It Was the Best of Times #MFRW


Welcome to week 38 of the 52-week MFRW blog hop – The Best of Each Season.

From a romance author’s perspective, there are a few things that can be a plus to each season.

IF we go into the way back machine, back to when I got married, not quite as far back as the stone age. . . it was the thing to be a June bride.

I can see why brides choose each season and weddings aren’t just on Saturdays anymore. For the same reasons,  I can see why an author would choose a certain season to convey a mood or feeling throughout their book.

WINTER:

A chill in the air, frost on the window, those wonderful fur muffs, snow,  horse drawn sleighs or carriages, and blazing fires in a fireplace are all perks to even the harshest winter days.  I read a romance book that was essentially the couple being stuck in a cabin together for a few days after an avalanche.

SPRING:

Fresh flowers,  bright green grass, lilacs, budding trees, warming temperatures –  I have been to beautiful weddings that took place in a botanical garden, surrounded by blossoms.  There is nothing quite like the smell just after a rain, with new grass and a light breeze.

SUMMER:

Less clothes! Swimming, beaches, swimwear – the perfect setting for a tropical romance, or stranded on an island together. Notice they are never on a northern island with Inuits?  Because that isn’t sexy! Stranded on a tropical island with shreds of what were your clothes, stripped down to bra and panties and maybe the shreds of a skirt, seeking shelter together in your make shift hut made out of banana leaves. . . I can picture this one now.

FALL:

Oh, the gorgeous colors of fall. My god daughter was married in September, with beautiful fall colors.

In my book Roxy Sings the Blues,  things come to a climax during the fall. I used to love hiking and plan to get back to it as I drop more weight. Roxy has an accident on a hiking trail that changes everything. If you close your eyes, you can almost smell the crisp crackling falling leaves after a  cold rain. This is the perfect time for mulled cider, that pumpkin spice cappuccino, and fresh apple pie! Food, after all,  is an aphrodisiac.

What appeals to you about each season?

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

 

 

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Keys to the Kingdom #MFRW


 

Today is the 52-week MFRW blog challenge, Week 37- Five Ways to Win My Heart

Hmmm, at first  I thought –  what would it take to win my heart, but then I remembered a few weeks back, the ‘open/shut door’ fiasco. I think I’ll address both!

Hello, everyone! Glad you could stop by!  I know I’ve missed the last couple of prompts, but I have good reasons. No, really I do!  Doctors appointments and making final revisions on Roxy!

Five Ways to Win My Heart

  1. Bring me coffee – My husband follows a very strict Christian regime with the coffee, following Biblical instruction – He Brews.  Not only does he brew the coffee,  but on the weekends he brings me my first cup, made just like I like it! He scores some serious man points here!
  2. HE Gets Me – Understand me, get my jokes, my sense of humor, sarcasm, understand my point of view. It’s not even necessary to agree with me, just  GET me.  My husband gets me.  He laughs at my corny jokes,  he gets my quirky humor, and sometimes off-color humor as well.  He gets it when I am upset, although often he wants to fix it even though I just need him to listen and understand why I am upset.  More man points!
  3. Pens – Every year for Christmas Santa’s helper AKA Hubster sneaks a few pens or a lot of pens into my stocking or in a box beneath the tree. This past year, he gave me a giant box of gel pens to use for my adult coloring books. My favorite uni-ball pens find their way into my stocking.  He brings home novelty pens from salesmen at work. It’s amazing how many interesting pens salesmen use in the IT world! My name is Ellie, and I have a pen habit. Supplying my habit is a fast track to winning my heart! Exponential man points!
  4. Notice my weight loss – OK, this one is tricky. Living with a person that you see day in and day out,  it’s often difficult to notice subtle changes. A quick way to a fight comes from comments that I need to START losing weight. I go from zero to ballistic in .03 seconds. Seriously, I have been denying myself so many things, have given up many other things, have changed my diet drastically, have been exercising a little more each week, I know I still have a long way to go, but DANG IT –  lie if you have to, acknowledge something.  My skin looks clearer and not ashen, my shirts fit better, my shorts have been baggy –  but those are things that I tend to be the only one to notice.  Some day, he will notice.  It will probably be after someone else comments,  but eventually . . . I hope.  No points in a long, long time.
  5. Enjoy being with me – It doesn’t matter what we do or if we are doing nothing. Someone who wants to spend time with me earns instant points. In our cyber age,  it’s rare to still have freinds that will spend real life time with you.  Face to face time, where you can actually engage in a relationship.  It’s one thing to be freinds it’s another to want to spend time with an individual.  The fact that the hubster chooses to spend his time with me completely wins my heart!

