Birthing a Book

MM_SSI3_WeathertheStorm_draftNo, it’s not here yet. 🙂 I’m working on it very, very hard. Really.

I know my SSI fans have been waiting patiently for this next book. I appreciate it. Thank you.

At this point in my career I am working  on two main series (SSI and Prime Chronicles). I have tried to alternate writing the series books to keep all my fans happy.  And that is a hard thing to do since I don’t write short novels.  And I don’t type fast.  And I am  A-type. Those who know me well are nodding their heads. Oh, and I have a very busy life — yes, I know the word is “no” and I need to learn to use it more.

Excuses, excuses. Yep, I’m the Queen of Rationalizing. But they’re all true and mostly why it takes so long for me to get a book completed to my satisfaction.

Note, I said mostly. That brings us to the real crux of the matter — my writing process is not straight-forward. From the conception of the idea for a book to the finished, polished draft for submission is a long and, most of the times, arduous process.

I’ve only had one book that has just flown onto the computer from my head and sailed through all my after-processes to publication and that was Cold Day in Hell, a thoroughly enjoyable writing and editing experience and at 120K, one of my longest books.

But not all books evolve that easily. In the early stages, I feel a euphoria and put words down fast and furiously — this is the set up for the book.  Then as I segue into the middle of the book where all the real action is, I slow down as I work patiently with the characters, herding them toward the crisis/climax I foresaw when I began the darn book.

Of course, s**t happen.  My characters get pushy and take over. They take side paths that weren’t in my original plans and then I have to either write around the roadblocks that creates or backtrack and rewrite and go another direction.  Sometimes I need to even re-think the whole set up of the story (which is what happened in Weather the Storm), because it sucks and instead of taking me to a logical ending, it takes me into a wall where I crash and burn. My family will tell you that at this point, I am not a happy camper and life as they know it stops until I fix the damn book.  They eat out a lot.  My house doesn’t get cleaned. My cat feels neglected.

I do not like it when my stories crash and burn. Not. At. All.

Eventually I type “The End.”  Big sigh of relief, but …. and isn’t there always a “but?”

Here is where the real work begins (and where I am at with Vanko’s book, if you’re keeping track).

I have a completed first draft — but it is rough and has holes a Mack truck could drive through.  It has sticky notes that say “add emotion here” or “add sex scene here”  or “find out what road goes from here to there.”

Thus begins elevating the finished book (which parts of have now been rewritten 3-4 times even as I wrote the whole) to another level.  I rewrite, revise, delete and add scenes, rename characters (sometimes they don’t like their names and tell me so), polish, and add layers of emotion where I missed them the first time.

Once the more polished draft is done (officially draft 2), it then goes to my crit buddy and betas who with kindness and love rip me a new a-hole, and I go back and revise once more.  And then, and only then, do I send it to my publisher who in turn sends it to my editor who will also go through and make little notes in the margins such as “Really?” or “Not feeling this.” or “you used the word mortify fifty times, fix it.”

Yeah, I can write a complete first draft of a 90K novel in less than six months, but it is more a 9-month process — sort of like giving birth. 🙂

Mack Attack! Launch of Selkie’s Revenge!

Well, folks, I never thought I’d make it to this day. Yesterday, my second Orkney Selkies book launched- Selkie’s Revenge– and I am stoked!

Selkie's Revenge

As you may know, this isn’t another story about dishy Calan…you remember him, right? The flirty, mostly naked dude who was the hero of The Selkie? Yeah, that guy!

No, this time our story is about his brother Machar, or Mack for short. And Mack is a somewhat different personality than his brother Calan. Where Calan is carefree and fun-loving, Mack is a bit more pensive, a bit more intense. And he’s got a problem.

His biological clock just started ticking.

Now, considering selkies live centuries-long lives, you might not think this is an issue at all. However, for Mack, the unmerciful clanging in the pit of his gut is so loud and palpable, he’s christened it “Big Ben.” Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much time to consider the implications because a foul finman is haunting the Orkney shores, luring women to a watery demise. And Mack hunts these finmen for very personal reasons.

Do men suffer from biological clocks the way women do? I’ve definitely known men who have, although they may not have been as vocal about it as women can be. I’ve known men who long for a wife and children, who yearn to continue their family line. And it can be distressing when the right person hasn’t happened along.

Even still, Mack is suspicious about the process. He knows his brothers Calan and Angus have found true happiness with their mates, but isn’t sure it’s for him. He’s a selkie! A creature known for its promiscuity and sexual prowess! But as it says in the book, “Selkies did mate, and Machar had to admit the idea was sticking with him like a steaming lump of dog shit on the bottom of his boot. He couldn’t seem to scrape it off.”

Will Mack succumb to the pull of his mate? Will fighting the foul finmen even allow him to pursue a mate?

I hope you’ll snap up a copy of Selkie’s Revenge and find out!

Goodreads link:

Who’s Your Favorite Romance Novel Hero?

sideback - bum - waves - DougKoziak11Lately, a lot of people have asked me, which one of my heroes is my favorite?

That’s akin to asking a mom which one of her kids is her favorite. No answer’s right. Each one of my heroes has at least one quality that makes him my favorite. Sounds too PC – right? But it’s true.

In the Mambo series, I loved the way Rolan took to fatherhood, and Terrence had this gentle giant tenderness that did me in. Harry, oh my, Harry – how can you not adore a hunky Texan cowboy who does the dirty with his hat on?

Alex in D is for Desire has that wry sense of humor and cutting wit that just grabs at you. And Jake with his fierce determination to not believe in magic even as it’s happening had me snickering.

Hades Squad banner4 (2)Linc, aka, Sinner, a SEAL who sings opera for his lady – and whose sisters made him play ‘Barbie’ with them – come on, that has to make you melt. Any alpha who can laugh at himself’s a winner and that’s my Lucifer. What can you not love about a SEAL whose nickname is Devil? And my tortured Demon in Demon Seed is a softie hiding behind a hulk – he’s such a sweetheart.

And I defy you to chose from any one of my five Vikings – I can’t. A bear, a dragon slayer, a peacemaker, a destroyer, and a seducer? – you gotta have them all, right?

