Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best Of... YAY!!!

What a great end to the year. Sugar B made it on a Best Of list for 2011.

Happy New Years

We don't tend to do a lot of personal posts here and for a good reason: we're old and we forget what we were going to say. But I did want to take a moment and be serious.

2011 was a hard year for me. I lost my job at the beginning of summer and began a new job at the end of summer. I'm now employed at less hours for less money and struggling hard to keep my head above water.

Some amazing things have come from this however. I discovered that I'm very serious about being successful at my life. I might not have as much money to spend but what I spend isn't wasted.

My family has been crazy supportive (and that means child, siblings and Carolyn). When people love you, they understand who you are and do their best to see you in the best light you shine in.

I'm not yet making enough money from writing to pay any bills but that is my goal. I'm hoping 2012 will bring both Carolyn and I more success as writers and as writing partners.

I especially hope 2012 brings more light and happiness for all the people who touch our lives. Each of the people out there who take the time to read the blog, interact on Facebook or Twitter, read the writing...

each person out there who touch us with the stories you write. All the amazing authors whether best selling or starting out. We're thankful for you and are looking forward to more adventures, more laughs and more sharing.

We're looking forward to a new year and new experiences with all of you.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

What's Coming Up in 2012

2012 is going to be a bit busy for us Old Farts.

Carolyn has Song of Life and Mariposa coming out with Lyrical Press. Lori has The Stone Crow coming from Lyrical also. Together our not-at-all-piece-of-crap Letters From Greece is also being released by Lyrical.

We love Lyrical.

We're working on a story about hot dogs and Carolyn is still struggling with Los Defensores which might be completed by 2015.

In other plans it's my intention to fix my upstairs bathroom and learn to can. I have a desire to learn to make relishes and jams.

We enjoyed having guests this December and thank everyone who came to talk about their books. Our hope is that we can have more guests perhaps a little more spread out.

What's on your plates for 2012?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stephanie Beck tells A Winter's Tale With Marshmallows

No winter night is complete without marshmallows.

Pregnant and on the run, Mona Renalds is a werewolf with trouble nipping at her heals. She wants a new life for herself and the twins she’s carrying. Embracing the future can’t happen until she finds an alpha male strong enough to take on her former pack leader.

Chris Meyters is alpha of Haven Pack. Mild mannered and progressive, he tries to reverse the archaic methods of his pack’s previous leaders. When Mona comes into his diner requesting sanctuary, his primitive instinct to claim her nearly consumes him, but he fights himself to give her the choices she was denied in her former pack.

Surrounded by the Pennsylvania winter of snow, sledding parties and creamy cups of hot chocolate, Chris and Mona are prepared to do whatever it takes in order to maintain the domestic bliss they’ve found with each other.


Chris leaned close and nuzzled the side of her face. She could feel him breathe her in, and she did the same and smiled.

“That’s not a good idea.”

Mona thought he might say that. “It’s a very good idea,” she replied. “I won’t beg, though, not for what you need to want as much as I do. A family, pups, I don’t blame you at all for hesitating. It’s a big order you weren’t expecting. And my family…well, I understand. I’m sorry I asked.”

She started to pull away, the heady feeling of lust and comfort ebbing, when she realized what it was she’d asked of him. He’d actually let her down very sweetly. The hormones and cocoa had gone to her head and made her much too loose.

Mona scooted to the edge of the counter, but before her feet touched the floor his lips were on hers, consuming them with a passion she’d never experienced. She dove right in, delving deeper into his mouth as he tried to do the same. Her belly was much too big to press as close as she wanted, but it wasn’t stopping either of them from doing their best to crawl beneath the other’s skin.

“Stop, stop,” she gasped, the willpower to pull away coming from a place she didn’t know existed. She couldn’t breathe, and more importantly, she didn’t want him guilt-tripped into something he didn’t really want.

“You don’t understand,” he growled and snuggled her hips to his erection, the heat and hardness penetrating through both of their layers of sweats. “I’m not hesitating. You don’t— I do want you. Everything feels right, but it’s not fair to you, so I’m going to let this be for now. I’m not pushing you away or saying ‘no.’ Oh, hell no. I’m just giving you time to decide what you want.”

He started to pull away, and this time she grabbed him, tugging him back until they were face-to-face. She was strong, but she also knew he allowed it. “Then no sex, no mating. But please come with me to bed.”

“And do what?” he asked suspiciously.

Her lips kicked up in a small grin. “Snuggle?”


He sounded incredulous, and she figured it probably wasn’t the offer he usually got. But then he smiled, and she didn’t need him to speak when he lifted her in his arms, taking her weight with ease. He started for the bedroom, then doubled back to the kitchen. Mona frowned at him when he motioned to the counter with his head.

“Your cocoa, Miss Renalds.”

She smiled and, still in Chris’s arms, took the warm cup of chocolate from the counter and held it between her palms. His grin as he carried her down the hall made her think he might be anticipating some of her treat—silly wolf.

Cocoa and a snuggle. She sighed with the first complete pleasure she’d felt in much too long.

Writing is like the perfect solitary sport. I believe that writers, like athletes, need to be prepped and ready before they can write. What are your routines/preparations before you sit down to write?

I have no routines or preparations...though I hate writing with a full bladder. I enjoy a cup of coffee as I write and sometimes I have trail mix, but other than that, I don't need the details.

Do you have habits as a writer? Always outlining? Never outlining? Keep a notebook with character information?

I like to make notes at the very start, putting the names of the characters, where they are and the basic information about them so I can swing back and check when I need someone to look deeply into anothers *add color here* eyes. I do love a good notebook for ideas and I have waaaayy too many at the moment.

What was the inspiration behind this book?

A Winter Tale With Marshmallows combines some of my favorite things. I love Christmas--to me it is 100% magic and love. There is a strong homey feel to my character Mona. She longs for a home and family and stability and I think at Christmastime many people also feel that way. And the werewolf element--who doesn't love a werewolf story? The combination of those elements made A Winter Tale With Marshmallows a joy to write.

Being that we’re now in full-out holiday mode, what would you like to ask Santa for this year? (And if you say world peace, we’re allowing the reindeer to eat your chocolate).

While peace on earth is on my list--back off deer!--I am hoping for new curtains in my living room.

What would a reader discover in your book that excites you? (Such as, I always have characters based on us old farts but usually they’re the strangest or crudest ones. Carolyn usually includes a dinosaur or two as a small memento of her childhood.)

In A Winter Tale With Marshmallows Mona bakes. I love baking and I think it's reflected in her. I have one of Mona's recipes up on my website. Mona's S'more Pancakes can be found under the Crafty Paranormals heading at

Did you always dream of being a writer when you grew up? Any words of advice to aspiring writers?

I planned on being the president for a few years, but other than that stint, writing has always been on my mind. The best advice I can think of is to keep writing and to be patient. That sounds vague and not very helpful, but at the end of the day, it's what a writer needs to do to get where they want to be.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Lookie Here!!

Lyrical Press is having a contest. Go on over and read about it. There's some great prizes being offered.

And if you decide to enter = Good Luck!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I Can't Edit Lori's Stuff, so ....

I've made another post. :-D

A very generous Christmas gift from Ilona Andrews:


Merry Christmas Y'all

Two Old Farts wish everyone a very merry Christmas. Except Justin Beiber.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Welcoming Wendy Ely and her Midnight Secrets

Will Miguel’s whispered midnight promises ever see the light of day?

Content with her job as small town waitress and roll of single mom, Allison believes she's better off without a man. In her opinion, all they bring is chaos - and that includes the father of her child. So why has Miguel’s arrival shaken her so badly?

It's not easy for Allison to keep Miguel a secret with someone set on shutting down her bakery and the local sheriff believing she harbors a vendetta against the town because of her tormented past.

Keeping her secrets and clearing her name just might be harder than Allison ever imagined.

Content warning; This book contains cold family situations during the day and hot nights.


She wasn’t like Christine, but that didn’t mean she would accept what he’d done. But how long would he be able to keep it from her? Each time they were together, he felt the words linger on the tip of his tongue, ready to slip out at any moment.

As he drove down Allison’s street, a nervousness settled over him. All the lights were off in the house. She always left her light on, but not tonight. He hoped she hadn’t fallen asleep. Even though he felt like a teenager again, sneaking in her house at night, he understood the issues she was facing tonight. Her mom was sick and no sitter. He’d do what he had to in order to see her.

As soon as he pulled into the driveway and flipped off the headlights, the front door opened. He climbed out, set the alarm on his car and hoped the beep didn’t wake anyone inside. She smiled at him as he ran across the yard and up the steps. His lips planted against hers.As far as he was concerned, he’d been away from her long enough.

She held the door open for him as she put her finger to her lips and said, “Shh.”