How a Romance Author Wins My Heart

  1. Beleivable characters –  I need a heroine that I can relate to. I need to connect to her, put myself in her shoes.  The hero has to be  relatable as well.  I don’t get into those billionaire books.  The likelihood of some uber rich guy coming into my middle class American world is  beyond my suspension of disbelief.
  2. Nasty villain – Give me an antagonist I can hate, which also causes me to root for the heroine that much more.  He doesn’t have to be nasty in the sense of vile or perverse,  but nasty as in mean and ruthless. The kind of person that makes you hope they get their come-uppance.
  3. Action – Action draws the reader forward, narrative can bog down the story. I want a story that will  keep me turning the pages. I’ve read enough romance books to know the formulaic approach, and if the author can surprise me, I will read them again!
  4. Cliffhanger –  there needs to be at least one low point that leaves you hanging,  makes you wonder if the heroine will make it or ever achieve their happily ever after.  This is romance of course,  so  we know the author isn’t going to kill the Main character, but when an author makes you wonder if they are bucking the system, it’s very gratifying.
  5. The Denoument – when all the ends are tidied up at the end and you are not left wondering,  but what happened to that guy that was in the hospital on life support? What happened to her dog? On page 145 her dog was lost after the tornado,  then on page 187 she searches the animal shelter,  then   she gets the happily ever after  with the hero, but the dog is forgotten. Did she give up on the dog? Did someone adopt the dog?  I know,  it seems like a petty thing,  but things like this,  the author used a certain trope or character to fill space, and tell the story from point D to E, and by the conclusion at K, there is never another mention of it. This is one of those things where I would say tell me not show me.  Because if the author is trying to show that she was heartbroken, then distracted by the guy, then that makes her seem a crappy pet owner and it maight be best if she never have another pet. Do you get what I am saying? It doesn’t necessarily have to be the pet. I’ve seen it with a neighbor,  a coworker, where it is just assumed that since they don’t matter to the final outcomoe of the story,  they aren’t mentioned again.
What about you? What does it take to win your heart in person or in a book? Share your thoughts below.

Here  are the links for other authors in this blog hop sharing  their five points.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some other posts in this series from yours truly:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

There are more but I don’t have the links done yet. I will eventually, when I get to it.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

ROXY Release Day!


 

YAY!

I am very proud of this one. Not even so much the story, but rather the fact that even with BC, I have managed to get this one out before Penned Con.  I do love the story though.

The first time that Roxy appeared in my thoughts,  she broke my heart completely. With the help of the wonderful Karen Docter,  I’ve changed the story from memoirs of Roxy’s tragic life, to a story that unfolds with purpose.

So here it is:

Roxy Sings the Blues

BLURB:

Scars tell the story of a past. Roxy’s scars aren’t visible but they have carved her deeply and the pain they caused pours out through her music. If facing an uncertain future after losing her mother wasn’t enough, a failed relationship from the past returns to wreak havoc. Just when she was trying to build a new life for herself, the troublemaking ex Devon drags her into danger. Roxy sits in the spotlight of a pivotal investigation. Detective Devon Miller is hot on the case and stirring the embers of forbidden fires.

Will Roxy hit the right note to help her old flame solve the case in time or will she be left singing the blues?

Excerpt:

“Detective Miller, Detective Alvarez.”

Devon Miller nodded in acknowledgment. He hated these calls. He hated seeing veterans in the homeless shelter. It never made sense to him. “What have we got?”