Right now, I’m in love with Seathe, the wolf hero of  Wolf Without, and my new Viking warrior, Torvän, has taken a claim on my heart. But, then again, my other wolf, ‘Chainsaw Chad’, has a wicked streak that has me cheering for him, even though the odds are stacked against him.

I give up – I love ‘em all – happy Monday!




P.S. The pic’s a shot of my image of Seathe.

Guest Blogger Patricia Rasey

Viper_500x750I’d like to welcome fellow author and a long-time friend, Patricia Rasey, to the purple velvet couch today.  Pat and I met on-line back in the mid-90s at a site called Allaboutmurder.  Then we bonded on a car trip to RT right after 9/11. You get to know a person really well when you share a room with them, get stranded in a small town in Kentucky with a broken down car (not hers or mine but the people-we-rode-with’s van), then drive a rental car through a horrible storm with resulting traffic accidents on I-75 in central Ohio. That kind of experience cements a life-long friendship. *grin*

 Pat has a new book titled Viper, Book 1 in the Sons of Sangue series. I can sum this book up in three words – hunky vampire bikers. Yum.  


So, Pat — vampire bikers?  Tell me and the readers what sparked that combination.

 First—thanks for having me over. Love the purple velvet couch (rubs hand over the soft, plush surface). Not to mention the trip down memory lane. We had some great times and great fun. You’re right—we shared some lifelong memories. And hopefully will share many more.

My idea for vampire bikers actually came from a few influences. Most of which is my love for bikers. My husband and I went out east to visit a dear friend, Lara Adrian, and her husband. She had been trying to get me to write a vampire book for a few years, having her own success with the genre. I was so busy writing romantic suspense that I wasn’t ready to make that leap. But then there we stood on the side of a mountain in New Hampshire, checking out the beautiful fall colors, when I noted a group of motorcycle club members near us. I mentioned their “rockers.” Lara started asking me questions about rockers, motorcycle cuts, and the like when she realized how much I had studied and loved the subject of outlaw bikers.

On the way home from that trip, I got a text from Lara that simply said: Biker Vampires. My reply back: Now there’s a book I can write and get into. Sons of Sangue was born.

 The first book in the series is Viper.  Tell us about this book and the next one coming up after that.

Viper, and his twin Hawk, are direct descendants of the original vampire Vlad Tepes. Viper is the president of the outlaw motorcycle club (OMC), Sons of Sangue, and is responsible for keeping the vampires in line and keeping their secret. Rules are put in place to keep their coven from being found out and hunted down. Breaking those rules is not acceptable.

Drained bodies start showing up in their small town of Pleasant, where the OMC had promised to work with the law to keep the residents safe and violence outside of town. Now Kane must answer for the bodies piling up and soon becomes the number one suspect. The problems escalate when Viper realizes his attraction to the lead detective, Cara Brahnam, and he begins breaking his own rules in order to protect her from an ancient vampire bent on revenge.

Hawk, club vice president, must now step up to the plate to protect his brother and his reckless actions where the detective is concerned. Hawk runs across his own Achilles heel when an old obsession pops up on his radar, a childhood friend to the detective, Suzi Andrews. He’ll need to eat a lot of crow in Book 2 to win her back.

Do you have a series story arc that designates a certain number of books – or are you just going to keep writing about hunky vampire bikers for as long as you have story ideas?

 As of now, I have a story arc for three books in the series: Viper, Hawk, and Gypsy.  Gypsy’s character is introduced in Viper. He’s a fun character that doesn’t like following rules. He lives life large. I’ll build upon his character in Book 2. If the series does well, who knows?  There are several bikers in the three books and any one of them could get their own story.

Ever since I’ve known you, you’ve written paranormal suspense, even before it was popular (which is something you and I had in common way back when).  Share some of your other books with the fans.

 My roots started in the love of the paranormal. However, my timing wasn’t always good. I started a vampire novel entitled Deadly Obsession and quickly turned it into a romantic suspense when I was told vampire novels were dead and that no one was buying them. Deadly Obsession became a novel about people who have a taste for human blood and practice things like blood-letting. The Hour Before Dawn followed, really delving into the underground subculture and remains dear to my heart to this day.

I also wrote a short story entitled, In the Mind of Darkness, that was actually my first ever story about vampires. It won a P&E Short Story Horror award and is included in the print novella of Fear the Dark. I also wrote the vampire novella Sanitarium, about a vamp who institutionalized himself. Couple that with my romantic suspense novels about bikers: Kiss of Deceit and Eyes of Betrayal, a marriage of the two genres seemed inevitable.

Is there one particular thing you find challenging about writing?

 I think my biggest challenge is having enough story ideas, but not enough time to write them all. Trying to find the right niche at the right time is very challenging as an author. I have a few sequels that haven’t been written, because I moved onto something else…looking for that right market. Then when a reader wants to know when the next book for another novel is going to come out, and I don’t have an answer, makes me wish I could write a novel in a day.

What do you do to get in the mood to write?

 I usually like silence or no distractions, because that will take me right out of the mood. If I listen to music, it can’t have words unless I am attempting to set a mood for a night club scene or something similar. I have a laptop designated for my writing. I can go to any room I choose to get a few stolen hours to write. I do have an office, because I also work full time from home. But after spending 7 to 8 hours a day in there working the day job, I don’t want to sit in there and write.

 Do you find love scenes difficult to write?

 To me, they are the most difficult of the scenes to write. I strive over mood, emotion, the words. You don’t want them to sound similar or stale, or use words that could offend your audience. And yet you want to stimulate the reader, build tension, and come to a satisfactory conclusion. After building tension, the last thing you want to do is let the reader down.

 Are your characters a reflection on you or anyone you know?

Life almost always makes its way into my stories. Something that happened to me or something I heard or observed. However, it’s always my own spin on the truth. But mostly, my stories are pure imagination.

My characters are mostly born from my imagination. I have been asked by friends to be put in my novels before, and I have, but I change them. Their personalities are altered, they may do things they wouldn’t do in life. And most often, I’ll tell the person you will be killed off and then I do. They don’t survive. But never a main character. The hero and heroine are born in my mind and exist there. They become friends to me and are real.

 If you were a supernatural creature, what would you like to be and why?

