I’m happy to announce that Elizabeth Coldwell is visiting my blog today! She’s here to tell us a little bit about herself and her new release, The Pride of Amsterdam: book 1 of the Lionhearts series.
Please join me in welcoming Elizabeth and feel free to leave a comment or two. 🙂
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always written, ever since I was at school – my parents have the first book I ever wrote, when I was ten, tucked away in a drawer at their home. I always liked reading and telling stories. I started writing professionally when I was working on Forum magazine, and contributed a few erotic stories to the regular fiction slot. My first published novel came out 22 years ago, which is pretty scary to think about now.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
I love getting to be other people and living their lifestyles, whether that’s something as glamorous as a rock singer or film actor or as mundane as the boy who works in the post room… And I really enjoy writing from a man’s point of view, which is one of the reasons I like the m/m genre so much.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes, even though I don’t think I’ve done anything to consciously develop it. My prose style has been described as ‘elegant’ in more than one review. The best one called it ‘elegantly debauched’…
What do you find is the hardest thing about being an author?
Edits ;). Seriously, the need to accept that you’re playing a long game. Apart from the tiny handful of writers who have a huge bestseller straight away, it can take quite a while to really see the rewards of your work, and people who think they’re going to get rich quick by writing are going to be disappointed. But on the other hand you do have the less tangible but very satisfying benefits of positive reviews and the knowledge that readers really enjoy and appreciate what you write.
What inspired you to write The Pride of Amsterdam?
I never fail to be inspired when I’m in Amsterdam. There’s a vibe about the city that has provided lots of story ideas for me. This book was inspired by a plaque I saw commemorating an old brewery. It featured an image that was half-man, half-lion, and it set me thinking. I came up with the story of Arjan, a lion shifter who discovers his chosen mate, Kees, is human. At the same time, unexplained deaths start occurring to various members of his pride and he realizes his own existence, and Kees’, is under threat.
Was there anything you found particularly challenging when writing The Pride of Amsterdam?
I needed to get the details of living in a foreign city right – if you make elementary mistakes like having a character flag down a taxi in the street when that’s not something people are able to do, they will be noticed. Kees works in the field of corporate espionage, so I also needed to make his attempts to retrieve missing computer data sound authentic. I learned an awful lot about Dutch cemeteries and how cryptocurrency works in the course of my research.
How did you come up with the title The Pride of Amsterdam?
Lions live in prides, so it was an easy fit for the book, really. It also ties into the concept of civic pride, which is very important to the Dutch and informs the way they think and behave.
If you were to give your book a Heat Rating, (lowest) 1—simmering, 2—sizzling, 3—on fire, or 4—blazing (highest), which would it be and why?
I’d say 2 – sizzling, because there’s plenty of erotic action but also a lot of plot. I’d reserve the higher flame ratings for books where the sex is the main focus of the story and/or there’s lots of intense BDSM interaction.
What’s next for you?
I didn’t write The Pride of Amsterdam as the first book in a series, but that’s what it’s turned into. Things have moved very quickly since then and I’ve contracted the second and third books. Next up is Taming the Lion, which will be coming out in the spring. That’s set in another city I really like to visit, Bath. The third book, Vintage Pride, has involved extensive research into champagne production, though not much drinking of the stuff, unfortunately. I’m just about to start on the fourth and, at the moment, last book, which will feature a hot, up and coming movie actor and the lion who loves him…
When an ancient enemy is summoned to destroy his pride, a lion shifter must fight to protect the man he loves.
Kees van der Veer has never forgotten the mysterious stranger who seduced him on Millennium Eve and who promised that when the time was right, they would be together again. Returning to Amsterdam after fifteen years away, he is reunited with that stranger, entering into a world of love and danger he could never have imagined.
Arjan is a lion shifter, part of a pride who has lived in Amsterdam since its Golden Age. He has spent fifteen years regretting the need to drive his destined mate away after one night of blissful passion. But only once they meet again can he reveal to Kees the truth of his heritage. When an old enemy is summoned to destroy the pride, Arjan must act to protect not only his family but also the man he loves.
“You look like you’d rather be anywhere than here.”
The voice at his ear surprised him. He turned to see a man who must have been a good six and a half feet in height—tall even by Dutch standards—with a mane of corn-blond hair that he pushed away from his face with one hand. The stranger’s eyes, of a shade Kees had never seen before—somewhere between amber and gold—regarded him with something very like sympathy.
“I’m just not a great one for parties, that’s all,” Kees mumbled. Always shy around people he didn’t know, he found his throat drying and the hairs on his neck prickling in response to the man’s presence. More than that, he was all too conscious of a sudden tension in his groin. He felt his cock thicken and grow. He blushed, unable to prevent his body’s response to being in the presence of someone so masculine, so vital, so…arousing.
“And yet here you are,” the stranger commented.
“Well, I came because my friend wanted to, but he’s just hooked up with a girl. And I’m really not very good at making conversation with people I don’t know very well.”
“There are other things one can do than make conversation.” Again, his new companion ran a hand through his glorious mass of hair and fixed Kees with a stare that held him rooted to the spot. He’d never had such an instant, powerful reaction to anyone, and all he wanted to do was to sink to his knees and obey this man’s every wish.
“I don’t— That is, I…” he stammered.
The man put a finger to Kees’ lips, gently silencing him. Kees fought the urge to take that digit between his lips and suck.
“What is your name?”
“Did you know you’re really cute when you blush, Kees?”
The observation sent the flush back to his cheeks, harder than before. He shivered, aware of the man’s strong physical presence and seductive, musky smell. That scent didn’t come out of a bottle. He knew it to be pure, primal male, and he wanted to breathe it in forever.
“This is a big building,” his companion said casually. “I’m sure we can find somewhere a little quieter. Somewhere we can be alone.”
Kees took a gulp of his punch, no longer flinching at the strength of the alcohol. He needed all the courage he could muster to agree to such a blatant proposition. His jeans had grown uncomfortably tight, struggling to contain the urgent swelling of his dick, and more than anything he wanted to be somewhere private, where he could bare himself to this man. Yet still he hesitated.
“Don’t be afraid, Kees. I’m not going to ask of you anything you’re not prepared to offer. But let me give you just a little taste of what I have in mind…”
He bent his head, and put his mouth to Kees’. When he ran his tongue along the seam of Kees’ lips, there was no resisting the gentle pressure.
The room seemed to dissolve around them as they kissed. Kees could no longer hear the music that had been assaulting his eardrums or see the wild, uncoordinated dancing. He was lost in the softness of this stranger’s mouth and as their bodies pressed together, he could feel the man’s erection up against his belly. He wanted to reach down and grasp it through its denim covering, but that seemed like entirely too forward an act.
When they broke the kiss, his companion smiled down at him. “You taste good. And you kiss well, too.”
“It was my first kiss.” Kees didn’t know why he felt the need to admit that.
“There’s no shame in admitting to that. And it’s always an honor to be someone’s first…”
Buy links: Totally Bound
Elizabeth Coldwell is a multi-published author whose stories have appeared in the best-selling ‘Best Women’s Erotica’ series and Black Lace’s popular ‘Wicked Words’ collections. Formerly the editor of the UK edition of Forum magazine, she also contributed a spicy monthly column, ‘The Cougar Chronicles’, to its pages. She has also worked as a senior editor for Xcite Books. When she is not busy writing, she is an avid supporter of Rotherham United Football Club and can be regularly found on the terraces at weekends, cheering her boys to victory (hopefully!).
You can find Elizabeth at her Blog