“Two males. Looks like meth heads, but we need to find out what is going on. This is the fourth time this month that homeless guys have shown up dead. I am putting you two on the case. Check with Dickerson in narcotics, see if he has any leads.” Seargent Brenner stood, flipping the body bag back over the victim’s face. “I want to know what they are taking, who they are buying from, what the cause of death was. I want a full tox screen and have Simmons report anything out of the order. Anything! Talk to some of the regulars at the shelter up the street.” He tucked his hands into the pockets of his black leather jacket, eyes downcast to the ground. Hesitating as if he wanted to add something more, but then changing his mind. He added, “I want reports on my desk in the morning.”

Devon watched him walk away before bending to examine the body. He reached for a discarded straw in the pile of trash that the first body lay in. Using the straw, he opened the vics mouth, checking for missing teeth, foaming, anything. “Still got his teeth. That’s something.”

Alvarez stood with his hands shoved into his jacket. “This kid is too young to be here.”  He bent swiping the hair out of the eyes of the second body. “Both of them are. I’d lay odds that test results are going to be the same as the last guys. I think our best bet is going to be Dickerson. See if he knows who’s dealing the designer drugs down here and find out how bums can afford it.”

Buy Links:

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/746975

Amazon -https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Roxy+Sings+the+blues

While you are there, check out my other books as well!

Red Wine & Roses

Quotidiandose: 30 Days of Sass

Going to celebrate with some sugar-free pumpkin spice cappuccino, and a slice of sugar-free carrot cake!

Then it’s time to get back into writing mode.

Write on my freinds, write on!

Protected By His Grace


‘Tis the season for releases! 

Today I get the privilege of sharing with you the latest by my friend, Grace Augustine!

Blurb:

Rev. James Turner takes his job seriously. As pastor of Lindenport Christian Church, he makes sure his congregation are spiritually fed and that their needs are met, especially during the holidays.

Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas Eve services are a mainstay to the Christian faith. At Lindenport Christian Church, it’s no different. The Thanksgiving community dinner and decorating committees have the church decked out for the holidays.

Pastor James’ faith is challenged when a beautiful female parishioner confides in him about her past, putting both and their loved ones in danger.

The magical beauty and wonder of Christmas Eve is a perfect backdrop for remembering God’s continued protection through adversity.

Are you ready to see this beauty?

 

I can already see this one as a Hallmark movie!

Universal book link:

Books2Read Universal Link: https://www.books2read.com/u/478xYE

Amazon link isn’t available yet, but Ill keep you updated.

 

SYNOPSIS

PROTECTED BY HIS GRACE                                                                                   By Grace Augustine

Jaden McAdam has a secret, one few people know. After witnessing a murder ten years earlier, she moved to the oceanside community of Lindenport to start over. Her business savvy, positive attitude, and property knowledge makes her the best real estate agent in the area.

James Turner was called to pastor the Lindenport Christian Church three years ago. One of his parishioners confides in him about her life in the witness protection program and the testimony that puts the murderer, Jerome “The Crow” Bolcan, behind bars for life. Or so she thinks.

Jaden is faced with the reality of a mistrial, falling in love with the pastor of her church, and tossed in the middle of new evidence that puts her and everyone around her in danger.

Faith is tested as God provides protection for all involved during this dangerous, magical, mystical Christmas.

Author Bio:

Editor and award winning novelist, Grace Augustine, grew up in Montana. Her work career has taken her from title and abstracting to administrative assistant church work to co-owning a small town weekly newspaper to her current profession as a floral designer/jewelry designer/writer.

Grace thinks of herself as a “Jill” of most trades and is not afraid to learn new things. “If you can’t learn something new each day, there’s something wrong,” she says.

The ideas for her Acorn Hills series stem from her growing up years as well as the issues she has had to overcome along the way. “I’ve developed a new romance category…for the over 50 crowd…I’m calling it the salt and pepper genre. My books deal with real life issues, overcoming adversity, maintaining a positive outlook, and so much more. Just because we are 50 yrs old or older doesn’t mean that life stops. We all still want attention and affection and adventure! We want to experience all life has to offer. We use our age as wisdom to share with those around us. We are sexual, sensual, and sensible,” Grace explains.