That’s an easy one for me. A Vampire. I’ve always been fascinated by them. So becoming one wouldn’t be a hardship. Not that I like the idea of drinking blood, but they are such sexual beings. They captivate us. I think that’s why people love to read about them. They make sexy characters.

 Who is your favorite author?

 Sandra Brown has always been my favorite author. I’ll read anything written by her. She’s a great talent. And then there is Lara Adrian. Yes, she’s been a great friend from way back in the day before either of us were published, but from the minute I read some of her work, I knew she was extremely talented. I always look forward to reading her books.

 What are you reading now?

Lush by Lauren Dane. That cover and story line drew me right in.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Coffee. Lately it’s been Iced Coffees. I love an Iced Caramel Macchiato. My personal favorite!

 Quick Answers:

Sparkly vampires or the darker kind – or somewhere in between?

 Darker. Doesn’t mean I like the villain style vampire or horror…I prefer the alpha vampire hero.

Favorite kind of music?

I go across the board from rock, to pop to country. Depends on my mood.

 Favorite movie?

The Crow or Queen of the Damned. It’s a toss up.

Favorite food?


 Do your alpha-vampire biker guys wear boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or go commando?

 Boxer briefs.

Where do vampire bikers take their women on dates?

Dates? They’re too busy getting their heroines out of trouble. But if they were actually able to take them out on the town then it would be in the corner of a dark night club.

Harleys or Ducatis?

 Harley Davidson.

Favorite brand of biker boots?

 I don’t have a favorite brand. If I did Harley Davidson boots would be my pick. But definitely the black super harness boots style.

 Vanilla or kinky sex (for your vampire bikers, of course)?


Where can your readers reach you?

My website:




Do you have a blurb and an excerpt from Viper you’d like to share?


Kane ‘Viper’ Tepes is one of the oldest living descendants of Vlad III. Vampirism is in his blood. So is being the President of the Sons of Sangue. Those who break motorcycle club rules that protect their coven are dealt swift punishment. No exceptions. Until one pretty little detective has him compromising his beliefs, and endangering his position as head of the MC.

Vampirism had Cara Brahnam turning tail and leaving behind her life in Pleasant. Now, ten years later, she’s back as lead detective and wants to see the person responsible for draining the women of Lane County brought to justice, no matter what deal the gang of miscreants has struck with the sheriff. Or the fact that her number one suspect is the sole reason she fled in the first place.

Now someone has targeted Cara as the next victim and Kane must join in the hunt to find the ancient vampire that wants her dead.


 “He wants me to know that he’s targeted you.”

She wet her lips, the tip of her pink tongue nearly having him forgetting his latest resolve.

“I don’t understand any of this.”

“I know what he’s capable of, Mia Bella.”

“But why would they use me to get to you?”

“Damn it!” Kane shoved his hand through his hair and pushed it from his face. “Just pack your bags, Cara. I’m moving you to the MC clubhouse where I can better keep an eye on you.”

“I’m not moving, Kane, not until you tell me how I got involved in the middle of a pissing match between you and some ancient vampire.”

He ground his teeth. Damned stubborn woman. “Why can’t you just do as I say? I can’t protect you here, Cara.”

“Well, apparently”—she stepped so close he could smell her blood rushing through her veins— “had I not ever met you, I wouldn’t need protecting. So I think you owe me the truth, Kane.”

“I don’t know the answer, Cara … other than he wants you dead. Why? Because it would hurt me.”

She spread her arms out, the gesture causing her robe to slip, revealing more of her cleavage … answering the question of what lay beneath her robe. Nothing. His breath left his chest in a hiss. How much could one vampire take? They were sexual beings, for crying out loud, not used to practicing restraint. His cock hardened. He wanted to bury himself to the hilt, feel her walls surround him like a silk glove and forget this primordial even existed.

“How could my death possibly hurt you?”

“Because I want you, Cara, I have for ten years.” When she didn’t comment, only gaped at him, he continued, “Is that what you wanted to hear, Mia Bella? You have one vampire who wants to fuck you senseless, who can barely contain himself in your presence, and one who wants to take your life because of it.”

Kane’s eyes blackened as his fangs elongated in his rising desire. He could see his crazed reflection in her gaze. Damn, but he wanted to throw her on the messed bed she had just crawled out of, push aside her robe and run his hands along her silken flesh, take what he’d fantasized about as he watched her sleep. He didn’t think his actions through, just knew the need sluicing through him was more powerful than anything he had experienced before. Grasping her biceps, he pulled her flush and slanted his mouth over hers, his tongue sliding between her parted lips. God help him, but he was a hair’s breadth away from losing all control.

Thanks, Pat, for visiting with us at Love Lust and Laptops. Much success with your new book and series.

Thanks, Monette! I appreciate you inviting me. By the way, can I take this purple velvet couch with me? I think it would look great in the sons of Sangue clubhouse!

Um, sorry, no can do.  I love you dearly, but that purple velvet couch holds some good memories for the Ladies and I.

You can buy Viper here:


Barnes and Noble:


Guest bloggers Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey!

I’m very pleased to welcome the writing pair of Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey to Love, Lust and Laptops! This talented duo has been a successful team for a while and are here to tell us a bit about how they do it.  They are the authors of the Countermeasure series.

Welcome Chris and Cecilia!

Countermeasure - Book One

A Shared Brain

It never fails, even after all this time writing together, when Chris and I reference our writing partnership we receive odd looks and a barrage of questions. “How does that work? Do you each write a chapter? A portion of the novel? Does one write the novel and the other edit? Do you each just write a specific scene? Are romance scenes awkward?”

What we realize is that, although collaborative work is not new or unique to us, some people can’t get their head around our partnership. The fact that we write action packed stories with intense and fairly erotic love scenes leaves them floored or skeptical. Their reaction is puzzling because to us, writing together is second nature. You could say we share a brain.

We’ve talked about this often—the brain-sharing thing. To understand how we work together, you need to know how we began this journey together.

We met almost 4 years ago when we both answered a casting call for a role-playing group portraying characters from one of our favorite novel series. As fate would have it, we were given roles as a mated couple. The rest you can say is history and the basis for our current partnership. There was an instant chemistry. Our writing style, views, and ideas where in tune with each other’s. When we slipped into the skin of those characters, we played their POVs seamlessly, flowing from one post to the other, from one story to another, just as we do with our own characters in our novels now.

