Guest blogger Sofia Grey + giveaway!

I’m so happy to welcome back the talented Sofia Grey! Sofia has a sexy new book, and an awesome giveaway too, so read on!

Scaredy-Cat

Don’t underestimate or trivialise it. Fear is a powerful driver for behaviour. And I’ll stick my neck out here… I reckon everyone has a secret fear locked away. We’re all scared of something, and there are different levels as to how scared we are.

worst nightmare

If I had to rate my personal fears, it would go something like:

1 out of 5 – mild anxiety / wariness;

2 out of 5 – a sense of discomfort

3 out of 5 – pulse speeds up, shivers down my spine

4 out of 5 – yep, I’m scared, I’ll admit it to whoever is nearby

5 out of 5 – holy shit, I’m freaking out

For me, 1/5 might be a large, hairy spider walking on the far side of the room. 2/5 would be if the spider was next to me, while 3/5 would be a spider on me. Or an earwig. Don’t like earwigs, ever since one dropped into the bath while I was submerged under a cloud of foam. I leapt out of the water so quickly and yanked the plug out, that I forgot to look if the bug had actually swirled down the plughole. I was fine then, until a drop of water snaked down my back and I became convinced it was the damn earwig. I screamed so loud that my hubby came running in to rescue me from the axe murderer he was convinced had sneaked in.

And then there’s the fears so deep and dark, so insidious that we can’t give them names. We certainly don’t give them headroom, as least, not consciously.

In Obsession, Suki tries to find a way to cope with her off-the-scale fear, something she has never revealed to her husband.

scared woman

*

I averted my eyes from the headline screaming at me. I’d read the story earlier but could do without the constant reminders. Severely depressed ex-soldier murdered his two small children and then committed suicide. Apparently he was afraid they’d inherit his condition. It was hard not to be sympathetic.

Mum had skirted along the edge of a bi-polar disorder and fallen straight into psychotic depression. According to everything I’d read, the condition was hereditary. I stood at least a twenty-five percent chance of losing my sanity, and I battled this fear on a daily basis. Little incidents, like the guy in the café, would be the first signs. Forgetfulness. Mood swings. It had become my best-kept secret.

Dad and I maintained the illusion that Mum was fine, just shy and retiring. Antony was never mentioned. It all weighed heavily on me and there were times I needed to unload, to let out some of the tension in my head before I screamed.

*

Your turn now. What are you afraid of? And would you tell anyone? Leave a comment and I’ll put your name into a draw for a copy of Obsession.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Obsession is available 12 June 2013, from Time & Tide Publishing.

*

Josh Delaney is the ideal honey trap.

His charm and model good looks would be enough for most women, but coupled with his psychic ability to read their thoughts, he’s impossible to resist. Suspicious husbands employ him to test their wives, to see if they can be tempted to stray.

High profile couple Suki and Gabe Bridgewater have the perfect marriage, or at least, that’s the image they portray to the world. Behind closed doors, Gabe’s dominance in the marriage is unravelling and he decides to test Suki, using Josh as bait.

For Josh it should be just another easy job, but two things go horribly wrong.

One, Josh falls in love with Suki.

And two, Gabe refuses to let her go.

*

http://www.amazon.com/Obsession-The-Talisman-series-ebook/dp/B00DAM7KN0

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdYcKMB2r1U

 

*

Obsession - blog tour banner final

Blog tours are fun to take part in, but this is my final stop.

 

Sofia Grey

About Author

Romance author Sofia Grey spends her days managing projects in the corporate world and her nights hanging out with wolf shifters and alpha males. She devours pretty much anything in the fiction line, but she prefers her romances to be hot, and her heroes to have hidden depths. When writing, she enjoys peeling back the layers to expose her characters’ flaws and always makes them work hard for their happy endings.

Find her at: www.sofiagrey.com and on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sofiagrey1, or on Twitter @SofiaGreyAuthor

* images courtesy of 123rf.com

And so it began…the origin of an author

The other day on Goodreads, Rosanna Leo posed the question “What’s the first thing you ever wrote?” Pretty good topic actually. I shared my answer on Goodreads, but I’m about to go a one step farther. Today I’m actually going to share the very first thing I can remember writing.

Way back in 3rd grade, a young bespectacled girl (that would be moi) won 1st place in a state writing competition. So if you’re curious how Christy Gissendaner (aka Robin Danner) got her start in writing, here’s visible evidence. I’ve included a pic so ya’ll can admire the penmanship and “artwork” I added to my masterpiece.

IMG

And if you enjoy Giggle’s story, be sure to check out my the adult-versions of my paranormals. Who knew such a sweet little girl would grow up to write such hot romances! Yes, I’ve typed the story as-it-was. So forgive the errors, but not too shabby for a 3rd grader, huh?

Happy Friday!