He nodded as he walked in and followed her down the hall. He peeked into a poster-covered bedroom and smiled at the sleeping teenager. “Hannah?” he whispered. Usually the doors were shut, preventing any sort of view of the kids.

She smiled back at him and stopped outside another room. “Kyle.” She pointed to her sleeping son.

She moved further down the hall, shut another bedroom door before stepping into her room. Done in creamy tones, the effectwas very girly, but he liked it. It somehow fit Allison. She seemed nervous as she folded her hands in front of her and looked at him with wide eyes. “You can sit down,” she whispered, motioning toward the bed.

Miguel sprawled out on the bed and reached for her. “Come here.”

She slowly walked over to him as he kicked off his shoes. With her hand in his, she sat by him on the bed. He pulled her down until her lips met his again, his heart pounding in his chest. He had to tell her the secret so they could move forward. The thought of telling her twirled around in his mind as he tried to focus on her tongue pressing against his.

Pulling away from him, she slid up to the pillows and under the covers. Her mouth formed into a sexy smile as she patted the bed next to her. He loved the itty bitty shorts she wore and the tight t-shirt hugging her curves. Even though the shape of her body made her a little uncomfortable, he had never seen a sexier woman in his life and if it took every day to convince her of that attraction, it would be worth it to him.

But first the secret.

He moved to her side, but leaned up on his elbow so he could look in her eyes. If she told him to go away, he would honor thatrequest, even though it would be less painful if she ripped his heart out.Taking a strand of her hair and looping it around his finger, he said,“Allison.”

“Yes.” Her gaze moved down to his lips, letting him know she was ready for another night of hot passionate lovemaking.

“I have something to tell you.” His heart pounded. His hands trembled. His heart prepared itself to break.


Writing is like the perfect solitary sport. I believe that writers, like athletes, need to be prepped and ready before they can write. What are your routines/preparations before you sit down to write?

Life is so busy for me right now.I go to college full time, work, homeschool my son, and my daughter attends a performing arts high school so we are often running to performances (she does ballet and guitar). I’m also a single mom so all of the chores rest on my shoulders. What does this have to do with my writing routine? Well, when I have a free moment, I have to just flop down at the computer and write without any routine beforehand. My writing time right now is stolen time from another job.

Before life turned crazy for me, I would have a big coffee (preferably Starbucks) and put on headphones with my favorite writing music.

Do you have habits as a writer? Always outlining? Never outlining? Keep a notebook with character information?

I never outline but do have a file with character information. I feel like I have to know the characters a little before starting the story. I might have pictures of people who resemble the characters a little bit but this isn’t required. I always write character profiles though. Not plotting ahead of time lets me discover the story as the reader would… a little at a time. I love the thrill of not knowing what happens next.

What was the inspiration behind this book?

I became inspired to write Midnight Secrets while I was in the middle of Confessions, the first in the series. I don’t like writing series so I had no intentions on expanding the lives of the people in Wilson, Arizona. Allison Montgomery is such a strong character that she had a hard time staying in the background. I needed to put her in her own book, to write her story. She became the main character in Midnight Secrets.

Being that we’re now in full-out holiday mode, what would you like to ask Santa for this year? (And if you say world peace, we’re allowing the reindeer to eat your chocolate).

I’d really like a Kindle. That’s right, I’m probably the only one you know who doesn’t own one. I often win books or have author friends sending me ebooks. To read them I have to sit on the computer for hours. I don’t like to do it that way. A Kindle would be so much better!

What would a reader discover in your book that excites you? (Such as, I always have characters based on us old farts but usually they’re the strangest or crudest ones. Carolyn usually includes a dinosaur or two as a small memento of her childhood.)

Coffee of some type usually appears somewhere in my books. Maybe its because I absolutely love the stuff?

Did you always dream of being a writer when you grew up? Any words of advice to aspiring writers?

I didn’t dream of being a writer when I grew up but I did start writing as soon as I was able to put the words together. I believe that my first attempt at a romance novel was at age 13.

My most important advice would be totake 5 minutes a day to write. Everyone has 5 minutes. Scribble the words in a notebook during a commercial of your favorite show, set the paper down on the counter and write while you are cooking... but why? Because it helps get you into the habit of writing every day. Also, often times I find myself planning on only 5 minutes and then I get sucked into the zone. I produce my best work.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

An Iron Announcement

We have officially decided to make Melean our official squee of 2012. Just sayin'.

Our Iron winner hasn't been decided because my name chooser is sleeping. (Others use random integer choosers, I read the names to my 10 year old and she decides. Trust me, her choices are random. We'll email the winner today, we promise.)

Wendy Ely will be joining us tomorrow and then it's Christmas. Despite the official announcements from the North Pole, we Old Farts do believe we can redeem ourselves in the next couple of days.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Meljean Brook, y'all

Carolyn here - hiya.

Lori squeed herself into a muddled puddle on the floor ... okay, that sentence might be misunderstood, so let me begin again.

Lori is incapacitated due to an extremely blissful case of fangirl-itis and so it falls to me, the older (and wiser) Fart to carry on. Which, believe me is not a problem - except ... Meljean Brook might see what I'm writing here. She might notice run on sentences and comma splices and misuse of adverbs and semi-colons!

That's okay, I have some British somewhere in my ancestry, so I'll keep a stiff upper lip and carry on.

Sorry about that. As older Farts are wont to do, I tend to wander off topic a bit. But I'm back on track now.

First up, my impression of the latest in the The Iron Seas series, Heart of Steel which can be summed up in one word - SQUEEEEEEEEE. However, I'll try to be a little more succinct.

Then we're going to have a 'contrast and compare' with some bookcovers and last, but most certainly not least, a short question and answer session with noted author Meljean Brook herself, who graciously accepted Lori's pleas for an interview.

Heart of Steel

This is the story of the unusal courtship of Archimedes Fox and Yasmeen, owner and captain of the Lady Corsair airship. These two are made for each other. Yasmeen is the alpha in this book, Archimedes a beta and yet ... that's not quite right. There's so much more to him.

He does daringly foolish things and manages to pull them off and still keep himself alive. I guess it's that he doesn't have the personality of an alpha. He doesn't brood, he doesn't try to dominate Yasmeen - unless he's sure he can win.

Watching these two feint and argue, while they inevitably learn more about each other, was sheer pleasure. Yasmeen is kickass, but every act of cruelty has a valid reason behind it, one that allows her to remain captain of her airship and dominent among her peers.

I'm not going to give away any plot devices - oh no, that would be like writing a synopsis and I don't care who's doing the review, they never do it as well as the author, so you'll just have to get the book and read it.

Where was I?

Oh yes. Well, this isn't really a review anyway because you know - review/synopsis?

Okay, I suck at this. But may I just say, if you want to read a great adventure, learn more about Yasmeen's background, and hang with a couple of unusual but absolutely great characters, this is the book for you.

And despite Meljean's answer to the last interview question, she'll have to write hard and fast to top Archimedes Fox. He's at the top of my hero list. However, I have no doubt she can do it, and I can't wait for the next book.


Now then. The 'contrast and compare'.

Consider these two bookcovers:

The one on the top is the British cover of Iron Duke. Is that not Rhys??? Huh? Huh?

That is Rhys!!

I like it sooooo much better than the US cover. I always thought the guy in that picture (who CANNOT be Rhys!) needed an uplift, or at the very least a training bra. The English cover chickened out on Minna though. She doesn't look Asian enough to be the brunt of racism. But the cover itself is beautiful.

Now check out these two covers:

On the top is the German cover for Heart of Steel. Is that not Yasmeen?? What a gorgeous cover. I lust after that cover! On the right is the US cover, and I'm telling you right now, that is NOT Archimedes Fox! Where's his waistcoat? And if he were staring danger in the face, he'd be grinning like a madman (which he may be, but I love him anyway).

So far, by my count, it's Europe 2, USA 0. Really, can't US publishers get away from man titty?

Don't mean to get on a soap box here, so we shall continue on to the piece de resistance.

Here, in her own words, is Meljean Brook.

When did steampunk become a genre? Did you have an interest in it from its beginning?

The first works that we consider steampunk showed up in the seventies and eighties. Of course there were works that can be considered steampunk earlier than that (the oft-referenced Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are not steampunk, however--they wrote science fiction, not historical science fiction) and the term itself was invented in the 80s and applied to books like Morlock Night and The Anubis Gates.

Personally, I've always loved the idea of science fiction and gadgetry in a historical setting. Whether its something like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court or Wild Wild West, there's just a wonderful sense of adventure and invention (and romance!) about the genre that appeals to me.

You have a complicated, very realistic world in The Iron Seas series. Which came first, the world building or the storyline?

