SILK & SCANDAL, The Silk Series book 1, is now available! #newrelease @DecadentTEASE

Hey peeps!

So, Lucy has very generously allowed me to post this week because I have a new release. Isn’t that lovely of her??

So, peeps, say hello to SILK & SCANDAL!
 
 
Silk & Scandal by Cassandra Dean book 1 in the Silk Series Decadent Publishing

 
Eight years ago…
Thomas Cartwright and Lady Nicola Fitzgibbons were friends. Over the wall separating their homes, Thomas and Nicola talked of all things – his studies to become a barrister, her frustrations with a lady’s limitations.

All things end.
When her diplomat father gains a post in Hong Kong, Nicola must follow. Bored and alone, she falls into scandal. Mired in his studies of the law and aware of the need for circumspection, Thomas feels forced to sever their ties.

But now Lady Nicola is back…and she won’t let him ignore her.
 
Decadent Publishing Tease Captivate Allure Entice

Early Victorian Romance
$2.99 Decadent Publishing | ISBN 9781613335185
Amazon.com | Smashwords | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble

 
 

~ Excerpt ~

Thomas took a breath, knowing he had to phrase this just right. “Lady Nicola, while I am cognizant of the honor you do me, I don’t believe it appropriate you visit me in my chambers. Shall we arrange a time that suits us both, perhaps for a walk about the park?”

China-blue eyes laughed at him. “Oh, pish. Don’t be such a fuddy-duddy, Thomas. We never stood on such ceremony before.”

Didn’t she know he couldn’t be her friend? Not since their ways had parted and she’d become who she was, while he had become who he was. “Our situations were different before, Lady Nicola. It is not appropriate for a lady of your standing to visit a bachelor in his chambers.”

“Who is going to comment? No one knows I’m here.”

Was she serious? “My clerk knows you’re here. By now, the senior clerk undoubtedly knows you’re here. Before ten minutes have passed, everyone in the building will know you’re here.”

“Well, then, they are a bunch of shocking gossips, and I should not like to know them any better.” She folded her hands in her lap.

“Not the point, Nicola.” Bloody hell, but she drove him mental. She tore at him and picked at him until he didn’t know where he stood. Always she’d done this, taken what little sense he had and driven it right out of his brain.

“I should say it is the point. Our visit would not distress you, if it weren’t for them.”

“It should distress me in any case. You should not be here.”

“Do you know what I’m hearing, Thomas? I’m hearing a vast amount of negativity, when you’ve not even greeted me properly. Why, you’ve yet to kiss my hand, or perhaps give me a h-hug.” Chin up, she looked at him with eyes brimming, and he saw right through her facade. She was truly hurt he’d not yet greeted her as he should.

Helpless, he stared at her. How did she do it? How did she turn his brain to mush? She’d been here less than five minutes, and already she had drawn him back in.

But she was right. He hadn’t greeted her as he should.

Standing, he went to her and drew her to her feet. “Welcome home, Nic.” And he hugged her.

 
I hope you guys enjoy Thomas and Nicola’s story 😀
– Cassandra
 
 

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Have you been watching…my blog

Have you been watching...with Cassandra Dean

Hey peeps,

So, I’ve got this nifty little blog on my author website and I’ve been toying for the longest time with establishing regular features. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but me and regular? We’re sort of passing acquaintances 🙂

Anyhoo, I’ve been toying and I’ve come up with a bit of a corker concept. Introducing…Have you been watching…

Have you been watching… is a feature that I thought I might actually stick to. I do enjoy watching a bit of telly and so I thought, why not blog about this? Quite a few of my friends ask for my recommendations on tv and the like, so I thought I’d share it with the general populace at large.

You’re welcome, populace.

Every Thursday, I feature a TV or web series and detail what I find noteworthy about it. It’s a bit of fun and frivolity, and I hope you peeps enjoy it as much as I do!

