A young man returns from war to find two women living on the isolated farm he’d called ho me. Needing to dominate, he sets out to put his life in order.
The bitter, dark night a rugged man appears on their doorstep, everything about the quiet life of Ellen March and Jill Banford changes. The presence of the powerful, brooding man complicates the simple daily existence of their lives on their struggling chicken farm.
Henry Grenfel, a young soldier recently returned from war, is determined to possess the stronger, more forceful of the two women—Ellen. His need to possess her knows no limits and he uses every opportunity he finds to pressure her into breaking her ties with her best friend, Jill. Jill’s dislike for Henry turns into pure hatred when she realizes he’ll stop at nothing to take Ellen from her.
As the tension among the three of them builds, Henry coerces Ellen into submission, forcing her to recognize her own need for the sexual release only he can provide. After Ellen accepts the inevitability of his dominance and agrees to his marriage proposal, the resentment brewing within the love triangle takes an even darker turn.
The one with Dead Girls Talking is an hour long interview. We talked about my writing process, which includes sex charts, zombies, and all kinds of great stuff.
a single chatty interview episode
Dead Girls Talking
Minda and Jenna chat with author of several romance and erotic novels, Isabelle Drake. Drake’s latest works- Servant of the Undead and Mistress of the Undead- veer into a lesser known realm of paranormal erotica: Zombies.
Watch out, sparkly vampires. The zombies are coming.
Isabelle Drake is the fiction alias of Melissa Ford Lucken. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston College’s program at Pine Manor College and an MA in Special Education from Eastern Michigan University. She teaches creative writing and composition at Lansing Community College.
Did you ever read the classics for school and wish they were just a bit more interesting or a bit...hotter?
Have you ever read any DH Lawrence and find it a tad too formal?
My revised edition of The Fox addresses both those issues. Its a perfect read for this time of the year.
The Clandestine Classics line from Totally Bound received a lot of media attention and for good reason. The concept of revisiting classics works, heating them up and pushing the boundaries of sensuality is pretty awesome.
For my classic tale, I chose one by DH Lawrence, an author well-known for pushing the limits of “acceptability.”
The challenge in this project was keeping his unique voice, intent, and characterization while amping up the sensual tension. To be honest, I did expand the final scenes to fill in some emotional development holes I found. I wanted to ensure the female character was fully motivated to do what she did.
Curious how my version turned out? Check out the excerpt below.
Excerpt From: The Fox
He had been sawing logs for the fire in the afternoon and his entire body had been, at one point, covered in a fine sheen of perspiration. What remained now was the scent of his exertion and the lingering effects of the satisfaction that comes across a man when he has done a hard job well.
Darkness came very early. It was still a cold, raw mist. It was getting almost too dark to see. A pile of short sawed logs lay beside the trestle. March came to carry them indoors, or into the shed, as he was busy sawing the last log. He was working in his shirt-sleeves, and did not notice her approach; she came unwillingly, as if shy. When she bent down he saw the firmness of her muscles and the easy way her strong arms moved the logs. She was a fine prey, indeed and they both knew it. He saw her stooping to the bright-ended logs, and he stopped sawing, letting his probing gaze rake across her. A fire like lightning flew down his legs in the nerves and he was more aware of March than he ever had been. Everything about her called to him, her scent, her body, her essence. It was not enough to be near her. He needed to possess her. Indeed, master her.
"March?" he said in his quiet, young voice.
She looked up from the logs she was piling.
"Yes!" she said.
He looked down on her in the dusk. He could see her not too distinctly and he struggled to see what he could of her. If only she would stop shrinking away from him and expose herself to him as she ought to.
"I wanted to ask you something," he said, feeling that lightning fire burn in his limbs.
"Did you? What was it?" she said. Already the fright was in her voice. But she was too much mistress of herself. And it was that control, he realised, that he most wanted to take from her. She would weaken and give herself to him. He would see to it. As he felt that was what he wanted, he knew she must want it too.
"Why"—his voice seemed to draw out soft and subtle, it penetrated her nerves—"why, what do you think it is?"
She stood up, placed her hands on her hips, and stood looking at him transfixed, without answering. Again he burned with a sudden power.
"Well," he said, and his voice was so soft it seemed rather like a subtle touch, like the merest touch of a cat’s paw, a feeling rather than a sound. "Well—I wanted to ask you to marry me."
March felt rather than heard him. She felt him everywhere—on her face, across her breasts, deep inside her, filling her and taking her soul. She was trying in vain to turn aside her face. A great relaxation seemed to have come over her as she had known this moment was coming and finally it had arrived. She stood silent, her head slightly on one side. He seemed to be bending towards her, invisibly smiling as he came for her. It seemed to her fine sparks came out of him, ready to jump across to her and burn through her skin.
Recipe of the Month
Knockout Bourbon Punch
Makes about 75 oz., or 25 servings
INGREDIENTS 8 cinnamon sticks, toasted 1 750ml bottle of bourbon 8 oz. granulated sugar 4 oz. ginger juice 4 oz. lemon juice 4 oz. unsweetened cranberry juice 6 oz. Malmsey Madeira 24 oz. sparkling or soda water Fresh nutmeg
GARNISHES 2 bunches fresh mint 2 12-oz. bags fresh cranberries
DIRECTIONS Let cinnamon sticks sit overnight in bourbon. Strain. Stir sugar into the juices until completely dissolved. Pour juice/sugar blend, Madeira, and cinnamon-infused bourbon into a punch bowl and stir. Top with sparkling water and stir again. Grate a healthy amount of nutmeg—about a quarter of the whole—on top.
To serve, pour 3 oz. over ice in a punch cup. Garnish with a cranberry and a sprig of mint.
Current fiction project--a dystopian, sci-fi sort of thing.
Current non-fiction--upcoming The Binge Watchers Guide to Riverdale, adding Season 5.
Unfinished Business and the Invitations series are now available on the reading app, Radish.
Unfinished Business is also available on the reading app, Readict.
Book chapter, Struggling Against the Tide: Narrative Structure and the Human Connection in Jaws, to be included in the anthology, “This Shark, Swallow You Whole”: Fifty Years of Jaws from McFarland & Co. Publisher.
Spring Fling in Chicago, April 2022
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