The world building came first ... sort of. I'd developed the basic idea of the world before I began writing anything in it, but there are bits and pieces that I developed in response to some need from the storyline (usually something that had to be explained, or I needed a conflict -- and so I peeled away a few more layers in the world building until I had what I needed.) It's the same now, as I'm going deeper into the series. I know many things about the world and the general history, but as I move around the world, I need to develop a more specific history for each location -- those smaller, localized conflicts and issues that shape the characters' viewpoints.

You've made many people happy with your ethnic heroines. But their ethnicity was never pushed into my face (except for Min, with her experiences of racism). Was this a conscious decision?

That's a difficult question to answer -- because everything about the stories is a conscious decision, so: Yes, definitely. But if you mean: Did I set out to create ethnic heroines just to have ethnic heroines ... nah, not at all. I did want to show that the world is diverse, but above everything else, the decision was more a function of the story and the worldbuilding than anything else.

For example, Mina. The racism you mentioned is something that she faces every day -- and that racism is based on the history of England and its occupation by the Horde. So the process of showing her character was also a process of explaining the world, and so all of the little details ended up doing double duty (which, as a writer, is incredibly helpful.)

But it's not *just* that, of course. This is a world that is populated by many different races, not just the Europeans who fled to the New World, and not just the English who remained in England. It would be kind of silly to have this huge world available to me, but only use certain races to tell the story of that worldhrough. (Anyway, history has already done that.)

How are you going to top Archimedes Fox as a hero????

With vulcanologist David Kentewess in the next book, Riveted. You'll have to let me know if he does it! :-D

My best,

I thank you, Meljean, and so does Lori - or she will when she recovers - for visiting and giving us some insight into your writing process.


To celebrate Meljean and the holidays, we'll give away a copy of Heart of Steel to a random commenter (ebook or paperback) if there are enough commenters to justify a giveaway (more than 5, basically). Otherwise, get your copy ASAP for an amazing and fun read with one of the most original heroes ever written.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Meet Autumn Piper and She's Waiting for Revenge

Waiting for Revenge:

One good heartbreak deserves another.

Mandy plans to leave her husband the minute their month of counseling is over. How can she forgive his outrageous affair? It would almost be funny if the consequences weren't so harsh. They've got kids, and families with strong -- and warped -- opinions on marriage.

Her aunt thinks she should take a page from the black widow spider. Her brother's begging to avenge her broken heart, and their marriage counselor offers to play the willing victim in some payback sex.

While her clueless husband launches a campaign to win her back, Mandy meets Adam, the perfect shoulder to cry on. Will perfect justice prove just how sweet revenge can be when you wait for it?

Content Warning: Real people aren’t all good or all bad. Neither are the characters in this story. The shade of right or wrong you see may depend upon whose glasses you are looking through.

EXCERPT: (Mandy is out to lunch with her bossy big brother Mark, who—despite her best efforts--has caught wind of her marital woes)

We exchange small talk, he tells me some silly story about Jake and his little dirt bike, and we order our food. Mark gets two entrees—two!—and I know he’ll be eating whatever I don’t suck up quick from my own plate. His poor wife doubles all her recipes, just to make sure she has enough for him at every meal.

“How come Jake hasn’t been around this month?” It’s unusual, and I can’t recall being mean to the kid.

Mark looks across the table at me with his eyebrows stretching up a bit closer to his receding hairline, and I have a feeling young Ben has been confiding in his cousin. Naturally, Jake would have repeated his concerns to his dad. Naturally.

“What do you know?” All I can do is shake my head in resignation.

“That you haven’t slept in the same room with Mike since Thanksgiving, and he’s been
showerin’ you with presents the whole time. Been usin’ his dipstick to check somebody else’s oil,huh?”

It must’ve been easy to deduce. After all, I’ve never been cross with Mike for more than a few hours before this. I nod, rolling my eyes at Mark’s silly way of describing The Indiscretion.

“Want me to kick his ass?”

This makes me smile. I hadn’t thought of that before.

“Watcha gonna do about it?”

Same old question, but at least I have an answer. “Nothing till after Christmas. I agreed to go to counseling for a month. But it’s over. Know a good divorce lawyer?”

Oops, I left him wide open to tell a lawyer joke. Never mind that he once wanted to be one. Now he acts like they’re all bad.

“Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, an honest lawyer, and an old drunk are all walking down the street when they spot a hundred dollar bill on the ground. Who gets it?” He barely pauses before delivering his punchline. “The old drunk, because all the rest are mythological.”

Mark waits for me to smile, then gives me the name of a guy he knows who is an effective lawyer. “You tell Mom yet?” He’s looking at me the same way he did when I brought home Mom’s Buick with a big ding in the fender. His eyes say what his mouth mercifully doesn’t: “Bummer, Mand. But better you than me.”

“I wasn’t really planning to tell anybody till after Christmas.”

“Kenna and I were afraid you were thinkin’ of lettin’ Mikey slide.”

“I did consider it, for a while.”

“Why the hell would you do that?” Mark doesn’t get angry often, but he’s pretty irritated right now. Usually Irritated Mark is scary enough to make people comply with his wishes.

I’ll push the envelope though, knowing he’s soft inside. “It’s my life, Mark. And it’s my right to decide who to forgive, and for what.”

He’s looking at me like I’m stupid. The glasses he put on when the server took our menus are coming off. Mark can’t see with glasses. He takes them off to drive. He takes them off to read. He doesn’t actually need them. I know this because one of my best friends works at the optometrist’s office, and she told me Mark begged the doctor—an old friend of his—to give him a prescription, so they got him the lowest one available. Mark has a bit of a complex about people thinking he’s dumb because he’s big. Wearing glasses makes him look smart, and he looks good in them, too.
But now they’re off, and he’s focusing on me, eyes narrowed in either a squint or more profound irritation than before. “That’s just plain stupid, Mandy.”


Writing is like the perfect solitary sport. I believe that writers, like athletes, need to be prepped and ready before they can write. What are your routines/preparations before you sit down to write?

I need to disconnect from the internet, email…any type of distraction. Sometimes if I want to “get the juices flowing,” I’ll work on a jigsaw puzzle, do a sudoku, or even take a brisk walk—any of these will wake up the old brain cells and get them firing again. And I do well with music, but it needs to be in headphones, not from an “external” source like speakers.

Do you have habits as a writer? Always outlining? Never outlining? Keep a notebook with character information?

In the past I’ve been a wild pantser. However… that has gotten me into trouble more than once. So now I try to at least take notes on what I’m writing, and maybe jot down ideas ahead of time if I can’t write them then.

What was the inspiration behind this book?

The first time I went to a local writers’ group meeting, someone mentioned a writing contest, with an entry deadline in two weeks. It was a week before Thanksgiving, and I had no idea what to write about, but decided to come up with something. Holidays seem fraught with emotion—good for most families, and downright awful in others. And since writing a short story presented a challenge for me (my ongoing 1st novel at that point had already capped out around 189k words), I opted for a story that would leave readers to decide the ending for themselves. The premise was this: a woman out for a walk on Thanksgiving, after in-laws had gone home, facing a decision about her marriage after she’d caught her husband fooling around the night before at a party.

While she’s out walking, she meets a man (and they have instant chemistry), who shows obvious interest in her, going so far as to confess he watches her out walking every day. Which is a little creepy and makes his character a little iffy… During this meeting, she feels drawn to him regardless, and ends up spilling her troubles to him. He asks her what she’s going to do about her marriage, but she doesn’t know yet, and leaves him wondering, along with the reader.

I won 3rd place in the writing contest.

But then…

Even though I loved leaving my readers hanging, I’d kind of gotten attached to my main character Mandy. I liked her pithy, smart-ass way of seeing things, and really wanted to see if she’d take her wayward husband back, or go for the new guy. And, being a pantser, I honestly had no idea how it’d turn out. I did know her husband wasn’t all bad, and she wasn’t perfect, and Adam (aka New Guy) wouldn’t be 100% good—because I was tired of stories with perfect lead characters and totally evil bad guys.

Being that we’re now in full-out holiday mode, what would you like to ask Santa for this year? (And if you say world peace, we’re allowing the reindeer to eat your chocolate).

The world can go crazy outside my walls, so long as I get a new Kindle Touch. LOL (I do have a Sony Reader, but the battery is about shot, and I’m tired of dinking around with cables to get books on it—and then half the time there’s some licensing issue and I have to re-download the book and then hook up the Reader again…not the most user-friendly ebook reader out there. Took a long time for me to figure out—and I know it’s not just me, because I’ve helped 2 other people who’ve gotten one and couldn’t figure it out.)

What would a reader discover in your book that excites you? (Such as, I always have characters based on us old farts but usually they’re the strangest or crudest ones. Carolyn usually includes a dinosaur or two as a small memento of her childhood.)

I kind of like to screw with readers by having my characters be both good and bad, rather than the traditional romance good-characters-are-wonderful and bad-characters-are-pure-evil cookie cutouts. Some readers are receptive to this, and others… not so much. And that’s okay with me. A happy ending is about all you can count on for sure in one of my books.