Christy/Robin

 

 

 

 

 

Giggle by Christy Gissendaner (circa 8 yrs old)

Once upon a time there was a ghost called Giggle. She was very lonely. She lived 100 miles from the closest town. One day she packed up her games, snacks, candles, pumpkins, treats, and candies. When she got to her new home it was 300 years old. The house had cobwebs in every corner. She slept peacefully for two days. When she woke up, it was a week until Halloween. She was still lonely so she planted a variety of pumpkin seeds. She watered them and kept a light on them. While she was asleep a witch put a spell on the pumpkin seeds.  The pumpkins, which had grown bodies, threw paint on her and locked Giggle up in a room. With paint on her, she couldn’t get out. Two days passed and Halloween came. Four mischievoius kids came along. Their names were Bob, Jan, Jill, and Bill. Bill went up to the bushes and a carved out jack-o-lantern on them. Then Jill and Jan gave a shriek, turned around and ran. Bill and Bob wondered why they ran away. Then Bill shrieked and ran away. When he did Bob yelled at him and called him a chicken. When the turned around the pumpkins stood in the doorway and said “Hellooo Bob.” They grabbed him and put him with Giggle. They didn’t feed him so he soon turned into a ghost. Giggle and Bob got married and had three ghostlings. Nobody ever knew what happened to Bob except the pumpkins. People found out about them but was afraid to ask. So they will never know.

It’s all about the readers…

Whew – what a weekend! 

I’ve just gotten home from Colorado, where I spent the weekend at RomCon. Aside from the smoke (I stayed with family in Black Forest) and the long drive to the hotel every morning, I had the time of my life!

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, RomCon is a conference targeted toward readers of romance novels. And when I say it’s reader targeted, I’m not kidding. RomCon is a weekend of author-hosted events and parties – many of which included demonstrations (yes, Cherise Sinclair demonstrated the proper way to use a ruler) and/or half-naked cowboys (see below).

I’m a reader, so I had many “fan girl” moments of my own over the weekend. First when I met one of my favorite authors, Lorelei James, and then again when I realized I’d be sharing a book signing table with Lauren Dane. And yes, I came home with books signed by each of them…along with about ten others.

At breakfast the first day, it was announced that my first novel, One Night Stand, was named a finalist in the Readers’ Crown Awards for Erotic Romance. While it didn’t win, I am humbled and honored to be named alongside Cherise Sinclair, Fiona Archer, Mandy Harbin, Angel Payne, Lexi Blake and several others. Congratulations to Cherise for winning the category! 

RomCon is definitely something I’ll do again. If you enjoy playing games with inflatable man-parts, mimosa’s and half-naked cowboys – maybe I’ll see you there next year!

Here are a few of my favorite moments from RomCon 2013.

IMG_2195

Lorelei James and Parker Kincade

 

IMG_2212

Parker Kincade signing ad in RomCon Program (and yes, those are Lauren Dane’s hands next to me…) 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2196

 

Yeah…it’s a tough job…

 

 

For more pictures of the fun, go to http://www.romcon.com.

Until next time…

unlikeable vs. unlovable

Every time I set out to write a story, I do it with three things in mind: Goal, motivation, and conflict. I start sketching out these character sketches, just throwing attitude and ambition and a whole lot of angst at them in the hopes of creating a character who captures my interest.

The last thing on my mind is whether or not anyone will actually like my characters. In fact, sometimes I set out to make them unlikeable because then I get to redeem them (or not). It sounds crazy, right? I mean, in theory, why would you want to spend a few hours of your time (reading) with someone you don’t even like?

Honestly? My favorite characters are the ones I love to hate because they are fascinating. They are raw and self-righteous, they are clever and sometimes crude. They hurt the character you do like, and maybe don’t earn enough forgiveness. But watching them try is so much fun!

This got me thinking about anti-heroes vs. beta heroes vs. Omega. (also, because these traits apply across gender, anti-heroine/beta heroine/Omega)

IMO an anti-hero is a protagonist who seems to function against socially accepted behavior. They can be your big bad breakin’-all-the-rules Alphas, but they aren’t always.

When I think “beta hero” I think this is a protagonist with less than ideal character traits. Not necessarily bad traits, just not perfect. He’s not the biggest or the strongest guy around and he’s okay with that.

An Omega is like an anti-hero who is also comic relief. The villain you love–and love to laugh at. These guys are sneaky–you write them as a villain in one book or series, and the next thing you know, they are clamoring for their own book so you can redeem them.

With all these fascinating character types to play with, I find it hard to seek out likability as a character trait.

Perhaps the craziest thing of all is that when it comes right down to it–I find these characters all the more lovable for their flaws–making them perfect subjects for romance.

So tell me–do you have a favorite anti-hero(ine)? What about betas or Omegas?

Cover Reveal: Tarnished by Becca Jameson

I’m so excited to reveal the cover for the first book in my new wolf series! The series is called Wolf Gatherings. The first book is called Tarnished. It comes out August 1, 2013, with Taliesin Publishing! I love this hot hot cover! And I hope everyone enjoys this new series. Book two is already written and I’m pondering book three as we “speak”. hehe

Tarnished_BJameson_500X800

Blurb:

Wolf shifter Mackenzie Davis has no interest in mating with another wolf. Plenty of experiences in her past have hardened her to this resolve. She is loving life with the perfect job, the perfect friends, and the perfect boyfriend—a human one. Nevertheless, her mom implores her to attend this year’s Wolf Gathering. Reluctantly dragging her feet, she agrees to one day only.