The below are the shows I’ve featured thus far. If anyone has any requests, I’m more than willing to take a look at them 🙂

– Cassandra
 

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

H+ The Digital Series

Spartacus: War of the Damned

Utopia

Husbands

The Guild

Being Human (UK)

Vaginal Fantasy Book Club

Game of Thrones

In The Flesh – unfortunately, no pic, peeps 😦

FarScape

Vikings
 
 
 

Google is scuttling Reader? NOOOOOOOOO!

Google Reader is no more
So devestational, peeps. Google have declared as of 1 July, Google Reader is no more. To this I cry to the heavens, why? O why have you forsaken me, Google? Don’t you know I love me some Google Reader? I check thee every day, and twice on Sundays. But alas, my pleas go unheeded and so I have to find a new blog reader.

BloglinesI’ve tried several. Bloglines was great but it had this annoying habit of taking up half the screen with a grey banner at the bottom and all their affiliates listed top to bottom instead of across the screen. As I like to scan my blogs as I’m doing other things, this was molto annoying.

Tried The Old Reader next. The Old readerI’m 35,001 in the queue for having my blog roll uploaded. Yeah. I reckon people, they have jumped on that thing called a ‘band wagon’.

feedlyNext up, feedly. I think it’s love. I’m still getting used to the layout and the functions, but feedly takes your Google Reader account and loads it into their system. What’s even better is once Reader is shut down, it will continue to work, saving the hassle of transferring over the blog roll to another reader.

Huzzah! I think we have a winner!

Farewell, Google Reader. I will miss you.

The Big Let Down

Hey peeps. Long time, no see. My apologies for my slackness, apparently the beginning of the new year decided to kick me about the bum a bit. I’ve also finished two big projects, as well as doing stuff in The Other Life, so I’ve needed a bit of a breather. It’s been…well, it’s all been kind of a let down.

You know what I mean? You’ve finally finished your big project. You’ve worked on it and loved it and you’ve spent every waking minute thinking about it. You’ve been sat in front of a computer feverishly typing away, adhering to a deadline you may have established or your publisher has established or you are going away on that holiday to Thailand and you really, really have to get it finished…

Any-the-hoo, you’ve been working away like a busy little bee…and then it’s finished…over…and you wonder what on earth you’re supposed to do now.

You feel like you should be working but there’s nothing to work on. You feel like you should be starting the new story but you are too burned out. There is a constant feeling the other shoe is about to drop and you wonder what is wrong with you that you feel this way.

I felt like this after finishing those projects I’ve mentioned. Every weekend I worked, in the evenings, at odd moments during the day. I spent my downtime thinking about the projects and was generally consumed by the story for a few weeks. Then, I handed it in to my editor…and I was at a complete loss.

I felt like I needed to do…something. Didn’t I have a manuscript I needed to work on? Was I supposed to be editing? There was an extra scene I needed to write, surely. I should be in front of my computer, tap-tap-tapping away at the keyboard…but, of course, I had no manuscript to work on. I had finished. Finished, I tells ya!

So how did I combat it? I talked about how I felt ‘let down’ with my friends. I discussed it with my Lucy. I tried to start the next project. It’s a strange feeling when you think you should be doing something even though you know you have finished. Your head is saying one thing and your heart (for want of a better term) is saying another and you just can’t reconcile the two. You tell yourself to have a break but you’ve been working so hard for so long, surely you should be continuing with that?

Next question – how successful was I? Well, I’m still trying to discover that. I think the only way to combat the big let down is to allow time to pass. I think you need time to adjust back to normal, to find your creativity again and be able to shift into the new story. There’s no point writing a historical romp through Romania in 1845 when you’re still mired in an operatic space drama set in Galactic Space Zone Trifixidoria, Quadrant Alpha-Numrea G7.

I guess what I’m saying is it’s okay to do nothing. To relax. Wind down. Learn how to be calm and collection again. Have a glass of wine, eat that chocolate, enjoy a walk along the beach. You need time to recharge so you can tackle the next big project and go through the whole process again!