Did you always dream of being a writer when you grew up? Any words of advice to aspiring writers?

When I was about 6, I desperately wanted to be “an artist,” which back then I figured consisted of water paints and giant canvases. Eventually I figured out my talent in that field was rather, erm, absent. By the time I was 9, if I got a creative writing project, I’d run with it. My teacher probably started thinking twice before she handed out fiction assignments, after she got that first 25-pager from me. I still didn’t really consider writing commercially though, until was an adult. An adult probably past her prime, but not interested in facing that fact. So here I am…

Words of advice for aspiring writers? As EIC at Lyrical Press (under a different code name), I’ll give you a couple hints: 1)Don’t try to make your fiction like your high school teacher wanted. Even college creative writing classes really don’t teach you how to write commercial fiction. For that, you really need to hit writing groups online. Get a few critique partners. You’ll not only learn how to write, but you’ll learn how to fix what’s wrong in writing (aka edit). Oh, and 2) Get a few critique partners. Several different people read the same piece of writing and find all different errors, plus come up with many ideas to improve it. You’ll get lots of practice with writing and revising. Plus, all those contacts will know what’s going on in the industry and keep you informed. You’ll not only learn how to write, but you’ll learn how to fix what’s wrong in writing (aka edit). Did I already say that? Since I repeated it, it must be important…

How Carolyn and I Became Published Authors Together (Another Story)

We've been waiting three years to announce it.

Our novel, Letters From Greece, will be published in 2012. Ebook by Lyrical Press and paperback by Marinated Publishing.

We are beside ourselves with happiness.

Letters from Greece is the story of two women who became BFFs on the internet and really need each other as their lives start to fall apart. When things get awful, they run away from their lives to a small Greek island (called Dyvos, in honor of our writing roots) to build new lives.

The island offers them a home, community, and romance. It's told in alternating POV between the characters and it has suspence, romance and a friendship as deep as the ocean.


The glare of light through the arched opening I was moving toward blinded me. My fumbling fingers finally worked the latch on the second tall gate and I stepped out into a vista of rolling hills under a hard blue sky.

There were many things I could have noticed when I could see properly again, and I did in a vague sort of way. The brilliant yellow of wildflowers sweeping in joyous swaths over the contours of the hills; a grouping of tall, thin trees, which I later learned were cypress, and which had been connected for centuries with death and burials--perhaps they guarded an ancient gravesite, or maybe one not so ancient; a white walled house perched atop the highest cliff, its red peaked roof peeking coyly through feathery green bushes.

But my eyes and interest zeroed in on the abandoned dovecote, sitting in solitary splendor only yards from my own back door. It looked like a miniature castle, or maybe a miniature high rise built by a developer who dabbled in medieval re-enactments. One of its turrets was missing, but other than that, it looked to be in pretty good shape. Instead of windows or arrow slits, there were rows of round openings. I brilliantly deduced this was how the doves got in and out. They were high up on the walls—bird high, I thought to myself, with a silent laugh.

The bottom level was smooth, whitewashed stone with no opening but a warped wooden door. It opened surprisingly easily and I entered with the intent to explore and inventory what would be needed, just as if I knew anything about keeping doves.

The acrid miasma of old bird poop, still strong and bitter from being enclosed for lord knew how many years, drove me back outside again. I took in a deep breath and sneezed.

“Bless you.”

The deep voice like to have scared me to death. I whirled around so fast I stumbled and almost fell on my ass. He grabbed my arm and held me steady until I’d found my equilibrium. Physically, at least.

“What happened?” He gently touched my eye with one finger.

I’d forgotten about my eye. It was healing well and gave me no trouble.
“Ran into a door.”

He nodded as if he understood and he probably did. “You getting over it okay?”

I nodded.

“Good. Wouldn’t want a door to ruin the rest of your life and you’re too pretty to be hiding from doors.”

I’d never been much of a one for flirting. I was serious and studious and back when I’d first met Patton, virgin as well. Living with Patton didn’t do a whole lot for my socialization skills.

The man standing before me was someone I wanted to flirt with, if I could only remember how. He didn’t tower over me like Patton, he was dark to Patton’s fairness, and he had the face of a mischievous devil. I knew right off, this man was dangerous. I also knew I didn’t give a damn. The new Min…

“Thank you.” I stole a peek at him. “I saw you yesterday—on the boat. How’s your cow doing?”

He made a prrutt sound. “She’s not mine. But old Stefan wanted to talk of his bargaining skills. That cow is quite a coup for him.”

“Are you American?” He groaned. “Get that a lot, do you?” I smiled.

“You just don’t know. I’m a Harvard grad. Between school and my mother I can talk the talk.”

“I’m Min Hudson—well I guess it’s Bennett now.”

“Nikolas Stefenopolous, just call me Nik. What’s the Min stand for?”

I flushed. I hated my given name. I’d even thought about changing it legally, but of course, it never happened. Like a lot of other things in my life, it just never happened.

“Araminta,” I said reluctantly.

“Araminta…” He sounded like he was savoring the name on his tongue. “I like it, it suits you.”

“How can you know that? You know nothing about me.”

“Then let’s just say it suits the picture you present.”

I wore an old sundress patterned with sprigs of violets. The almost constant breeze molded the skirt against my newly shaven legs. I’d put on a filmy light jacket to protect me from the sun and a straw hat I’d seen on the big ferry, decorated with ribbons and cherries, looking completely frivolous and feminine. I had to admit he had a point. I was dressed like a woman in an impressionist painting, completely useless and looking exactly like an Araminta.

I met his eyes, so dark a brown they looked black. “That’s why I go by Min. Min sounds much more in control.” I glanced at the dovecote again. “Min’s going to whip this building into shape. There’ll be doves living here again as well as goats.” I turned back to laugh at him.

He rubbed the back of his neck. “I heard about that, Daniel is a law unto himself. So, you’re going into the dove business.”

“I don’t know that it’ll be a business, it’s just something I’d like.”

“You’ve got a taverna, why not supply the food as well as cook it?”

“Surely you jest. Kate would have a fit. She’s still not over the goat in the living room.”

“Goats do better outside,” he agreed. “It’ll be interesting to see how you two ladies get on.” He paused. “I can send Tino down to make a start on cleaning this out for you. You’ll have enough to do with the house and restaurant. Consider it a housewarming gift,” he insisted when I started to shake my head. “Tino needs more to do anyway, for what I pay him.”

“Well, thank you.”

“Planning many changes to the house?”

“We haven’t planned at all. One day at time. We got here, that’s enough for now.”

“Nyla ruined it, putting in those doors, destroyed what it was, what it had been. I just hope you don’t try to modernize it too much.”

“It’ll probably stay pretty much like what you see now, only cleaner. We’re on a limited budget and the restaurant comes first. Why do you care, if you don’t mind my asking?”

He smiled and my heart skipped a beat. What the hell was this, anyway? How could I be interested in another man after what I’d been through? Not smart, Min, you’d better watch yourself.

“Old family mansion,” he said easily. “New family mansion.” He gestured to the top of the cliff and the red roof.

“Oh,” I said softly, completely understanding. “How could you bear to sell it?”

His expression tightened. “I didn’t, my father did. He’d never had much use for this island,” he added lightly, “so I browbeat him into giving it to me.”

“You own this island?”

“For my sins.”

“We pay our taxes to you?”

He laughed. “You have some interesting times ahead of you. Here, another housewarming gift. Looks like I chose wisely.” He held out the parcel that had been tucked under an arm and without waiting for me to open it, walked away, circling the house and heading down to the town.

“Nice to meet you, Araminta,” he called back over his shoulder.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How Lori and I Became Published Authors (written from a one-sided POV)

How legit is fan fiction?

I've seen posts that sneer at it; I've seen posts that laud it.

What I had never done was to be involved in it - never even knew it existed. That is until I got caught up in the romance of a new singing group about seven years ago. Heard them briefly on Oprah singing Unbreak My Heart or, as they called it, Regresa Mi. I bet even Toni Braxton wouldn't have recognized her own song! Absolutely beautiful.

I set out to hunt them down. I wanted their CD.

By utilizing my miniscule computer skills, I managed to locate their official site. I lurked for quite a while; I believe I've mentioned before that I'm a shy little thing and I would never enter a conversation uninvited. Took me some time to realize internet manners are vastly different than Emily Post's. Make that vastly!

Time passed and I began to feel at home there. Sort of. Just enough to begin exploring all the different sections and the plethora of threads. Lo and behold! The official site had an entertainment section and people were writing fiction - sometimes quite risque fiction - about these very real men.

Okay, this was new and different, but was it legal? Apparently it was, because it's still there and going strong and nobody got sued.