At the end of 2010, we had reached the decision to leave the group. We weren’t quite sure what we were going to do, but we knew we wanted to continue writing together. One night, Chris had a dream which birthed the idea for a Contemporary Suspense story. When Chris had a better grasp of it, we discussed and decided to flesh it out. Once we had the plot and characters mapped, we began to role-play the story with our own main characters, Trevor and Cassandra. That story became the basis for our second novel, To Russia with Love.

With each post, each interaction, we grew comfortable in their skins, their relationship, and their adventures. So much so that as the story played out, we realized that we needed a beginning to their relationship. Their HEA arrived in the form of Countermeasure. With encouragement from friends, we turned to novel writing. However, novel writing and role-play are two different animals. We adapted our collaboration, but at the same time, we still retained some of the methods to our madness as we transitioned our role-play stories into novels. Chris’s original dream became the prologue in Countermeasure and we created our own method and voice for bouncing the POVs without head hopping. Those who read and enjoy our stories notice that the scenes flow from one character to the other in deep POV, RP style.

With that explained, you can now grasp that we truly write each chapter together. There is not one paragraph or page in which only one person touches it. Although with the move from RP to novel writing, we changed the tense and person in which we write, we never changed how we tackle the writing process. We divide our work by POV. It’s the simplest and most logical way for us. Take for example the short stories involving Cassandra and Trevor. If a chapter starts with Trevor’s POV, Chris starts it and if it’s Cassandra’s POV, I start it. The same happens with any character that we write. Each will wear one character in a scene and whoever has the beginning scene starts the chapter until it’s time for the other’s POV. We ping-pong the chapter between us for additions and line editing until the chapter is finished.

In many instances, we find ourselves writing dialog between the characters or writing scenes with interaction between them as we snowflake the chapter .What about the character’s POV in these instances you ask? No one knows Trevor better than Chris does; the same way I know Cassandra inside out—what she feels, how she would react, what she would say. So if Chris writes something in Cassandra’s POV, I always go through it to “Cassiefy” it, and if I write a Trevor piece, Chris will “Trevorize” (or geekify) it.

When it comes to steamy scenes, the same holds true. But that’s where writing in partnership becomes a fun game. To us, the challenge in writing them is to make the other squirm. If that doesn’t happen, we know something is seriously wrong and we revise the scene until it does. For us, the key is in the sensuality of the moment not quite in the act itself. The scene has to deliver to the reader the sensations and emotions our characters felt with each touch, each stroke.

Once we can go into deep editing, we turn to one of our adapted methods—I read the manuscript while Chris listens for flow, continuity, grammar, repetition, and reads for typos, punctuation.

That phase of editing can take from a day to a week depending on each chapter’s complexity and length. But it doesn’t end there. Once we’re satisfied, we then pass each chapter to our group of beta readers who, in turn, read it and give us feedback. We only move on to the next chapter. when we are fully satisfied with the chapter and we have their seal of approval.

To Russia With Love - Book Two

We are plotters by nature but with some pantser mixed in—call us plotsers if you will. With having a solid arc to the series and loose outline for each book, scenes and chapters can be written out of order.  This is where the shared brain comes in handy. We are so in tune in our thought process, we don’t experience a lot of differences when it comes to the stories. We develop the scenes as we go and we talk them out until we have something that makes perfect sense and that works for both of us. When we do reach a disagreement, we talk through our points until we find something that works for both and in the end, it all ties nicely.

A shared brain can be a burden, but a surprisingly easy one to bear and, most of all, a lot of fun. We do a lot of things together. We go through tense moments waiting for the first reviews to come in, we hold our breaths in anticipation for reader feedback, and, most of all, we laugh at each other and ourselves regularly. That’s what has allowed our partnership to flourish. In essence, we have tons of fun while doing what we love doing: entertaining readers and sharing our world with them all. We hope you join us in this incredible journey and become a part of our growing Countermeasure family.


Cecilia & Chris

About the authors

Writing had touched Chris Almeida’s and Cecilia Aubrey’s lives in different ways through the years but had never taken flight. It was in 2010, when Chris and Cecilia met and began role-playing online as a hobby, that writing placed itself front and center in their lives.

Alternate Connection - Book 3

Chris and Cecilia have since chosen to release all their titles independently. They have several short stories and two novels published under their own label, Éire Publishing, and are vocal supporters of independent publishing done right. They are currently working on the third novel in their series. Through all the chaos and laughter, they still hold true to their roots, bringing their favorite role-play characters and stories to life.

You can find them at:


Chris Almeida –

Cecilia Aubrey –

Authors Facebook Fan Page –

Series Facebook Fan Page –


Chris & Cecilia-

Countermeasure Series –


Chris –

Cecilia –

I’m Going on Tour, Baby!

Has it been two weeks already? Last time, I brought ya’ll the 1980’s-era Christy writing. In ten days, the heat is getting turned up. I’m giving you a sneak peek at my upcoming release and the book tour schedule. As you can see, I’ve been a very busy bee!

One Hot Knight is being released 7/22 by Entangled’s Covet Line. I haven’t been given leave to show off the cover yet, but here’ a little to whet your appetite.

Stupid curse!

Yves Sucat was a Crusader trapped in a canine body…until a beautiful twenty-first century dog groomer offered the missing link to break his spell. But Regina Patterson was no fluffy-headed female who would instantly melt at Yves’ silvery seduction. The more time he spent with the tender-hearted blonde, the less he was able to keep his paws—hands!—off of her.

Regina was much more comfortable with dogs than men, and the stunningly handsome – stunningly male – knight who now shared her apartment was no exception. She’d hoped to find a man as loyal as the pooches she pampered day after day, but would Yves’s broken curse end with her own broken heart?

