I’ve worked for Black Velvet Seductions Publishing for about two years now …
WOW, what a rush!!!
The anthologies are always my favorites, at least when it comes to promoting. I LOVE seeing what everyone else wrote, upon being handed a basic theme. What fascinates me most is that every author has his or her niche. Some of us are aces at historical fiction. Some of us rock at sweet romance, and others are masters/mistresses of spicier tales.
And a small handful of us reign as the Lords and Ladies of Literary Darkness. (And yeah, that’s me. Just in case you missed the memo … DUH!!!)
What I love about the BVS anthologies is that most of us inevitably have to stray out of our respective comfort zones. Sure, I was BORN for Dark Desire … but I damn sure wasn’t born for Cowboy Desire, I’ll tell you that! I almost bailed on the project, but I finally came through at the last minute. Stepping out of my ‘safe space’ forced me onto a higher plane of creativity, and the experience was nothing but good for me.
And that’s what makes the anthologies so very, very special. There are always a handful of authors whose work easily fits the topic matter at hand—and there are also a lot whose work doesn’t. They have to step up; they have to expand their horizons. And the BVS crew does exactly that, every single time. Dark Desire features a few authors who eat dark fiction for breakfast …
It also feature a fair few who generally don’t
The beauty of the anthology is this: you can’t tell the difference. It reads smoothly from beginning to end. You can’t tell the authors who habitually write ghoulish fare from those who do not. Everyone stepped up. Everyone pulled out all the creative stops, and got the job done. That’s what authors do: they write, and they accept the oddball assignment as a challenge rather than an insurmountable obstacle.
And thus it is my honor, ladies and gentleman, to present to you: DARK DESIRE, from Black Velvet Seductions!!! Meet the authors, and their absolutely STELLAR work!
Blood of the Ocean by Alice Renaud
With Mermaids Marry in Green, Alice Renaud gave us a glimpse of the darker side of her brilliant Sea of Love series.
That eerie thread continues in Blood of the Ocean, pulling back the curtain on the secret world hidden just beyond humanity’s gaze. Just around the corner—barely hidden from sight—one just might encounter a mermaid.
Or, if one is terribly unlucky …
Perhaps even a vampire.
Blood of the Ocean proves, once and for all, that Alice Renaud’s fanciful, mystical world is expansive enough to handle even nightmarish fare, adding a new element of fear to her already-gripping mythos.
Wonder Town Station, by Alan Souter
Was there ever any doubt that Alan Souter is the king of historical fiction? Particularly when it comes to tales about the American West, set during the dawn of the twentieth century.
In Wonder Town Station, one can almost hear the buzzing of cicadas, and envision the dry tumbleweeds rolling down half-abandoned, dusty streets. Set during a period of both social tension and economic malaise, one gets the sense that something awful is about to happen from the very first page.
And it does.
In the tradition of A Thread of Sand and Kilgore’s Colt, Alan Souter brings the past to gripping, pulse-pounding life like no one else. His ability to create massive suspense in very short order makes him a master storyteller …
And Wonder Town Station is a worthy addition to his body of work.
Grow Where You’re Planted by Nancy Golinski
What if the world really is full of dead people, just out of sight, but quite tangible in their influence? What if only a select few can see them, let alone communicate with them?
In Grow Where You’re Planted, Nancy Golinski unveils a disturbing vision of the world, one in which the line between the Living and the Dead is less concrete than most of us would like to believe. In the tradition of The Wyoming Way, the romance is sweet, tamer than most literary offerings …
But that doesn’t mean the story still doesn’t have a set of claws.
Seen and Unseen by Anne Krist
Anne’s story Life Saving was my absolute favorite in the Mystic Desire anthology. Not that all the other stories in that volume weren’t fantastic, mind you, but there was just something about that one that struck a nerve with me.
That ‘something’ struck again with Seen and Unseen.
While this is ostensibly a detective story, there’s a supernatural element to it that pulls it out of reality and makes it feel more than a little dream-like. Of all the tales in Dark Desire, this is the one about which I hesitate to say to too much. Spoilers, you know?
But read it. It has a distinct Nightmare on Elm Street vibe to it, albeit far less violent. The story leaves the reader with a lingering sense of un-reality, like the world has faded into the background for a while.
Linked by S.K. White
Linked is such a surreal, brooding tale that I’m reminded on the haunting, epic film Cemetery Man. Why have Lily and Colin found themselves together, alone in an abandoned cabin? Why does the cabin mysteriously provide all their needs? What happened to the outside world?
Is this the afterlife? Or is it something else entirely, something that exists outside of the known world—or even the known universe?
Fans of Ray Bradbury’s writing –or television’s The Twlight Zone— will LOVE this story! It’s a bizarre, psychedelic tale, written in the rich tradition of old-school dark fantasy.