The stories ran the gamut from purely pitiful to 'actually this is quite good'. English is not the first language for some of these authors, because the men of Il Divo have an international fan base, but everyone wanted to show their lurve.

That's how I met Lori. She wrote the neatest fan fic - The Cheeky Spaniard - and I fell in love with it and with her. Pm-ing and messaging and emails led to phone calls and a writing partnership that I treasure deeply. Even if it did lead to our piece of shit, The Bodice Rippers. ;-) We hope to make an announcement soon regarding the upward progression of our partnership efforts.

For the first time since high school I got the writing bug. And for the first time, I had someone to encourage me. Once I screwed up my nerve to actually post something, I became sort of prolific. I've written some stuff I quite like.

But it was all fan fiction. Does that automatically mean it was poor writing? Is fan fiction the red headed stepchild of literature? Is it even considered literature?

I'm trying to become more mainstream, but I'm finding it hard. Every hero I imagine seems to have bits and pieces of my original heroes and I want them all to sing, lol. I could say those four singers are holding back my progression.

But I won't, because without them, I don't think I'd be writing at all and writing has come to mean so much to me.

Y'all - I don't have degree in anything except an associate's in nursing. I'm not erudite in my posts and when writing I struggle for words whereas I used to just pull them out of a hat. Aging sucks, damn it. I don't analyze a story to death and I will maintain to my grave that good writing can overcome many character and plot defects. Get me to like your characters and care what happens to them, and you've got yourself a reader. I think Lori would agree.

So, there it is, from someone who began their writing career with fan fic and who tends to write those 'feel good' characters in her professional writing. I like to blog (sometimes) and I like to write (mostly), so I guess my question is: is there an audience for writers like us? For a not-so-deep POV and a minumum of angst. ;-)

By the way - this was our early inspiration. ♥

Ericka Scott is bringing Tidings of Fear

Christmas Traditions at Ericka Scott’s House

Around the Scott household, the weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas all seem to be jam-packed with Christmas parties and family get-togethers. Some years, we have too many to fit into two short days. Over the last couple of years, I’ve let activities crowd out some of our most memorable traditions. Not this year.
This year, we’re having a real tree which we’ll decorate to the strains of NSync’s Christmas album (it’s tradition, you know). Then, we’ll gather around the fireplace to light our Yule log and eat sugar cookies we made to distribute to the neighbors as gifts.

These cookies are, in our eyes, masterpieces. No, they aren’t those gorgeous things you see in bakery windows, but have the quirks that our family is known by. We decorate Christmas fish, only one of which is given three eyes and made especially for our friend, Jon. There are some traditional shapes, stars and Santas, but you are just as likely to find rocket ships amongst the Christmas trees, a T-Rex waiting to devour the red and green bunnies, and there is always a haunted church cookie -- complete with sugar black bats in the belfry.

Given the oddities of our family, I guess it’s no surprise to find that my holiday tales aren’t full of Christmas cheer, instead they tout titles like A Christmas Curse, which can be found in the ‘Twas a Dark and Delicious Christmas Anthology and my latest, Tidings of Fear I guess I enjoy making readers shiver from more than just the cold.


A psychic, a skeptic, and a serial killer…

Psychic Lia Morgan sees portents all around her. Although estranged from her family, she joins the search for her missing sister. A simple case gets complicated fast when she discovers her sister’s plethora of secrets includes a son.
Professor Jared Trimble’s world has no room for paranormal mumbo-jumbo. When asked to consult on a case involving a series of crossword puzzles, he’s conflicted. Is he a suspect, or an investigator?

While Lia uses her physic gift and follows signs, Jared uses his wits and experience. When the two collide, passions flare and the final clue brings them both into the bull’s-eye of a serial killer’s target.



“Hello?” she called. A creak sounded from above and a trickle of discomfort slid down her spine. She pulled out her key chain, from which hung a small canister of mace. Another creak made her jump.

“Hello?” she called again. Taking a deep breath, she strode purposefully into the house and found herself in a small living room. Lia glimpsed a small alcove off to the side and expected to find a small dining area, or perhaps an attached office.
Her breath caught in her throat as she walked into another large living room and straight into the past. Positioned under the window were the couch and loveseat she remembered from growing up. A recliner sat in the corner, a newspaper already opened to the comics on the seat.

She shivered. A tall enclosed bookcase, the one that had resided in Lia’s bedroom, stood next to the window. If she stepped closer, she knew she’d recognize every title on its shelves.

A small wooden rocking chair sat next to the recliner. A Raggedy Ann doll vied for seat space with her twin, Raggedy Andy.

“Oh, God,” Lia said. The memorial to her family should have been macabre. Instead, it brought tears to her eyes. Even the antique desk her sister, Sylvie, had thrown a fit to own and then despised when computers became popular and her father wouldn’t let her buy a more functional desk had a place in the room. A smile tugged at the corner of Lia’s mouth.

She could almost hear Sylvie’s famous whine, “But, Dad…”

As memories flooded her mind, she had to blink back a sudden rush of tears. She took a step back, turned and nearly ran back to the hallway. A light dimmed and brightened in another room. Lia didn’t need to count the pulses to know there would be eight.

A short walk found her in the kitchen. The stainless steel appliances sparkled and even the floor seemed to have been freshly waxed. She wished her kitchen looked this good. A towering pile of newspapers indicated they were sisters, after all. The stack teetered on the corner of the kitchen table. All of them were opened and folded to reveal the crossword puzzle.

Had Sylvie left these here? She couldn’t remember her sister having a penchant for crosswords, but she obviously didn’t know Sylvie as well as she’d thought.
Or had someone else brought these in and put them there?

Speaking of which, where was her sister?

She headed upstairs, calling as she went. Just as empty as downstairs. And just as neat. A small blue plastic item on the floor of her sister’s office appeared to be the only thing out of place.

Lia scooped it up. A thumb drive. She went to put it on the desk when a loud creak sounded behind her. She shoved it into her pocket and fumbled for her keys.
Heavy footsteps approached up the stairs.

Lia turned as a shadow fell across the doorway.


Check out the Free Reads Page on my website in December for our infamous sugar cookie recipe (it contains eggnog) and also one for a decadent chocolate Yule log (yum).

And yes, Virginia, there were once camels in California…

Ericka Scott is a multi-published, bestselling author of seductive suspense. She's written stories for as long as she can remember and reads anything under the sun (including the back of cereal boxes in a pinch). She got hooked on romantic suspense in her college days, when reading anything but a textbook was a guilty pleasure. Now, when she’s not chauffeuring children around, wishing she had a maid, or lurking at the library, she’s spinning her own web of fantasy and penning tales of seduction and suspense. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband and three children.

Get a behind the scenes look at her writing and zany family on her blog at

She also loves friends, so come friend her at
She's also on Facebook at and Twitter @ErickaScott
You can find out more about her books at

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Meet Silke Juppenlatz and Howl

When life hands you wolves — Howl.

The alpha wolf in Zalin's pack is slowing going insane, which is tough enough to contend with, but the guy is gunning for the woman Zalin loves–the rancher's daughter who saved his hide. He's torn between taking off to avoid a confrontation with the Alpha, and sticking around to protect Lucia. Opening his heart to her is not an option– he's had enough rejection to last a lifetime.

Lucia is fascinated by the "wolf" she saved–at the time unaware he was more than a canine. Zalin seems out to save her from his Alpha, but she wants more than protection from him. When spilled family secrets make her doubt everything she knows, she turns to Zalin for stability, only to learn he's planning to leave.

Will Zalin desert the one he loves when she needs him most, or will he howl a challenge on her behalf?

Writing is like the perfect solitary sport. I believe that writers, like athletes, need to be prepped and ready before they can write. What are your routines/preparations before you sit down to write?

Coffee. Must have coffee.
The headset at the ready, with music either loaded on already, or I’ll pick as I go.
I have to be alone to write. If there is someone in the room with me, I won’t put a single word down.

Do you have habits as a writer? Always outlining? Never outlining? Keep a notebook with character information?

I don’t usually outline, or only very roughly. I have a trusty moleskine notebook I use for ideas when I’m away from the computer, but if I’m at the computer, I use MS OneNote. Best.Tool.Ever. I swear by it.
(Evernote is similar, and it’s free. I just had OneNote for ages, so that’s what I use.)

What was the inspiration behind this book?

I was listening to a song called “Howl” by Florence and the Machine. Well… I’d never gone for werewolves, wasn’t really into them -- and suddenly there was Zalin, screaming I write his story. I was working on something else, so ignored the incessant noise as much as I could.

Well…he won. Howl was written inside of one week, some of the longest nights ever, all the time listening to that one song… It seemed fitting to call the story “Howl” after that little marathon.