Dying to know more? Then be sure to visit all the tour stops to get a glimpse of the HOT cover. As an added bonus, one winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. And to make it even sweeter, an additional $10 gift card will be given on any comments made during my birthday celebration. (Be sure to check the schedule to see which blogs are helping me celebrate turning…ahem…twenty-five. ; )

July 22

The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

Cover Reveals –

Ann Gimpel’s Blog –

The Nuthouse Scribblers –

Nicky Peacock Author

July 23

BookwormBridgette’s World

Romantic Imperative –

July 24

Kelly P’s Blog

Cherie’s Rambling Soap Box –

July 25

Share My Destiny

Romance, Writing, and Other Racket

Sapphyria’s Steamy Book Reviews

July 26

Reader’s Edyn

Love, Lust, and Laptops –

July 27

Excerpts from Emilia –

July 28

Becca Jameson –


Ebook Escapes at

Love and Kisses, V –

Rosanna Leo’s Room –

Parker Kincade –

July 30

Roxanne’s Realm

July 31

The Simple Things in Life

August 1

Mythical Books

August 2

Mousehead & Tales

For The Love of Reading

August 5

Faerie Tale Books

Hope to see you during the tour and good luck!


Them’s just words, baby

In one way, shape or form, every writer has a love affair with words. Something magical happens when the “perfect” sentence comes together. When you get it right. As readers, you’ll experience this moment every time a line or a passage makes you pause as you smile, shudder or quiver…as the case may be. I guarantee the writer felt the same emotion as it was written.

It seems so simple, this combining of words to create meaning, invoke emotion or set a scene. It’s not, but that’s not what this post is about.

In every manuscript I write, I find that one word. The bane of my existence (at least while I’m writing that particular manuscript), the dreaded repeat, that one damn word that I use over and over and over and over and over and over and…

It changes with each manuscript. As if I’ve worn the word out, exorcised it from my consciousness. One can only hope. It’s usually an insignificant word like “as” or “like” or “just.” Words like those become VERY significant when used ad nauseam. As a writer, it’s my job to pay attention (during first edits, of course) to these things and try to keep the balance between necessary and damn annoying.

At RomCon a few weeks ago, several other authors, such as Lauren Dane and Sylvia Day, admitted to the same affliction. So, I’m in good company.

The road to finished manuscript is a long, winding, bumpy, word-repeating road. But the destination…ahhhh…it’s pure bliss.

Writers, what are your words?

Readers, do you notice when words are repeated (and repeated) in a book?

Since I’m currently on a writing retreat and need to spend some “quality” time alone with Caleb, I will sign off with this: Mark Twain once wrote “…the difference between the right word and the almost right word is really a large matter – ’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.”

Damn straight, Mr. Twain.

Until next time…

A year in the life of a writer…

Last week–with no fanfare–I quietly celebrated the anniversary of the publication of Two in Winter by Liquid Silver Books. I have been a published author for just over a year now.

Anniversaries are, for me, a time for reflection. What’s changed? What would I do differently? What would I do the same?

What’s changed? I couldn’t begin to count the ways my writing has grown the f*ck up over the last year, working with some amazing editors who’ve helped me hone my skills. my day to day life has shifted from being a photographer who writes to being a writer who takes photos, but overall I still spend a fair amount of my day, butt in chair, churning out words, revisions, edits. It’s a good gig. I like what I do. 🙂

What would I do differently? Not much. I’d probably slow down and enjoy the ride more.

What would I do the same? Start blogging with LL&L! What a fantastic group of women to call my friends and colleagues. They’ve nurtured me professionally and creatively, encouraged my artistic pursuits outside of writing, critted the heck out of my writing, and overall been a wonderful network of support and companionship in a very tough industry.

Moving into year two, I am nothing but thrilled with the prospects ahead of me: continuing to hone my craft, writing new stories all the time, exploring human relationships through the written word. Damn, it’s a good gig.

Thanks to all my reader and writer friends for sharing the ride with me. I am lucky to know you!



My Love Affair with Cover Art by Lynn Lorenz

DavidsDilemmaI’m in love with my cover art. Not all of it, but most of it. Like other authors, I have my favorites, like this one, the cover to David’s Dilemma, created by Trace Zaber at Amber Allure.

There is something almost ethereal about this cover. I’m not sure if it’s the man, his expression or the softness of the color, but whatever it is, I love it.

I’ve had all sorts of covers, hot, sweet, sexy and okay, I’ll admit it, boring. The worse covers are those that don’t have anything to do with the book. Luckily, I’ve never had one of those. *whew!*

There is an art to doing book covers and as an artist, I appreciate it. Although I probably could, I don’t do my own cover art for several reasons – One, I don’t have the time and two, I don’t have the real knowledge of what makes a great cover. Like most people, I like what I like, but I’m not sure why. Putting together a great cover takes talent and experience and unless you’re really good at it, it’s best left to the professionals.

LL_SilentLodge_coversm I have to say, these guys have to be the sexiest men I’ve ever seen. This is my cover of Silent Lodge, a gay medieval historical, done by Christine Griffin, who did all the In The Company of Men covers. She’s fantastic! It’s a ménage, in case you didn’t pick that up from the cover. This cover says it all. Three gorgeous men. Two alphas and one sexy, impish little red-headed sub. What the artist couldn’t relay on the cover was that my sub is also a deaf mute. So covers can’t do it all, but if you get a good one, one that makes a reader stop and take a second look, then it’s a good cover.

Covers are the gateway drug to your book. They are what tempts a reader to give your book a try, to take a chance, unable to resist the cover’s mystique and allure. Once they’ve stopped to look, your blurb and excerpt take it from there.
LL_CP3_EdwardUnconditionally For Edward Unconditionally, having the little bulldog Winston on the cover let readers know this story had a dog in it that played a major role in the story. And for those who are love a “dog” story, it caught their eye and pulled them in. And they weren’t disappointed, because Winston plays a big role in the book.

Covers should capture the essence of the story. They shouldn’t promise something the book doesn’t deliver. If I’d written a story with no dog, and then put the dog on the cover, readers would have gone ballistic, and rightly so. A good cover artist knows these things. They know how to deliver a cover that will pique readers’ interest.

Some people don’t care what the cover is like, others do. But no one likes a cover that has nothing to do with the book, or gives a reader the wrong impression.
David’s Dilemma is moody, angsty, and the cover says that. If I’d put that cover on a romantic comedy, readers would have said WTF!

That’s why filling out your art form, if you get to do one, is so vitally important. Put down all the elements of your hero/heroine, anything you think captures the mood of the book, its tone, setting, etc. All those help artists create the perfect cover for your book.