Augustine was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in July of 2003. Her thoughts on that “It may slow me down, but if I can at all do it, I will. Sitting and feeling sorry for yourself isn’t the answer…living your life with an open, joy-filled heart is.”

Romance with a Touch of Grace

 

OTHER BOOKS BY Grace Augustine can be found on her Amazon author page:

Grace Augustine

 

Say Hello to Roxy!


I am so excited to reveal my new book I can hardly contain myself! 

It’s here – it’s finally here!

Blurb:

Scars tell the story of a past. Roxy’s scars aren’t visible but they have carved her deeply and the pain they caused pours out through her music. If facing an uncertain future after losing the most important people in her life wasn’t enough, a failed relationship from the past returns to wreak havoc. Just when she was trying to build a new life for herself, the troublemaking ex Devon drags her into danger. Roxy sits in the spotlight of a pivotal investigation. Detective Devon Miller is hot on the case and stirring the embers of forbidden fires.

Will Roxy hit the right note to help her old flame solve the case in time or will she be left singing the blues?

Don’t you want to read it right now?

Are you ready to see this beauty?

To be Released September 14th!

Buy Links:

Will post them as soon as I get them. Amazon and I are having some issues.  I’m claiming residual chemo brain.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 

OK, folks here it is:

 

You want to read a little excerpt?

 Excerpt 1:

One phone call can change your life forever.

I’ve heard it said many times and I get it. If you are a ball player waiting for that call to the majors or if you are waiting for the call that you got that job you were hoping to land. I always thought however, that most people are just being overly dramatic and using that as a cliché’ statement.

What if you didn’t get this job, but instead got a call from a different company that ended up being a better job? What if, as a ball player you never get called to the majors but stayed in the minor leagues and ended up being a top-notch coach? What if that call was the worst thing that could happen?

It’s always been my view that there are multiple paths that our lives could take. There are numerous opportunities presented to us and that one phone call bit was a bunch of hogwash.

Until today.

Until I received the phone call that without a doubt, changed my life forever.

 

Because I am feeling so generous today, here’s a bonus

Excerpt 2:

“Detective Miller, Detective Alvarez.”

Devon Miller nodded in acknowledgment. He hated these calls. He hated seeing veterans in the homeless shelter. It never made sense to him. “What have we got?”

“Two males. Looks like meth heads, but we need to find out what is going on. This is the fourth time this month that homeless guys have shown up dead. I am putting you two on the case. Check with Dickerson in narcotics, see if he has any leads.” Seargent Brenner stood from his crouching position next to the bodies, flipping the body bag back over the victim’s face. “I want to know what they are taking, who they are buying from, what the cause of death was. I want a full tox screen and have Simmons report anything out of the order. Anything! Talk to some of the regulars at the shelter up the street.” He tucked his hands into the pockets of his black leather jacket, eyes downcast to the ground. Hesitating as if he wanted to add something more, but then changing his mind. He added, “I want reports on my desk in the morning.”

Devon watched him walk away before bending to examine the body. He reached for a discarded straw in the pile of trash that the first body lay in. Using the straw, he opened the vics mouth, checking for missing teeth, foaming, anything. “Still got his teeth. That’s something.”

Alvarez stood with his hands shoved into his jacket. “This kid is too young to be here.”  He bent swiping the hair out of the eyes of the second body. “Both of them are. I’d lay odds that test results are going to be the same as the last guys. I think our best bet is going to be Dickerson. See if he knows who’s dealing the designer drugs down here and find out how bums can afford it.”

 

 

Author Bio:

Ellie Mack received her BS in cartography from Southeast Missouri State University. Since leaving the corporate world for the title of MOM, she has pursued her writing dreams. Nowadays Ellie charts unmapped territory through her fiction and humor writing. Formerly a columnist for a local paper, her weekly column received a lot of attention. She lives near St. Louis, MO with her husband of 32 years and their college aged daughters. When she’s not writing she can be found bullet journaling, crocheting, or cooking.

You can find her musings on her blog: https://quotidiandose.wordpress.com

If you’re reading this you’re already here!