Being that we’re now in full-out holiday mode, what would you like to ask Santa for this year? (And if you say world peace, we’re allowing the reindeer to eat your chocolate).

World peace only works for Miss World candidates, and I’m not one of those. Don't get between a girl and her chocolate. If I catch reindeer nibbling on my chocolate, it'll be "Rump of Rudolf" instead of turkey for Christmas dinner. Don't go there, I'm a carnivore. :P

As for presents, I already asked Santa, and Santa (aka Paul) granted my wish (with help from my Dad).

I’m getting my Christmas and Birthday presents for the next ten years all in one go.
His name is Oscuro del Gavil├ín -- and he’s a dapple grey Paso Fino, (A Colombian horse, for the non-horsey people.) A very rare breed here in the UK.

What would a reader discover in your book that excites you? (Such as, I always have characters based on us old farts but usually they’re the strangest or crudest ones. Carolyn usually includes a dinosaur or two as a small memento of her childhood.)

I like to stick as close to fact as I can. The more I can make the reader identify with the animal side of a character, without feeling alienated, the better. The same applies to other stories. I have all sorts of creatures romping around in my books, and even if it’s completely off the wall, I still try and find as many “facts” about them as I can -- but wrapped up in the world I’m building so it works seamlessly in the context. Too many people bash the reader over the head by practically reciting research text, and that’s boring. I blend it in, instead.

But I like the idea of having some little identifier in every book that ties them to me, personally. I have to give this some thought.

Did you always dream of being a writer when you grew up? Any words of advice to aspiring writers?

I wanted to be a Cowboy, or an Indian, when I grew up. (I grew up with stories about Apaches. I wanted to be one, because clearly it was very exciting. :)) Writing was just something I did because I had to. I’ve always written, always had stories bouncing around in my head. If I didn’t write them down, I’d have gone crazy. It wasn’t a case of wanting to write, it was a case of needing to, lest I go live in a padded cell. It only occurred to me very late that maybe I should try to get one published.

I have news for you: I don’t write for readers. I write because I’m telling myself a story.

Not you. Not your mother. Not your sister. Me.

I’ve been lucky that those stories appealed to the editors of two different publishing houses, as well as readers, but I have around 300 (or more) different stories on my harddrive. Most are nowhere near finished, and many will never see the light of day.

My advice to aspiring writers: Don’t use crayon on wallpaper to pen the next Great American Novel. It really annoys your parents, and it's really hard to explain why you submitted your house to read to the publisher. Trust me on this.
In all seriousness though -- the things that annoy the hell out of me as a reader are shoddy grammar, bad punctuation, misused words, spelling mistakes and repetitive phrases. It’s my absolute pet hate -- and it’ll get you nowhere with an editor or agent, either. If you can’t spell, then get someone who can to look over your work. Same goes for all the rest, like grammar and punctuation etc. Get a second opinion, a third, a fourth. Get as many as you need, and don’t dismiss advice as a load of rubbish, or as “just didn’t get it”. Because if your critique partner didn’t “get it”, then neither will a reader, or agent, or editor.

I am not a native English speaker. If I can do it, then so can those who grew up with English as a first language. To me, there is no excuse for bad spelling in the age of spell checkers.

Kicks the soap box across the room.

Sorry about that. Someone had to say it, because with the influx of bad self-published books out there, the good ones become much harder to find, and if you put out a badly edited version of your story, you’ll be building a bad name for yourself. Don’t skip the hard, or uncomfortable stuff.

Silke grew up in Germany and is used to things going bump in the night -- and it wasn't always the acrophobic cat, or someone hitting their head on a low beam on the ceiling.

She writes paranormal romance, usually at night, but these days the only thing going bump at "oh-dark-thirty" is her -- usually when she smacks into the sofa while creeping to the kitchen for another cup of coffee.

When she is not writing, she can be found on the back of her dapple gray Paso Fino, somewhere in the Surrey countryside.

Silke likes to hear from her readers.

Feel free to contact her via her blog at, follow her on Twitter, look her up on Goodreads or become a friend on Facebook and G+.

Howl is available at Lyrical Press

and at Amazon

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Meet Michelle Flye and experience Winter Solstice

Assignment from hell or love of a lifetime?

Becky Gray thought her new job in the Public Relations Office of Buncombe County Hospital would be easy, but her first assignment takes her onto the front lines of the Emergency Room. Assigned to follow sexy Dr. John Grant whose reputation as a womanizer is only matched by his skill as a physician, Becky is caught up in a whirlwind of emotion and drama. Can she find safety in the arms of a man she should despise?

Explicit sex and some graphic descriptions.

Writing is like the perfect solitary sport. I believe that writers, like athletes, need to be prepped and ready before they can write. What are your routines/preparations before you sit down to write?

If I have any other tasks that I need to do on the computer, I usually do those before I start writing. Answering emails or checking in on my blog or Facebook are good examples. If I don't do those, I can't concentrate on writing and I end up stopping in the middle to take care of menial tasks.

Do you have habits as a writer? Always outlining? Never outlining? Keep a notebook with character information?

I don't exactly outline, but I skip around a little. If I think of a perfect scene, I'll go ahead and write it, then I'll figure out where I think it should go in the story and make notes about the events leading up to it. Later, I go back and fill in the blanks. I do this especially if I get stuck on a scene. It helps me figure out where the scene I'm stuck on is leading.

What was the inspiration behind this book?

The actual winter solstice was my inspiration. It truly is my favorite day of the year because it's the shortest. Like my character Becky, I look forward to the winter solstice because every day afterward is longer, and it's only then that I can start looking forward to spring.

Being that we’re now in full-out holiday mode, what would you like to ask Santa for this year? (And if you say world peace, we’re allowing the reindeer to eat your chocolate).

A big book deal would be nice. Isn't that on every writer's Christmas list? But really, what I want—and what I think every writer aims for—is to find that magic something that touches readers and excites them and makes them talk about what you've written.

What would a reader discover in your book that excites you? (Such as, I always have characters based on us old farts but usually they’re the strangest or crudest ones. Carolyn usually includes a dinosaur or two as a small memento of her childhood.)

Cars. I can't write a book without a car in it. It's important to me what my characters drive, and I've always got a sports car (sometimes two) in my novels. Probably because I've always wanted one and am stuck in the SUV/minivan stage of my life.

Did you always dream of being a writer when you grew up? Any words of advice to aspiring writers?

Yes! From the time I could string several sentences into a paragraph I wanted to write. I've got some silly/cute stories from my childhood that I enjoy pulling out to show people from time to time. My son is just starting to write stories, and he's really pretty good. Much better than I was at his age. The advice I gave him is what I would tell any aspiring writer: Write what's in you. Read what comes out of other writers, but write what's in you. And write it to please yourself, not other people. The rest will take care of itself.

Winter Solstice is available at Lyrical Press

and Amazon

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I'm a guest over at Autumn Piper's blog today.

Come say hello.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Meet Cristal Ryder and Being Ariana

Is it better to get lost in your fantasy, or be found in another's?

Ellie Taylor lives her erotic dreams by masquerading herself as Ariana and visiting the Black Phantom. In this club where anything goes, she plans to perform onstage before an audience, building her sexual excitement to a fever pitch before selecting her man. But Ariana is sidetracked by a tall, blond masked maitre-d. He captivates her and all thoughts of performing are forgotten. He's every bit as domineering as Ariana and pushes her to her sexual limit. Their true identities concealed, they set out to use each other for pleasure--no risk of entanglement or commitment...but that may prove easier said than done.

Warning - Explicit sex/language, domination, bondage and kink.

Writing is like the perfect solitary sport. I believe that writers, like athletes, need to be prepped and ready before they can write. What are your routines/preparations before you sit down to write?

- What a neat question. I hadn't really considered this before but based on my last few weeks of chaos I think you have to be in the right 'mind set' to write. I do a lot of thinking before I sit down and write. I flesh things out in my mind first. I also, let the people around me know what my plans are and how long it should take. That way when I 'go under' they know for how long and leave me alone :)

Do you have habits as a writer? Always outlining? Never outlining? Keep a notebook with character information?

- I'm a pantser so don't outline on paper. I've tried to outline but it doesn't work. Ideas and scenes constantly barrage me and to keep them in some kind of order, I email them to myself and create a titled folder for each one in an idea file.

What was the inspiration behind this book?

- Being Ariana actually started out with a celtic/druid/witch slant, but about five pages in I realized it wasn't going to fly and it morphed into the story of Ellie/Ariana. It was actually Eyes Wide Shut that inspired the story after I dropped the original idea.

Being that we’re now in full-out holiday mode, what would you like to ask Santa for this year? (And if you say world peace, we’re allowing the reindeer to eat your chocolate).

- If I told you what I really really want, then I might jinx it ;) But at the top of my list this Christmas is to spend some quality time with my elderly parents and my two sons, all of us together.