HeartOfAWarrior_TLane_500X800 For my new pen name, Theodora Lane, my cover artist Georgia Woods and I worked hand-in-hand to make this debut book, an urban fantasy vampire book, Heart of a Warrior, really shine. We wanted sexy, dark, urban. I think we nailed it. It comes out August 1st.

ColiseumSquare Again, Trace Zaber got it right in Coliseum Square, a gothic gay romance, coming out July 14th. He read my cover art form, and picked a picture of a house, the house I described in the book, right down to the third floor rooms. Amazing!

Let me say something about working with cover artists. Most of the time, you never get the chance to talk to the artist, instead you might go through an intermediary. That’s fine, as long as you know you can tell that person your honest opinion. I don’t mean nitpick, but I do mean speak up if the image is awful, not what your story is about, or doesn’t set the right tone. Ultimately, they will thank you, because it might just cost you and them sales.

This doesn’t mean be a pain in the ass. Far from it. But like your editor, your cover artist is a partner in the success of your book. You’re all a team, all working to deliver a book readers will pick up, read, love and recommend. That’s why I love working with publishers – being a part of a team. I’ve done the self-publish thing, and it’s just not for me, not right now. Maybe in the future, but not now. And that’s just me, no one else.

So for now, I look forward to my next book cover. The anticipation, the surprise, the pleasure in getting the perfect cover! I’m hooked on the rush.

Share your favorite book covers with me. They don’t have to be mine, they can be yours or someone else’s that spurred you to buy the book.
(Please, no examples of horrible covers, only the good stuff.)

Guest Blogger Jorja Lovett @jorjalovett

The ladies of Love, Lust and Laptops would like to welcome author Jorja Lovett to the purple velvet couch today.

Jorja has a new book out with Total-E-Bound, and she has agreed to answer my nosy questions and give us a sneak peek of her book, The Wolf on the Hill

Welcome, Jorja! Are you getting excited about your latest release?

Hi! Thanks for having me here to share Wolfie with you. The Wolf on the Hill is the first book in my series– The Wild Irish Wolves. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this book. Since Caleb came knocking at my door in his bike leathers, looking all sexy and bad ass, I’ve been totally in love with him. I hope you enjoy his story.
Tell us a little about your book.

The Wolf on the Hill is set in the fictional shifter community of Olcan Hills, in the Northern Irish countryside. Caleb Jackson is the rebel son of the late pack master and has only come back to sell his father’s house. When he gets together with the usually prim and proper Mia Blake, it makes for a scorching hot affair! But someone is lurking in the shadows, determined they won’t get their happy-ever-after.

What draws you to write paranormal romance?

I love paranormal romance coz anything goes! Seriously, you can create your own little worlds with packs of sexy, growly wolf shifters, or masterful vampires with a BDSM fetish. What’s not to love?

Are you working on another book? If so, tell us about it.

I’ve just signed the contract for the second book in the series and it will follow on with Rory’s story from book one. I don’t want to give too much away but let’s just say there’s plenty of emotion to go with the sex in this one.

I’ve also started a new series of stories set in a department store, where there’s a steamy romance going on in every floor.

How does that writing process work for you?

Oh dear. I’m so disorganised it’s not funny. I write longhand in my ever increasing collection of notebooks, as and when the mood takes me. I do my editing as I type the manuscript and it’s quite a slow process – partly due to the fact I’m easily distracted. Oh look naked pictures of Joe Manganiello…

Who is your favorite author?
I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don’t know lol My reading habits spread across such a wide variety of genres it’s impossible to choose just one.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading C.A Szarek’s Collision Force at the minute, and it’s fab!

What do you do to get in the mood to write?

I lock myself in the bedroom away from squabbling teenage boys, with my notebook and pen, laptop, and choccies.

What is the easiest and hardest thing about writing?

I love setting up ‘the meet’ between my characters and creating the spark between them. The ideas come easily, but I guess the hardest part for me is pushing myself to get to the end of the story. I work better with deadlines!

What is your writing day like once you start a book?

Er, like someone with a very short attention span. I’ll write a few pages, check facebook, check goodreads, check book rankings, make myself a cup of tea. And repeat.

Short Answer Questions:

Favorite TV Show: True Blood. Any excuse to see Joe Manganiello get his kit off.

Guilty Pleasure: Watching and singing along to Glee

Cat or dog?: Dog. They’re so loyal and loving.

Your male characters – boxers, briefs, or commando?: Boxers…although commando is very tempting…

Favorite Food: Chocolate. That’s a food group, right?

If you could choose to be a paranormal creature, what would you be?: I have to choose wolf shifter so I can run naked in the hills with Caleb and Rory <grin>

Where can your readers reach you?

I’m usually procrastinating somewhere on the internet. Here are a few of my hideouts: Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Website, Pinterest

Do you have a blurb and an excerpt you’d like to share?
Of course!

Book one in The Wild Irish Wolves Series.