Drake Spencer has come to the gathering from Texas with his family. He’s twenty-eight and believes his chances of finding a mate are slim to none, especially since he saw the woman he felt connected to leave with another man at the last gathering. But what if the woman who has consumed his dreams for the last few years is not actually mated?

When Mackenzie and Drake meet, sparks fly. Kenzie still hopes to deny the claim on her. But can she? The call of mates is stronger than she expected. What will happen to her sense of self if she follows this man to Texas? Not to mention Drake. Can he live with the mental scars of her past?

What’s in a Name? Lynn Lorenz

LL_RSC_BayouDreamsWhen we start writing, the last thing we think of is what name will we write under….mostly because we never start out thinking we’re really going to get published.

I know I didn’t. And when I did make my first sale, a gay romance, I got tons of advice about a pen name. Pen name??? What the hell? Sure, I was told, you need one, especially if you write erotic or gay romance.

Yeah, ‘cuz there’s that – discrimination and prejudice – and I thought hey, I just write love stories. People told me I needed to protect my family, told me tales of the poor writers who were stalked by crazed fans. Told me I needed to protect my job, with more stories of writers being fired when their employers found out they wrote erotic romance.
Convinced me…for sure.

So I asked around, got opinions, of which there is no shortage, about what made a good pen name. Pick a clever name, pick a sexy name, pick a name that means something to you, pick a name you won’t forget to answer to, pick a name that’s easy. Got it. An easy, sexy, meaningful name.

And I also was told, hey, you write gay romance and you’re a woman. You need to use initials and let everyone think you’re a guy…’cuz you’ll sell more.

WTH? Okay, I’m a smart girl, but I’m not a genius, and I was already almost 50 yrs old. My memory wasn’t going to be getting better, and it’s hard enough to remember my own name, much less pretend I’m a man. But some writers did it, and I understand their reasons. I was tempted. I was…then realized I just didn’t have the energy or wits to keep up such a charade.

So my publisher was tapping her toes, waiting for my pen name so she could get the forms filled out for the contract, and I was racking my brain for a easy, sexy, familiar name. Something I’d like for a long time, right? ‘Cuz I had a career in front of me… Gulp!

So I talked to my dh, my rock, and told him what I’d been thinking of…using my middle name, since it was familiar to me, I would answer to it when fans (oh yeah, I dreamed of fans, silly girl) called out my name in a crowd. My dh agreed with it and jokingly said, hey, I have a bunch of names, take one of mine. So I thought it over and ran through all his names – he has 5 – seriously, 4 plus a last name. One of them started with an L and sounded good with Lynn. And when I Googled it, I didn’t find anyone.

And so Lynn Lorenz was born, or at least her pen name. I’ve been around for awhile and amazingly Lynn’s still around and writing since 2008.

So when I took a look at my traditional romances, which I’d been writing using Lynn Lorenz, I decided I needed to let my readers know better what they were getting with my books and the only way to do that would be to…..pick an new pen name.

OMG! Not again!!!!!

Yes, again. So I struggled with the decision to pick a new pen name, for my heterosexual romances. So I started the process once more – thinking of a name with the right sound, familiar, yet different. I picked my mother’s middle name, Theodora, a name I’ve always loved. Then I had to find a last name, and since Theodora has multiple syllables, the last name should be short and sweet. I came up with several, Googled, but found them used. Then I hit Lane. There were no Theodora Lanes…only real streets.

But there were other Lanes out there writing, but the ones I knew either weren’t spelled the same, and were writing gay romance, not het, so chances were I’d not be in conflict with them.

And then I had to think about whether to keep Lynn writing as Theodora a secret. Again, too old and too tired to be that clever. So I looked at a few other writers, famous ones, who made no secret of their alternate writing names – like Richard Bachman – Stephen King, JD Robb – Nora Roberts, and Lori Armstrong – Lorelei James. Good company and it didn’t hurt their careers. Their readers know what to expect when they buy a book written by each name and that’s what I wanted my readers to know also.

So, with the new urban fantasy story coming out in August from Taliesin Publishing, Heart of a Warrior, I decided to launch my new pen name, Theodora Lane, with that book. And along with that a new website that will showcase both my Lynn Lorenz name and books and Theodora Lane’s new books. I can’t wait to show it to you, along with the new cover, which I’ve gotten a sneak peek at, but you’ll have to wait for that in July.

Well, that’s my story about pen names.

What’s yours???

Sinspiration aka The Power of a Photo

I know we’ve posted about inspiration before, but have we ever posted about sinspiration? This is when I see a picture–okay, yeah, it’s usually naughty–and within seconds I have an entire story written. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to sinspiration.

Who knew Pinterest could be so useful? And so smexy.

If I get stuck, I can swing by, have a look, and wrap up a scene in no time, well, as long as I can resist the temptation to start looking for things to add to my sinspiration board.

Now, not everything on my board is sinful. Somethings are just a nice reminder to keep going, or because I find a model beautiful and inspirational, but…yeah , okay…most of it is sinful. I can’t help it, I’m made that way.