What would a reader discover in your book that excites you? (Such as, I always have characters based on us old farts but usually they’re the strangest or crudest ones. Carolyn usually includes a dinosaur or two as a small memento of her childhood.)

- Interesting! I don't really know. I think I bring one specific convo between the h/h when I'm writing hot - the reader will have to figure it out :) and a bottle of Cristal champagne tends to show up now and then.

Did you always dream of being a writer when you grew up? Any words of advice to aspiring writers?

- I'm not sure I wanted to BE a writer, but I wrote stuff constantly probably not understanding the *be writer* part until I was in my twenties. I hand wrote my first manuscript (yes before computers and typewriters were too expensive) and wanted to sell to Harlequin. I even went so far as to get their guidelines. I can still see them in my mind today...photocopied sheets of paper and some were crooked on the page! Those guildelines scared the crap out of me and I stopped writing. Thanks Harlequin! I could have been pubbed 25 years ago! LOL

Advice to aspriing writers - keep at it.Plod through, enjoy and let yourself escape into the story you want to tell. Learn, be a sponge and suck it all up. If you want it bad enough you'll make it happen.

Available at Lyrical Press:

And at Amazon:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Introducing L.K. Below and Stalking Shade



When the leader of Lori's secret organization goes missing, her life starts to fall apart.

Lori is a member of the Order, a secret organization with an invincible leader, or so she believes--until he disappears. Their mission is all about protecting him, the Spenta Michos, and the Order degenerates into chaos once he's gone.

Lori is determined to find him, with or without the support of the other members. But a madman shadows her every move,and she can barely keep herself out of the growing pile of victims. To make matters worse, she has to deal with a persistent faux-vampire who seems to think she's meant for him.

How can she save the leader of her religion when she can barely protect herself?

Buy it or read an excerpt at

Writing is like the perfect solitary sport. I believe that writers, like athletes, need to be prepped and ready before they can write. What are your routines/preparations before you sit down to write?

LK: I'm always "prepping". When I get an idea, I'm constantly playing and replaying the next scenes in my head. I usually perfect the blurb before starting, and oftentimes the query letter too (even if I'm not sure where I'm sending it). When there's world building to be done, I spend many fun-filled days immersed in the world, writing a manual of sorts on every last detail. To be honest, I enjoy world building far too much... I have many worlds without stories.

Do you have habits as a writer? Always outlining? Never outlining? Keep a notebook with character information?

LK: I tend not to outline. But at the same time, my mind is lightyears ahead of my fingers, so often I'll jot down short-form notes about upcoming scenes or witty dialogue. When I start a book, I don't like to confine myself by laying out an outline. I usually have a rough idea in mind of where the story is going, but I want to be free to move it in another direction if I feel it works better. For new worlds, I like to create manuals or "companions" sometimes with maps. If I get in the mood, I sometimes draw, paint, or photoshop a mock cover for the book.

What was the inspiration behind this book?

LK: This book I wrote in 2007, when I was 17 and still in high school. It was my contribution to a shared-world project with my school writer's club. Lori stuck with me even after, and I decided to turn the one book into three and add a bit of a better conclusion to it, even if it meant bending some of the rules we'd laid down in the club.

Being that we’re now in full-out holiday mode, what would you like to ask Santa forthis year? (And if you say world peace, we’re allowing the reindeer to eat your chocolate).

LK: Books, books, and more books. I'm a total bookworm.

What would a reader discover in your book that excites you? (Such as, I always have characters based on us old farts but usually they’re the strangest or crudestones. Carolyn usually includes a dinosaur or two as a small memento of herchildhood.)

LK: Each book is different. In Stalking Shade, the Spenta Michos is actually a cameo of my high school English Teacher. He switched schools that year and we thought it would be fun to have him "disappear" in a novel and have each character try to look for him. The idiosyncrasies mentioned in the story (for instance, writing in a little gold book) are true.

Did you always dream of being a writer when you grew up? Any words of advice toaspiring writers?

LK: I always wrote, but never considered it as a career option until after high school, when I found myself without enough money to go to university and started submitting projects. My words of advice to aspiring writers is this: don't give up. There are plenty of discouragements along the road to publication, but if that's truly what you want, don't let any of them stand in your way. Brush yourself off and try again.

Thanks for having me, Lori!

**Stalking Shade is available at Lyrical Press

and Amazon

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Gift

Dave is a man on the edge. He’s still in love with his ex, he’s trying to stay on top of his career and he has a secret love of the darker sides of sexual experience. As he’s trying to get his life where he wants it, Dave discovers a subculture of men looking to catch the AIDs virus and be given The Gift.

As his boyfriend Jimmy is willing to try again, others offer another type of experience that calls to his darker side. Dave is a man on a mission but the results might not be what anyone is expecting.

Excerpt (this is very explicit):

For a moment, I’m afraid I might throw up. I shouldn’t have taken the pills my host offered but when one attends an orgy, it’s impolite to abstain. And abstinence is not one of the virtues in which I’ve ever indulged.

Truth be told, virtue and I haven’t been on a first name basis in years. Maybe if I’d been a little more open to it I wouldn’t be on my knees in the living room of this tract house with my hand up some guy’s ass.

He’s a pretty boy with a long blond ponytail that swings over his shoulder and grazes the barbell in his nipple. His ass is lovely and shiny from the lube. It takes a lot of lube to make this work.

My partner grunts as I flex my fingers. I want to pump my hand in and out but I don’t think he’s ready. Not many men can take that kind of pressure. My own erection is at a semi-hard place. The pills are making my head fuzzy and my chest feels tight. I don’t want to get sick here. I don’t want to be an overdose on this stained carpet, remembered as the dead guy with shit on his hand and a limp dick.

Our host is bent over a chair getting fucked by a bald, black man. I wonder what it was that he gave me. I hope he knows so he can tell the paramedics.

“Oh God. God.” My blond boy is starting to move, a small thrust and my dick stirs. This is what I like. He’s getting used to the feeling and soon we’ll be pumping together. I hope he can restrain blowing my hand out of his ass. It’s hard to explain a sprained wrist because a neophyte couldn’t control his ass muscles when he blew.

I can’t remember the name of the guy who owns this house but he’s totally getting fucked by the black guy. I should concentrate on my blond but I love watching the muscles bunch in the other man’s thighs. He looks a little like Jimmy in his sweet dark skin, the black hair collecting droplets of sweat.

No, I promised myself I wouldn’t bring thoughts of Jimmy to this party. This is about me. Tonight is my taking this little boy on his knees and blowing his mind. After this party, this sweet little boy will never be the same. My hand will always be imprinted in his mind.

My dick is thick with blood and heat and this boy’s submission. I rotate my wrist just a little and his groan is music.

This is the life.

Available at Amazon: at All Romance ebooks:
Available at Smashwords:
Available at Barnes & Noble:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Meet Diane Escalera

Dangerous Desire

Sienna Diaz is desperate to find her missing beagle, no matter what it costs. She hires Cruz Santino, the best—and hottest—in the business. He’s an ex cop, dangerous on many levels, which comes in handy when all evidence indicates her beloved pet was snatched to use in a dogfighting ring.

Cruz will do whatever it takes to find Sienna’s lost pet, but he also wants results from the smokin’ hot attraction between them—and he isn’t above breaking his own hands-off-clients rule to get there. However, until he brings her beloved beagle home safely, he won’t have Sienna's undivided attention...and affection.

Diane's book is available at Lyrical Press and Amazon

We also asked Diane a few questions...

Writing is like the perfect solitary sport. I believe that writers, like athletes, need to be prepped and ready before they can write. What are your routines/preparations before you sit down to write?

I like to wake up early because I appreciate quiet time. It’s when I get the most done. Once I’m off the internet, I’ll plan out my day. After breakfast, I try to get in a good workout (Yep. I actually enjoy exercise). Then it’s time to get to work. Oh, and I play with my cute little dachshund every chance I get!

Do you have habits as a writer? Always outlining? Never outlining? Keep a notebook with character information?

While I’m more of a pantser, I do need to have a few things in place such as a working title, my main characters, and the premise of the story. I like to have an idea where I’m going, but I’m never sure how I’m going to get there until I start writing.

What was the inspiration behind this book?

When I set out to write Dangerous Desire, I wanted to do something different, a little more edgy than my previous books. I chose to make the hero a pet detective (No. He’s nothing like Ace Ventura!) because frankly, I hadn’t seen many tough guys with this profession. A love for animals softened his hard exterior. I found it attractive, and thought my heroine would too.

I knew who my hero was. How would he utilize his special skills? While I was brainstorming ideas, pro football player Michael Vick’s dogfighting scandal made headlines. Believe it or not, it spurred the plot for Dangerous Desire.