Can two stubborn wolf shifters let down their guards long enough to take a chance on love?
Lone wolf Caleb Jackson is only back in town long enough to sell his late father’s house, and the bad memories with it. He never expected to find his mate.
Good girl Mia Blake never behaves badly. Except for the time she shifts into her wolf, chases a stranger through Olcan Hills, and has the hottest sex of her life on the forest floor.
He has no desire to settle down. She is afraid to upset her family. But, with someone determined to destroy Caleb’s inheritance, and his secret fling with Mia getting hot and heavy, moving on isn’t as easy as he’d hoped.
*Warning: This one is hot!*
Rain soaked Mia’s fur as she bounded through the woods bordering the Olcan Hills, relishing every inch of earth mashed beneath her claws. Trees became nothing more than a blur as she raced by, running to find her release out here where she answered to no one but nature. This was freedom.
When she reached the top of the hill she came to a standstill and released her primal scream of frustration in a howl, unleashing everything she couldn’t say to her overbearing family, pouring every hidden truth of who she really was into one long mournful call.
In the distance, another wolf echoed her cry and answered with one of his own. This was the reason her mother despised her shifting into her wolf form. She went kind of crazy and forgot all sense of danger in the excitement. Exactly the reason why she did it in secret. And now, here she was, totally exposed in the Northern Irish countryside, crouched and listening out for the intruder’s approach.
Snapping twigs and rustling leaves marked his stealthy journey towards her but she stood her ground, regardless of how loudly her heart was beating in her ears. The wind carried his scent and raised the hackles along her spine when she sniffed the air. Another shifter, but one she didn’t recognise. Big bro would use her pelt for a rug if he found out she’d strayed beyond the boundary.
Amber eyes glowed in the dark shadows as the large grey wolf stalked through the forest. She bowed in submission. Even if she had a clue how to fight, he was double her size and twice as powerful. He growled a low warning and sniffed her with interest, his wet nose nudging her clammy fur. Did he expect her to roll over and show her belly? Pride wouldn’t let her, but she was careful not to make eye contact as he circled around her twice in case he took it as a challenge.
She only lifted her head when she saw him pad away, heading back to the cover of the trees. He stopped, looked back at her, and cocked his head to one side. When she didn’t move he returned and nipped her ear. She yelped in surprise and indignation. Of all the nerve!
The rules of engagement were abandoned in the heat of her outrage and, in a snarling frenzy, she launched herself at him. For an animal so large, the grey wolf moved gracefully, dodging her attack to race ahead and leaving Mia in dogged pursuit.
Tree branches tore at her skin as she ploughed heedlessly into the woodland, but the pain dulled in the exhilaration of the chase. As they wove their way through the undergrowth, Mia’s anger subsided to let her long-neglected sense of fun take over.
He wanted her to follow him. She knew that from the glances he kept throwing back at her. So she stopped and slipped quietly behind the stump of an uprooted oak, waiting to see what he would do. White wisps of steam escaped from her nostrils as she fought to get her breath back and suddenly the area seemed too quiet.
With a thud Grey leapt onto the tree stump, and leant back onto his haunches ready to pounce. Mia took off again and this time she was the hunted. She didn’t get very far before he sprang and knocked her off her feet.
In a tangle of limbs they rolled through the leafy debris of the forest floor, shifting into their human form as they came to rest, with her pinned to the ground by a hard, muscular, naked body.
“Well, that was fun.” He grinned down at her, making no attempt to get off her, his green eyes full of mischief.
“If you say so.” Mia’s heart still raced but she was at enough of a disadvantage wedged underneath him without admitting she enjoyed the capture as much as the chase.
“I didn’t hurt you, did I?” He bent his head to kiss the scratches marking her shoulder and suddenly the only ache she felt was hidden deep inside.
“No.” She swallowed hard as he ventured closer to her already puckered nipples.
“Do you want me to stop?” His hot breath on her sensitive skin engulfed her in a tide of hormones she hadn’t been ruled by in a long time, if ever.
Maybe a piece of her wolf was still in her system, thriving on the excitement and danger, but she was horny, and ripe for the picking. “No.”
With a need to touch, to taste this handsome stranger on her tongue, she manoeuvred enough room to free her hands and wind them into his dark blond hair, pulling him down into a kiss.
He massaged her breasts, first with his hand, quickly followed by his mouth. The sucking and licking around her straining pink tips made her arousal too great to bear. She writhed against him, wet and waiting, but he let her suffer further still whilst he covered her mounds in tiny, exquisite bites.
Bewitched by the woods and her fantasy lover, she swapped the dull reality of her life for this moment, cavorting like the sort of woodland nymph she longed to be. Someone who lived without fear of consequences or judgement.
She wanted him. Prim and proper Mia Blake, who never stepped out of line, was lying naked in the woods with a stranger’s erection pressing into her abdomen, and she loved it. A restlessness seized hold as her body cried out with need. Her limbs trembled, her fingers and toes curled, waiting for that final act of completion. As dusk settled around them and an ethereal fog swirled between the trees, she lost herself in the erotic dream and let him sink into her.

Available from Total-E-Bound, Amazon, ARe, Bookstrand


Thanks Jorja!!!!  Let us know when book two comes out!

Guest Blogger Doris O’Connor @MamaD8

The ladies of Love, Lust and Laptops would like to welcome author Doris O’Connor to the purple velvet couch today.
Doris has a new book coming out from Evernight Publishing, and she has agreed to answer my nosy questions and give us a sneak preview of her book, The Orgasm Project
Welcome, Doris! Are you getting excited about your new release?
Getting excited? Lol! Hey, that wasn’t a new satellite in orbit, that was me, going loopy.

This book is a Paranormal Ménage. What drew you to this genre?

Well if you ask my editor she’d say I’ve gone back to writing shifters so she can’t make me delete the growls. You see, I do find a growling man incredibly sexy. She is forever telling me my contemporary heroes growl too much, but I ask you, is that even possible?
On a serious note, I love a good paranormal story, and what can be hotter than two delicious heroes lavishing you with attention. I mean lavishing attention on the heroine of course, yeah that’s what I mean…

I love the world building that comes with a paranormal story, the endless scope to be different, and the ability to truly torture my heroes. The sheer power of a paranormal hero, he could just as soon eat you, as …. Well eat you, if you get my drift 😉

Tell us a little about your book.
The Orgasm project started out as flash fiction story and Carter and Jake kept niggling at me until I sat down and told their story. Everyone deserves screaming orgasms, right? So when my heroine confesses to her best friend that she has never had the big O with a man, Maria takes matters into her own hands. Her brothers have been after an introduction for months, so she finally does throw them together.

What follows is lots of hot sex, a journey of self-discovery, plenty of humour and above all love.

What draws you to write paranormal romance?
See Above 🙂
Are you working on another book? If so, tell us about it.

I’m always working on something. My current wip is another shifter story, involving a wolf shifter this time and his long time human friend. When she gets attacked one night, everything changes. She’s under the Alpha’s protection. The problem is this particular Alpha wants her all to himself, and she doesn’t believe in any of this hocus pocus stuff.
So, think friends to lovers with a good dose of danger and BDSM thrown into the mix.
How does that writing process work for you?

I’m a panster, so if the characters are talking, I write. If they don’t, I don’t. It’s as simple and as awesome as that for me. Thankfully I never seem to be short of demanding heroes tapping me on the shoulder.
Who is your favorite author?

Oh goodness, too many to mention to be honest.
What are you reading now?

Winning Her Racy Heart by Tara Rose

What do you do to get in the mood to write?