 

Facebook  Ellie Mack author

Twitter- @Mack_Ellie

Pinterest- Ellie Mack

My blog- Quotidiandose

 

OTHER BOOKS BY ELLIE MACK:

Red Wine & Roses

Quotidiandose: 30 Days of Sass

I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor


badge-blog-challenge-updated

Welcome to week 9 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge.  Each week I will post something about that week’s topic. Ready to play?

This week’s prompt:  Words that make me go ick!

For me, that would be purple prose.

Do not use purple prose, euphemisms, words or phrases that make you uncomfortable. Use words that are appropriate, even if you are a little uncomfortable with them. Do not let your characters get so involved in the physical act that it becomes, quite disappointingly, mere sex. Readers do not want to hear all those cotton-soft euphemisms any more than they want to hear anything inappropriate to the scene. They want a sensual experience — seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting. Do not neglect the “jarring” senses either, like talking, moving, thinking, — because that is where the sense of reality enters in.

Here is a good test of whether a word is worth using in a love scene. Say it aloud while you are in the midst of the love scene you are writing. Does it make you hot? Hotter? Alternatively, does it make you laugh aloud? If you laugh out loud, that is a pretty solid indication that it’s not a word you should use because your readers will probably do the same. Unless you are going for the humorous bit and then use it.

I have been stopped dead in my tracks many times while reading love scenes by words and phrases like “his manhood waved at me like a flagpole”, “his rod of pleasure”, “her honey pot” or “they soared on the wings of love and exploded into infinity.” “He stood over me, his eyes partially closed, his lips slightly parted, the hot breath hitching as his magnificent sword waved before me.” (Excuse me? His sword? Is he going to slice her head off?)

I cringe or laugh, sometimes both.  Along the same lines, certain words may be too crude, rude or shocking to use in your romance novel. This will depend on the subgenre. If you are writing a steeple hills sweet romance where they close the doors and turn the lights off, use of the words vulva, vagina, penis may be considered too vulgar. On the flip side if you are writing a BDSM erotica, using “his man-sword” instead of “cock” will leave your reader in a fit of giggles. OR maybe that’s your preferred method of masochism. If it is,  good luck with that.

If, as a writer, you are too uncomfortable to describe the scene, maybe you should choose a different genre.  Know your genre, know your audience, and don’t be surprised that someone will complain regardless.

Don’t forget this is a blog hop. Anyone can join at any point in the MFRW 52 week challenge…  Click here. Make sure you check out some of the other authors below.

You can find other posts in this series by yours truly here:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor

 

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

23.

Red Wine Makeover!


Greta Garbo, and Monroe
Deitrich and DiMaggio
Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean
On the cover of a magazine

Grace Kelly; Harlow, Jean
Picture of a beauty queen
Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire
Ginger Rodgers, dance on air

They had style, they had grace
Rita Hayworth gave good face
Lauren, Katherine, Lana too
Bette Davis, we love you

Ladies with an attitude
Fellows that were in the mood
Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it
Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it

Vogue, vogue

Ah, those flashback moments. When I received my finished  cover last night,  I was singing this song to myself. Weird maybe, but there it is. Particularly this  section of Madonna’s song Vogue, They had style, they had grace . . . . ladies with an attitude.

Have you ever seen pictures of some of Hollywood’s darlings without their makeup? It gives hope for the rest of us! Seriously, some of the stars in the raw have you scratching your head and asking How?

There have been tons of makeover shows on TV. Biggest Loser’s most viewed episodes are makeover week when they transform the former fatties into Haute Couture Hotties.

My book, Red Wine & Roses was originally published from Eclectic Bard Books last year, September 19, 2015.