The Ritual by Virginia Wallace (Review by BVS author Suzanne Smith)
Romy and Bert are psychopaths in every sense of the word.
But, in spite of who they are, Virginia Wallace has written their story in such a way that the reader can’t help but to fall in love with them. While there’s plenty of action, dark humor, and gore in this work, what makes The Ritual different, I should say better, than all of the blood and guts love stories I’ve read, is the connection between Romy and Bert.
They understand each other. That understanding inspires a loyalty and commitment that is indeed admirable. In addition to the depth and complexity of the main characters, the imagery in this story was fantastic. Without giving away too much of the story, I’ll just tell you that fire, guns, and stolen vehicles all play a part in Romy and Bert’s perverse world. If you like your romance reads tame and conventional, this isn’t the story for you.
But, if you’re looking for a passionate, bizarre, no holds barred, love at first sight romance, you’ll simply adore The Ritual. Five stars.
The Substitute by F. Burn
Anyone who’s read Secret Love knows that F. Burn doesn’t shy away from bold subject matter. And while vampires are comfortably tried-and-true fare, it’s the way The Substitute is written that makes it truly shine.
Is this a contemporary soap opera with vampires? Or is it a vampire tale in a contemporary setting? Somehow, the story feels strangely real despite the supernatural elements. One usually expects a vampire tale to be set at night, in dreary settings.
That this one set in a brightly-lit classroom makes it more than a little unnerving; I was reminded of the ghastly horror film Midsommer, which is set entirely in broad daylight. Taking monsters out of their dark hidey-holes seems to somehow make them even more frightening.
I have long admired F. Burn for her ability to dig into the dark recesses of the human mind, to delve into those thoughts that we all think … but we don’t know we’re thinking them. Or maybe we just can’t admit that we’re thinking them.
Her work truly is the epitome of Stephen King’s iconic quote: ‘As writer, you try to listen to what others aren’t saying, and write about that silence.’
Electrifying by Gibby Campbell
Electrifying begins on the most depressing note possible: fired from her job just before catching her boyfriend in bed with another woman, Alex is having a really, really bad day!
It should be all uphill from there, right?
Maybe … or maybe not. The chaos of Alex’s life is rivaled only by her peculiar sexual appetites, appetites that a stubborn cowboy named Josh Hanson just may or may not be willing to fulfill.
In the tradition of Paging Dr. Turov, Gibby Campbell once again merges mundane life with the sexually bizarre, making for a very intriguing read! Fans of erotic romance will LOVE this one!
Beginning Forever by Virginia Wallace (Review by BVS author Callie Carmen)
Beginning Forever was exciting and full of passion.
I loved learning how Dave and Jillian met up again after so many years. This first person read had me engrossed in the overwhelming emotions that flooded through Jillian. You just knew these two were destined to be together because her desire and arousal for him was so strong. What Jillian wanted Jillian got or else … Definitely a five star ‘must read’.
Ryker’s Destiny by Zia Westfield
Okay, this one really threw me for a loop!
Ryker’s Destiny is epic, high fantasy at its absolute BEST!!! Shapeshifters, fae, witches, and tons of references to the old Norse gods … This story could be made into a role-playing game. It’s Conan the Barbarian meets Dungeons and Dragons, with a dash of The Lord of the Rings thrown in.
What makes Ryker’s Destiny truly noteworthy is this: the over-top, mythical adventure isn’t so mythical that the romance gets lost. The love story between Ryker and Lana is truly heart-melting
This … is romantic adventure done RIGHT!!!
The Wolf of Varg Island by Estelle Pettersen
The trick with writing werewolves, of course, is that the setting of one’s tale must be very original. Because werewolves, by default, are not at all original. If you don’t believe me, check out any paranormal romance reading group.
Estelle Pettersen obviously knows this.
The Worf of Varg Island is set in northern Europe, a rather exotic location to most western readers. One can almost feel the chill in the air, and sense the danger looming over Varg Island like a black cloud.
While this story isn’t nearly as erotic as Lessons on Seduction, it is spicier than the sweet, heart-melting Elizabeth. The sexual content falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, which allows the fantasy elements to really shine.
I must say, this short really surprised me. I’ve never seen Estelle write paranormal fiction before; I thought I had her pegged as a contemporary romance author.
Estelle Pettersen is living proof that a solid writer can write just about anything. As evidence, I present to you: The Wolf of Varg Island.
And that, friends and rock stars, is my synopsis of Dark Desire! I cannot even begin to tell you how proud I am to be part of such an eclectic cast of authors. Our publisher Richard Savage has assembled an amazing pool of talent, and done a fabulous job of coordinating our writing and marketing efforts.
I’m just grateful to have a place at the table …
‘Cuz it’s a GREAT damn table!!!
TO ORDER DARK DESIRE: https://amzn.to/3SMFfY7