Listen to the voices in my head. It’s the only way to get them to shut up. That makes me sound like a loon, but my characters are very real to me, and arguing with them is useless. I’ve learned to do as I’m told.
What is the easiest and hardest thing about writing?

Easiest: the ideas. I’m never short of ideas.
Hardest: finding the time to actually sit down and write
What is your writing day like once you start a book?

Well, not sure there is a typical day. I’m a mum first and foremost, so I’ll prise my eyes open at the crack of dawn, growl at anything that moves until I had my first coffee, lol, and then get the kids organized for school. The rest of the day passes in a blur of housework, laundry, keeping my toddler entertained, more laundry, social media, promo, and if I’m lucky some writing too.

After the afternoon school run things really get hectic in this house, so I usually don’t get any serious writing done until the kids are in bed. When I am actively writing a story I set myself a 2k a day minimum goal, and won’t go to bed until I’ve reached it.
Short Answer Questions:
Favorite TV Show:  True Blood
Guilty Pleasure: Loong soaks in the bath, and I do mean loooooong!
Cat or dog?: both
Your male characters – boxers, briefs, or commando?: boxer briefs
Favorite Food:  chocolate. That is definitely food, don’t believe any of that nonsense proclaiming it isn’t.
If you could choose to be a paranormal creature, what would you be?:  tiger shifter
Where can your readers reach you?  They can stalk me in these places 🙂

Website Blog Twitter  Facebook Pinterest  Evernight Publishing
Amazon All Romance E-Books BookStrand Barnes&Noble

Do you have a blurb and an excerpt you’d like to share?
Sure do, brace yourselves it’s hawt 😉


What’s a girl to do when her best friend confides her inability to orgasm? Set up the Orgasm Project of course, and Maria knows just the guys to do it. Full of themselves her hot as Hades brothers might be, but at least they are safe. What can possibly go wrong?

Anastasia wants the ground to swallow her whole, when she meets the twins. How embarrassing can this be, even if the gorgeous hunks set her knickers aflame with just one look?

Jake and Carter know their mate when they see her, and nothing is going to stop these cougar shifters from claiming her. Their night of passion leads to discoveries neither one of them is prepared for.

Has their bite awakened a monster or their destiny?

“What if I don’t want to go home with you?”
She opened her eyes to find Jake smiling down at her. Carter’s gaze, too, sought hers through the rear view mirror, and a shiver of unease went down her spine at the disapproval she read in his eyes—eyes that bled from blue to golden and back again as she watched in stunned fascination.
“What are you?” The question left her lips before she could stop herself, and she inwardly groaned at her stupidity.
“You know what we are.” Jake said, his hot breath a whisper’s breadth away from her neck as he sniffed her again. “Look into yourself and tell me that you don’t feel this connection. I know you do. Your body gives you away as surely as your sweet scent. You’re wet for us just thinking about what we might do to you, and that’s not fear I can smell, but arousal. You want us as much as we want you, have wanted you from the first moment we caught your scent all those months ago.”
“You can’t be serious.”
Anastasia shook her head and pushed against his chest. His heartbeat thundered under her fingertips in tune with her own galloping rhythm. The fact that he seemed as affected as her by whatever was happening between them gave her a heady rush of feminine power. Liquid arousal pooled between her thighs and slicked the top of her legs. She put up no resistance to Jake’s questing digits trailing up her inner thigh. Underneath the skimpy dress she had worn at Maria’s insistence, his hand inched ever upwards until his knuckles brushed against the damp fabric covering her slit, and she bit back a moan when his thumb found her clit. That normally shy little bundle of nerves contracted under that slight touch and seemed to swell in need. Jake caught her groan in his mouth, and Anastasia forgot any objections she might have had at the first swipe of his tongue inside her mouth.
If she thought he smelled good, then he tasted even better. His musk exploded on her tongue, and she opened to his gentle insistence. He swooped in and took possession of the kiss. One hand fisted in her hair while the other still showed homage to her little nubbin, and she gasped into the ever more passionate kiss, when one of his incredibly long fingers slid under the elastic of her thong. She was so wet that he slipped right into the tight clasp of her body, and her internal muscles contracted around that digit. He growled low in his throat, and she ground herself against his hand as his thumb settled on her clit.
He added another finger and then a third, thrusting in and out of her needy pussy in tune with his tongue’s thrusts inside her mouth, and Anastasia gave herself up to the ever more urgent demands of her body.  Her hands fisted in his shirt, as the tingles started deep inside her core. Like a tidal wave of sensation they grew and tumbled forth, retreating a bit with every thrust, only to double in force with every faster pump of his fingers inside her channel.
The car lurched round a corner and then came to an abrupt stop. Cool air rushed into the heated interior, and Anastasia moaned her denial when Jake withdrew his fingers. In the blink of an eye she was freed out of her seat belt, and Jake broke the kiss to shift her body backwards. Carter’s strong hands gripped her thighs, and she caught a glimpse of his glowing eyes, before he buried his head between her thighs. Her underwear gave way with an audible rip, and then his hot breath on her swollen folds robbed her of any coherent thoughts.
“My turn to taste her, brother.” The growled words vibrated against her slit, seconds before his tongue delved into her quivering channel. Anastasia arched her back in desperate need to get closer to the hot mouth he used to such devastating effect on her clit. Jake chuckled in her ear, and she saw him lick his fingers, slick with her arousal. The sight was incredibly erotic, and she could taste herself in the kiss he gave her. Carter chose that moment to bite down on her clit, and she screamed. The barely functioning side of her brain marveled at that need-filled scream, muffled as it was by Jake’s kiss, and she clamped her thighs around Carter’s head, as she started to tumble over that elusive edge no man had ever managed to help her over.
Unlike the weak orgasms she had managed by her own hand, this one took her breath away. All sense of time and reason disappeared as her body convulsed under the hands of her lovers. Carter pushed her over that edge again, and again, and again, whilst Jake’s hands played with her breasts and nipples. He rolled each hard nub between his thumb and forefinger, pinching hard, and the sharp pain zinged straight to her clit.
Jake finally broke the kiss and nibbled his way down her neck as her body shook in delicious aftershocks.
“All ours,” the men grumbled in unison.

Buy Links:

Thanks for sharing that with us today Doris! Good luck with the new release is sounds great!