11924560_1472539119715060_6584436532208606751_n (3)While I loved the elegant and understated cover, readers found it confusing. Some thought that it was perhaps like a Steeple Hill Christian romance, like this reviewer:  red-wine-roses-1

on December 8, 2015
First things first, I am not a prude. With that out of the way, it would have been good knowing that this book included graphic sex. The story overall did not need such scenes, I felt they were added to embellish and titillate. The main story was good on its own, but the end felt rushed, as if the Author was limited to a certain amount of pages. Or, perhaps after running thru a 2 -3 hour movie, they rolled up the last three chapters after the final commercial break. This was most definitely not my cup of tea, but it could be yours. The characters are well defined and fleshed out with certain aspects of them coming to light only late in the game. It is also about a young woman looking for love. If you come into this book knowing there will be hot and heavy scenes, you may enjoy it more than I did. Well written and described.
I appreciate his honesty! I was surprised, to be honest that someone would read a contemporary romance and be surprised that there is sex. I thought I had tamed it down and that it wasn’t as graphic as I have been on Storytime.  Then there was the comment about it being rushed, . . .  which I think had more to do with my edits than anything else.  I tried years ago to write a Christian romance, and I couldn’t do it.  With the CBA restrictions on words that I couldn’t use I had to eliminate a character named Angel, along with cut out so much of my story because of the prohibited words, I threw my hands up in defeat and realized I can’t tell the story I want to tell within those restrictions. Life is gritty  and that’s when we learn and grow.
So, . . .my contract with Eclectic Bard Books ended November 18, 2016. This book is now retired.  I do have a few print copies left in stock.
However, I am rereleasing a 2nd edition, retaining full rights of my work (thank you for that Eclectic Bard Books). the word count went from 82K to 91K, so some of those rushed chapters are now  more fully fleshed out. Part of this was a matter of adding back in some cut sections and adding additional lines in others.
Today, I get to unveil the  revised version! Are you ready?
Thanks to my fabulous cover artist Gabrielle Pendergast atwww.coveryourdreams.net. 

Drumroll . . . . 

redwine-ebookTADA!!!

And, 15175619_10154822248251177_1133214610_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t it gorgeous?  I absolutely love it!

I will share the release date just as soon as I have it, but until then . . . enjoy the eye candy!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends, and  happy by proxy Turkey day to all of my  no ‘Murican friends. Enjoy the  family, friends and celebrations. No Black Friday shopping for me, I’m not into that. Instead, that will be the day we transform our modest home into a Christmas time capsule akin to some of the old department store displays.

This is my favorite time of year! What better Christmas gift to myself than a makeover of my debut novel? OH I know, starting on revisions for my next one, Roxy Sings the Blues, which is planned for release in early 2017!

Now go eat some pie! Tell ’em Ellie said so!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Interview with Nikki Jefford


While I was at Penned Con 2016,  I got the opportunity to talk with and  interview a few authors live, one on one..  OK,  so I fangirled a lot as well. What can I say?

Nikki Jefford is one of those authors. I took a big breath, exhaled loudly,  then quickly approached her to do an interview.  She was such an amazing sport, and I know I cut into her set up time.

Sorry Nikki! I had only read the first  of her books but was already in love with this character and series. I was so nervous however,  that I forgot to get her to autograph a print copy for me. Next time Nikki, don’t let me forget!

You can tell I was nervous,  I was tongue tied, which is rare for me.

I first saw a post on Facebook in the Penned Con group from Nikki back in April I think. She posted a release for her latest book, True North (Aurora Sky, Vampire Hunter book 6) and I had never heard of it before that time. It piqued  my curiosity so I went over to Amazon and immediately got book 1,  because I can’t jump into a series on book 6 that’s just crazy. I’m currently on book 3.

nikkijeffordallbookssquare-v2

I talk way too much when I am nervous and Nikki was great about it. *facepalm*

nikkijefford550x800

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nikki Jefford is the author of the Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter series and Spellbound Trilogy. She is a third-generation Alaskan now living in the Pacific Northwest with her French husband and their Westie, Cosmo. When she’s not reading or writing she enjoys taking long walks and motorcycling. Lifelong nature and animal lover with a fondness for hot chocolate, tea, wine, and baked goods.

Find out more at Nikki’s website at: http://www.nikkijefford.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authornikkijefford/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NikkiJefford

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nikkijefford/

Go check  out her latest book. Better yet,  get the series!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

Interview with Amy Hale


While I was at Penned Con 2016,  I got the opportunity to talk with and actually interview a few authors.  OK,  so I fangirled a lot as well. What can I say?