Cassandra and Lucy – F4Es!

Hi peeps! Today, I thought I’d enlighten you all as to exactly why Lucy and I are F4Es and why such a phrase is so important to us.

It all started many moons ago, when Lucy was off to Los Angeles for a screenwriting conference featuring Joss Whedon(!!!) I know, right? So jealous. Anyhoo, Lucy was off to America and so I asked if she wouldn’t mind if I purchased a few things through Amazon and have them delivered to her hotel for her to then bring home to me in her luggage. I also asked that if she happened to wander into a store like Walmart, she have a bit of squiz at some DVDs and books I wanted (I STILL haven’t been to a Walmart, even though I spent five weeks in New York on holidays. So disappointing I couldn’t make it to one. Oh well,  maybe next time!)

So, I wrote her a note with the details of what I wanted/ordered and then put at the bottom “If you do this for me, I’ll be your Friend For Ever and Ever.” Well, we just jumped on this like gangbusters. Everything from that moment on was “If you do this, friend for ever”, “if you do that, friend for ever” until it became abbreviated to F4E! Cool story, hey?

Total side note, back when Lucy was at the screenwriting conference in LA, I was walking down the street in Adelaide on my lunch break from The Day Job. I get a text message. It’s Lucy, telling me SHE JUST SAW JOSS WHEDON AND OHMYGOD HE WAS BRILLIANT AND HE’S CURRENTLY STANDING IN THE HALL BEING MOBBED BY PEOPLE AND I COULD TOTALLY TALK TO HIM IF I WANTED!!!

I replied with “Why are you telling me this? I’m walking down a street in Adelaide. It’s like you want me to be sad.”

Lucy’s response? OMG, AND HE WAS INTRODUCED BY YOUR MASSIVE ACTOR CRUSH NATHAN FILLION AND HUBBY COULD HAVE PEED NEXT TO NATHAN IF HE JUST CASUALLY FOLLOWED HIM TO THE BATHROOM*!

My response? “I hate you.”

So there you have it, peeps! The story of how Lucy and I became F4Es!

Do you have any tales of nicknames with your friends? Have you silly in-jokes? Has your friend bragged about something so awesome that you wanted to stab them in the eye, just a little bit??

– Cassandra

* Lucy’s hubby was not being creepy here, or stalkery. Promise.

Crashing Lucy’s workshop

Hi peeps,

Well, already we’re messing with our schedule! It’s taken less time than I thought 😉 This week, I’ll be posting instead of Lucy and I thought I’d talk a little something about The Thursday Night I Crashed Lucy’s Workshop.

On a Thursday every fortnight for five fortnights, Lucy is holding a workshop on The Craft of Writing a the SA Writers Centre. Last Thursday, I totally rode her coattails all the way into the Centre, laughing manically all the way. Well, maybe not manically, but there was definitely a chortle or two.

That fortnight, the class were discussing Dialogue. Lucy had some great things to say on the subject, starting with her breakdown of what influences dialogue:

GOALS, MOTIVATION, CONFLICT will influence everything you write, and in this case, will influence what dialogue you choose for your characters. The plot should always be moving forward, and your dialogue should reflect this.

leads to

SENSES using the senses will help you ‘show’ rather than tell. The example Lucy gave: Rather than using description to alert a reader to a sound, such as a bell, have your character say “Did you hear that?”

leads to

PUNCTUATION will change how a reader interprets your intent. Lucy used the example of the word ‘yes’. Yes. is different from Yes… from Yes? from Yes!

leads to

EMOTION will influence everything, but the other steps will help you show rather than tell the emotion your characters are feeling.

Lucy also discussed the use of tags and adverbs in regards to dialogue. Myself, I try to avoid tags whenever possible. Dialogue is always stronger if an action is attached rather than a tag, ie,

“You’re a dick,” she said angrily.

vs

“You’re a dick.” Shaking off his hand, she crossed her arms and glared.