I’m an animal lover, and I had strong feelings about dogfighting. Still, the story called out to me. I like to write about real life issues. Bad things happen, and I try not to shy away from something just because it might be unpopular.

But I digress… After all, Dangerous Desire is a sizzling hot romance! It’s a story about a second chance at love. The road to a happy ending may have some bumps along the way. It doesn’t stop us from trying to reach our destination.

Being that we’re now in full-out holiday mode, what would you like to ask Santa for this year? (And if you say world peace, we’re allowing the reindeer to eat your chocolate).

I just relocated to North Carolina. What I really want for Christmas is a house!

What would a reader discover in your book that excites you? (Such as, I always have characters based on us old farts but usually they’re the strangest or crudest ones. Carolyn usually includes a dinosaur or two as a small memento of her childhood.)

I try to create characters that everyone can relate to, people I’d want to hang out with in real life. It’s about character, integrity, compassion and heart. Oh, and a sense of humor! Nothing beats a good laugh.

Did you always dream of being a writer when you grew up?

Unlike most authors, I didn’t know I was destined to write. In fact, I worked in banking for several years, but deep down knew that it wasn’t my dream job. At the young age of thirty-five, my sister died of an illness. I realized the same thing could happen to me. There are no guarantees. I couldn’t waste another moment doing something I didn’t love. Writing was one of my greatest joys when I was growing up. I decided to enroll in an intensive course where I learned everything I could about the craft. It didn’t take long before I left the bank to pursue a writing career.

Any words of advice to aspiring writers?

Keep writing no matter what anyone tells you. Write from your heart. Believe in yourself!

Happy Holidays! And thank you, Lori, for the awesome opportunity.

Please visit to learn more about my sexy tales. I love to interact with readers! “Like” my fan page on Follow me on

** small note, you all know how bad we Farts are with links so apologies for the shape of them.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Darwith Trilogy: Time of the Dark by Barbara Hambly

I've been in love for Barbara Hambly for years - make that decades, I just looked at the publishing date on my bought-brand-new-in-a-local-store-when-my-town-had-a-bookstore.

It was 1982.

That book was Time of the Dark and to say I haunted the store for the next book in the series is an understatement.

Here's the back cover blurb (it's a long one):

Night after night, Gil found herself dreaming of an impossible city where alien horrors swarmed from underground lairs of darkness to destroy mankind and all the works of men. But when the wizard Ingold Inglorian crossed the Void to ask sanctuary for the last Prince of Dar, she learned her dreams had been true visions of a strange reality.

On Ingold's world, the monstrous Dark had been mere legends for 3,000 years. But now, for unknown reasons, they were ravening savagely across the land and there was no escape from their foul powers and insatiable hungers.

Attempting to help Ingold, Gil and Rudy, a young drifter, were drawn into the nightmare world of the Dark. There they had to remain - unless they could solve the mystery of the Dark.

Then, before they could realize their fate, the Dark struck!

Okay, we all know I suck at reviews, so may I just say this is a book I highly recommend. The fact that it's over 20 years old doesn't detract from it in the slightest.

It's not exactly a romance, although there are romantic elements, one of them completely unexpected. I must warn you though, that the character arcs and the resolution of the danger of the Dark takes three books: Time of the Dark, The Walls of Air and Keep of Dare.

Hambly is a brilliant writer and a great storyteller. The reader is there in the places she describes, freezing to death with the characters, experiencing what they experience. I think this might have been the first fantasy I read after the Ring trilogy, and it impressed the hell out of me. It's not high fantasy, but it's much easier reading than the Rings and it's much easier to relate to the characters.

Gil is from our world, a student of medieval history. She's not beautiful. She's skinny and brusque and generally distrustful, but she trusts Ingold.

This is a section from when Ingold tells Gil and Rudy he can't take them back to their world at this time:

"Not for some months," the wizard said.

Her breath leaked out again, the slow release of it easing nothing. "Okay." she rose to go.

His hand closed over her wrist like a snake striking. "Sit down," he said softly. She tried to pull her arm away without replying, but his hand was very strong. "Please." She turned back, cold and angry; then looking down she saw something in his blue eyes that she'd never expected to see - that he was hurt by her anger. It shook her to the heart. "Please, Gil."

She stood apart fromn him for a moment, drawn back to the length of her arm. His fingers were locked around her wrist as if he feared that if he released her, he might never see her again. And maybe, Gil thought, he'd be right. She saw again the vision of her delirium: warm, bright images of some other life, another world, friends and the scholarship she had hoped to make her life, distant from and guarded by some dark, terrible form that might have been the Dark and might have been Ingold; she saw projects, plans, research and relationships falling into a chasm of absence, beyond her power to repair. Rage filled her like dry,silent heat.

Behind her, Rudy said uneasily, "Months is a long time to play tag with the Dark, man."

"I'm sorry," Ingold said, but his eyes were on Gil.

Trembling with the effort, she let go of the rage. Without it to sustain her, all the tension left her body. Ingold drew her gently to sit on the bed beside him. She did not resist.

Rudy is an artist, one of those people on the outskirts of biker gangs, who customs paints bikes and cars. He discovers a new talent after he crosses the Void, despite his refusal to believe in magic.

Hambly's wizards all have one core characteristic that forms their powers - curiosity. Curiosity about how things work, from mechanical to life forms to elements - wind, fire, earth, water. They're always studying something. It's a very believable philosophy.

The Dark are a unique and very worthy antagonist. We don't ever get to really understand them - except that they're dangerous to humans.

Time of the Dark has been rereleased as an ebook.

I hope that newer generations will discover her early works, which are all fantasy, and like them as much as I do.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December is Interview Month: Introducing Elle Brown

December on Old Farts is going to be featuring intervews with some new voices (and perhaps, not as new) voices of romance fiction. We have some wonderful folks coming by this month so stay tuned.

To begin, we'd like you to meet Ms. Elle Brown. Elle is the pen name of someone we know quite well around these parts (and whom Orlando Bloom might know quite well around his parts... dirty girl!!)

Elle's debut in Once Bitten, Never Shy features two sexy short stories of bad girls doing bad things and having a good time doing it.

What is your greatest inspiration for writing?

I don't think I have just one 'thing'. It might be something as simple as enjoying the plot of a movie and wanting to put my own twist on it or just seeing a picture and wanting to tell the story of that picture. It might be that I see a character in a movie and want to develop them more or in a slightly different way, or even a line in a song can conjure up ideas. I guess a lot of my ideas come from dreams (I have some doozy's, let me tell ya!) or even something that comes up in a conversation with friends. Many a time I'll be chatting with someone about nothing in particular and I will think 'hey, that might make a good story'. I have a folder full of half started good stories thanks to some such conversations.

Do you have any 'traditions' you need to follow in order to write? (Such as, I can't write unless the house is clean. Carolyn can't write without her favorite dust bunny at her feet.)

No, not really. Unless you count being in the house alone. There's just something about writing when other's are in the house that I can't do. Perhaps it's my 'fear' of them knowing that I'm writing. Especially if it's a little naughty... Oh, I just thought of one - Pippin has to be asleep at my feet, snoring away. It's kind of comforting having him there. (Note: Pippin is the hell hound who lives with Elle.)

Do you like writing the sex-ay stuff?

Can't say that I'm a fan, although I have written some. I did it initially as a dare from friends. We were never going to share outside the immediate circle of four. Then a story was shared and it kind of went from there. I'm actually more interested in the lead up to the sex-ay stuff, than the writing of the act itself - especially coming up with new and inventive ways of describing the 'icky' bits or how to put tab 1 in to slot B. It's like preferring a man in clothes to a naked man. A clothed man is like a present you get to unwrap until you see what's underneath. A nekkid man has it all hanging out for everyone to see. If that makes sense.

Are you working on anything new?

Honestly, I have a couple of things on the go but I'm not getting a sense of which needs to be finished first. I also have an almost finished rough draft of a shortish story that needs major work to clean up. My biggest problem at the moment is too many ideas and not enough will power to commit to one at a time. If I could just stop dreaming...

Any great holiday plans or traditions?

Well, lotto win pending, no major events this Christmas. Just a quiet one with the family. As to traditions, we always have a 'proper' dinner - turkey, ham, veggies, pudding etc. It may be 40C on the day but we still have a hot meal. It doesn't feel the same having prawns and salad for Christmas lunch. Still, if that lotto win kicks in, I might be able to come up and visit y'all and have my first ever White Christmas. Now, that's a great holiday plan to have!

Keanu or Orlando?

Oh, that's so unfair! Do I have to choose? I adore both and for various reasons. I'd like to say Keanu because I've been a fan of his the longest (and he looks good nekkid) but then Orlando as Legolas... Can I be greedy and keep both? Maybe that can be my wish for Santa.

See. I told you she's a bad girl! Once Bitten, Never Shy is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and All Romance ebooks.