rent-free roommate with the condition that Billy cleans once a week and pays for some groceries.

At first, the arrangement seems solid: the roommates have fun hanging out while maintaining productivity in their writing. Billy is the more talented of the two, but he doesn’t flaunt his superior craftsmanship, which increases Unnamed Narrator’s respect and admiration for him. Their dynamic is a classic case of hero worship mixed with the giddiness of a new friendship’s “honeymoon period.”

Time passes and their relationship deepens; however, the narrator increasingly offers Billy financial assistance, and the imbalance that was present from the inception of their acquaintance grows outwardly problematic. Their fundamental differences in personality, world view, and upbringing become clearer, until the slow-building conflict between them gives way to a quietly devastating conclusion.

Apartment is one of those sleeper hits you might think to underestimate before realizing it hooked its claws into your heart from the start. It’s honest and observant in a way that can wound the reader, because it’s easy to imagine this scenario unfolding in real life (and variations of it already have). People will sometimes resort to desperate measures to feel less lonely; and the consequences of these actions can ultimately influence future relationships—not only with others, but with oneself.

View all my reviews

Free photo 625529 © Pavalache Stelian - Dreamstime.com

“Follower”

Author’s Note: the following short story is a 500-word flash fiction. It contains allusions to violence and sensitive thematic material related to hate groups. Reader discretion is advised.


Daniel always did what he was told: Brahms told him to follow that liberal woman home, so he didn’t protest. When she pulled out her pepper spray, he was already goggle-clad to protect his eyes from the burst of ocular irritant. If Brahms had instructed him to speak, he would’ve asked the target not to bother fumbling for her phone—he’d removed the SIM card and battery during her yoga class. (She habitually left her car unlocked.)

He would’ve told her not to waste her breath on hollering for help, because her next-door neighbors were enjoying their annual Fall Colors Tour and wouldn’t return until Sunday evening; and the widow who lived behind her, Mrs. Doussett, regularly bullied her on social media under an anonymous account that sported a Goldendoodle puppy profile pic. The targeted woman had no clue that her secret troll was a card-carrying Neo-Nazi grandma who would love nothing more than to watch the leftist feminist’s tattooed neck snap, entrapped within a self-inflicted hangman’s noose.

It’s not that Daniel hated the target, but he hated the type of person she symbolized: a pro-choice, equality-for-all, women-run-the-earth, freedom-grubber. He had no desire to kill her—besides, Brahms didn’t want to use his cop connections for any business that didn’t involve growing his radical conservative fanbase. She just needed to be scared silent. Stifled into submission. Snuffed out, like a trick candle on a birthday cake that’s been doused in water to keep it from relighting. Daniel could do it: he didn’t mind roughing up a woman, as long as she couldn’t positively identify him in a lineup. Keeping the trust of Brahms and the brotherhood trumped a personal reluctance to dirty his hands.

The damn thing of it was, he hadn’t expected her to be so resourceful. She didn’t carry a gun, but she kept a paring knife taped under the doormat—and she reached it before Daniel could reach her. He had a utility blade of his own, but he struggled to unsheathe it after she sliced his Achilles tendon; then it was impossible to retrieve his weapon after she stole it from his back pocket and slashed his throat with it. He hadn’t expected to exsanguinate on her welcome mat (or lament, in his last moments, about how he shouldn’t have taken Brahms’ reassurances that she’d be an easy target).

To Daniel’s great surprise, she tried to save his life. Ripped off her shirt and pressed it against his wound to slow the bleeding—attempted to dial 911. Her cellphone was useless: he’d done a bang-up job of disabling it. When he attempted to communicate that his own was in the glove box of his truck, he couldn’t speak, because his vocal cords were cut. In a curious act of compassion, she removed his goggles so he could watch the moon playing cat-and-mouse with the wily clouds.

The stars prepped a spotlight on Daniel as he followed Death, a superior leader, to his new home down below.


“Follower” © R. N. Jayne 2020

All Rights Reserved.

Featured image: Eclipse |625529| © Pavalache Stelian – Dreamstime.com


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