There were lots of other bits and bobs, including the portrayal of accents, the use of exposition and a description/dialogue ratio. Twas definitely a fun night out and, just quietly, I’m looking to crash the next workshop too! Don’t tell Lucy, ‘kay? 😉

– Cassandra

All Skewif

Hi peeps,

Well, I just feel all over the place at the moment. It’s a Monday and I’m posting. Next thing I know, it’ll be raining cats, dogs, squirrles, there’ll be anarchy and some kind of cheese…

Hmm. Where was I?

Oh yeah. Weird, posting on a Monday. Also, last week Lucy and I couldn’t catch up on our regularly scheduled coffee fun times due to Reasons. Oh Reasons, you do like to mess with me.

So what have I been up to without *sniff* Lucy’s company? Well, I’ve been joining Writers Associations! Left, right and centre! Well, maybe not left, right and centre. Maybe not even left and right. Possibly centre. Anyhoo, I thought I’d list them for you lovely peeps, in case you might like to investigate and perhaps join yourselves:

SA WRITERS CENTRE

ROMANCE WRITERS OF NEW ZEALAND

And, just for spits and giggles, I’m already a member of:

ROMANCE WRITERS OF AUSTRALIA

ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA

AUSTRALIAN ROMANCE READERS ASSOCIATION

So that’s about it from me, peeps! I’m sorry it’s a bit light on this post, but I blame my Lucy-less week. This week, we’re looking to get together at SA Writers Centre and chat and stuff and some good shizz will come out of it, I’m certain!

Until next time

– Cassandra

Pub culture

So, Lucy and I have a Super! Secret! Project! that we’re working on and we’ve been discussing bits and pieces of it. One such bit was discussed at coffee today, and that’s the Local Pub culture that seems to permeate English boroughs and towns.

Lucy was telling me about the Christian O’Connell breakfast show airing on Absolute Radio in the UK. Thanks the wonders of the internets, we can download a podcast here in dear old Oz. They were chatting about hanging out at their local, and Lucy realised this was something that seemed entrenched in English culture.

A lot of social activity revolves around the pub. Perhaps it’s a call back to the days of the village market, and the social interaction the trip to a common meeting place signified. Anyhoo, it seems ‘the local’ is the place to be, where you go after a hard day’s work to hang out with your mates and watch the football with a pint or two.

Further to this, it seems the pub is segregated into various bits. The older ladies might sit in one corner, the young blokes in another, the older gents at the bar and the young lasses on the tiny dance floor.

This is such an interesting phenomenan, and one that warrants further investigation…Anyone want finance a trip to England for me so I can, ahem, study this?? ;p

– Cassandra

Ball dropping

Hi peeps,

Well, this is me. Dropping the ball.

I had grandiose plans of posting a wonderful blog entry about burlesques and cabarets and super fun things like that. Sounds nifty, no? This post was also supposed to go live last Thursday.

…It’s now Monday.

I have no excuse, peeps, apart from Reasons. Damn those dasterdly Reasons, they will sneak up on one.

So, in lieu of a fantastic, you beaut post that should have gone up on Thursday (gah), I shall leave you with an exclusive excerpt from Rough Diamond and my apologies. Hearfelt apologies, with sprinkles and tiny, blindingly brilliant stars.

– Cassandra

Rough Diamond by Cassandra Dean Decadent Publishing Western Escape

Owner of the Diamond Saloon and Theater, Alice Reynolds is astounded when a fancy Englishman offers to buy her saloon. She won’t be selling her saloon to anyone, let alone a man with a pretty, empty-headed grin…but then, she reckons that grin just might be a lie, and a man of intelligence and cunning resides beneath.

Rupert Llewellyn has another purpose for offering to buy the pretty widow’s saloon—the coal buried deep in land she owns. However, he never banked on her knowing eyes making him weak at the knees, or how his deception would burn upon his soul.

Each determined to outwit the other, they tantalize and tease until passion explodes. But can their desire bridge the lies told and trust broken?

~ EXCERPT ~

Grinning, Alice basked in the wake of a successful Spectacular. She was so damn proud of herself she could burst, and the success of the night proved once again she always panicked for no reason. Such feeling was a distant memory now, drunk as she was on all that had passed between that moment and this.

Everything in the Spectacular had gone exactly as expected, each act more successful than the last. Pearl had sounded magnificent, and the girls had been at turns luminous and cheeky, seducing the crowd with practiced ease. Even Marie, for all her tantrums, had wooed them all with her snake dance. The Amazing Waldino had, perhaps, not been as amazing as she’d hoped, but thankfully the Tranmere Twins and their death-defying antics had remedied any lull the Kind-of-Average Waldino had caused.

Residual excitement thrummed in her blood, leaping across her skin and making her want a million things. She could plan a hundred Spectaculars—no, a thousand—and each would be more magnificent than the last.

Rubbing her arms, she exhaled in an attempt to force calm. She suffered this in the aftermath of each Spectacular. Such feelings were impractical and unrealistic, but with triumph flowing through her, she was certain she could take it all on and more. The feeling would pass, though. It always did.

“The Spectacular was magnificent.”

Her breath seized. The presence of another where before she’d been alone made her heart slam against her ribs. Whirling around, she prepared to lambaste whoever had disturbed her. Everyone in her employ knew to leave her be after a performance.

Framed by the drapes of the wings, hands in his pockets, and waistcoat unbuttoned, stood Llewellyn.

A war of emotion erupted inside her. Annoyance, desire, residual excitement…but mostly annoyance. She hated being disturbed, and for all she had thought to seek him out, she wanted to do so when she was ready. “The theater is closed. You shouldn’t be here.”

The corner of his mouth lifted. “No, I shouldn’t.”

She frowned. There was something wrong about him. He was too…still. “Then what are you doing here?”

“I had to congratulate you.” Dark eyes regarded her steadily. “The Spectacular was brilliant.”

Unsure of this new Llewellyn, she remained motionless. “Thank you?”

“No, truly. You deserve the highest of commendations. I could never have imagined such in the middle of nowhere.” He didn’t move, or fidget, or any of the hundred other ticks he’d always displayed in her presence.

“No. No one else offers the service I provide.”

“And thus you possess a monopoly.” He smiled, a slow, easy smile that he hadn’t shown before. “Well done, indeed.” His gaze flicked over her, and when his eyes returned to hers, a fire smoldered in their depths. “I like your dress.”

Beneath her folded arms, her heart stuttered and the muscles in her stomach tensed. Finally, it clicked what was different about him.

Everything.

His words, his stance, the way he spoke, all was different. His waistcoat was unbuttoned, his shirt white against the forest-green silk, and though still pomaded, his hair had come askew, a dark curl lying against his forehead.

Everything was different. But most notably, above and beyond any surface change, he no longer played the fool.

Triumph surged through her, and she grasped that emotion over the other, more unsettling ones his appearance caused. She knew she had been right. “You seem to have gained an alarming amount of intelligence, Mr. Llewellyn.”

His smile widened.

She lifted a brow. “Care to explain the pretense?”

Shaking his head, he maintained his smile. “Not at this juncture.”

“Will you?”

“Perhaps.”

The intensity with which he looked at her affected her something terrible. She felt hot, and flustered, and she didn’t know what she wanted. The overwhelming excitement at the conclusion of a Spectacular returned, but now it had a focus. Him.

This was getting her nowhere fast. Annoyance marched through her, at his caginess, at her own damn fascination with a man intent on lying to her. “So, if you aren’t a fool, what are you?”

Removing his hands from his pockets, he moved toward her. Gaze steady on hers, he stopped close, so close she could see his eyes weren’t truly black but instead the darkest of browns. She froze, unsure what would happen but desperate to discover. He didn’t touch, did nothing more inappropriate than stand too close.

Then, he leaned down, and his lips brushed her ear. “Fascinated.”