(You may have to turn the volume up,  I haven’t figured everything out yet.)

Letters From Jayson by Amy Hale

Jayson wants a quiet place to finish his current project. With one missed deadline behind him, he doesn’t have time for distractions and interruptions.

When Lindsey temporarily moves into a beach house owned by her best friend’s fiancé, she finds that it’s already occupied… by Jayson. To him, she’s a nuisance and a distraction from his work. To her, he’s a conceited and bossy obstacle. Both annoyed at this unavoidable situation, they agree to make the most of their predicament and try to co-exist in peace until their work is done. But Lindsey and Jayson quickly learn there is a fine line between love and hate. Is it really possible to love someone that makes you so crazy? Blurb:

Lindsey is ready for a change.

Shallow relationships and a dead end job have left her longing for more, so when a rare, but difficult opportunity presents itself for a promotion and temporary change of scenery, she jumps at the chance to try something new.

Letters From Jayson is a heartfelt comedy about finding love and forgiveness in the midst of chaos.

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Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Letters-Jayson-Amy-Hale-ebook/dp/B01J2EPZR2/

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/letters-from-jayson-amy-hale/1123885820

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/letters-from-jayson/id1120781774

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/letters-from-jayson

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/640719

Excerpt:

An hour later, Lindsey retied her sarong around her waist and slowly made her way back to the house. She smiled as she walked, taking note of every detail she passed. The sand, the rocks, plant life—everything felt perfect. And the solitude was amazing. Not a sound outside of nature could be heard. The waves crashing softly were the perfect background music to start her new adventure. She pulled open the French doors and stepped inside the cottage. Then she froze in place. She heard humming. Masculine humming. It was coming from the vicinity of the kitchen.

At that moment, a man walked through the doorway with a knife in one hand. His piercing blue eyes met hers, and he stopped in his tracks. She let out a scream and grabbed the nearest thing she could find, which turned out to be a small potted plant. Lifting it over her head, she flung it at the intruder. He ducked just as it smashed against the wall next to him.

  “Get out,” she screamed. “Get out. Get out. Get out.

Lady. Hold up a minute,” the stranger yelled back. He quickly glanced at the remnants of the plant, disapproval on his face.

“I’m going to call the cops. I’ll have you put away for life. Get out of this house, you sicko.” She ran for the bed-room that she’d left her bags in, hoping she could shut him out and get to her cell phone.

He got there first and blocked the door. “Calm down.”

Calm down?” she screeched as her eyes jumped from his to the knife still in his hand. She backed up as she blindly searched for something else to throw at him, and her hand landed on a small glass paperweight. She lobbed it at him, and his reflexes weren’t quite quick enough. It nailed him in the chest.

“Argh … Dammit! Stop throwing things at me.” He rubbed the spot where she’d hit him.

“If you think you can just waltz in here and … and … assault me, I’ll have you know that I will not go down without a fight.” Her tone was full of determination, but she was sure he could see the fear in her eyes.

“What are you talking about?” He held up his hands and only then seemed to realize he was holding a large kitchen knife. He looked back at her. “I’m gonna put the knife down and we will talk like rational adults, okay?”

She backed away from him several more steps before swallowing and giving him a reluctant nod.

He placed the knife on the table to his left, keeping his eyes on her the whole time. “Now, why are you yelling at me like a deranged banshee?”

“Why am I …” His description set her teeth on edge and her anger flared. “Listen, Bucko, I’m not an easy target, so don’t think you can smooth talk me or trick me into letting my guard down. And insulting me sure as hell won’t get you anywhere.”

He put his hands on his hips and raised one perfect eyebrow. “You listen, sweet cheeks, your virtue is safe. I don’t have to resort to forcing a woman if I’m in need of intimate company.” He took a moment to admire her red bikini and see-through sarong. “I mean, you’re hot and all, but don’t flatter yourself.”

She opened her mouth for a witty retort, but all that escaped was air. For a moment, she was actually speech-less, and that didn’t happen often. That moment quickly passed. “Why did you have a knife?”

He looked at her like she was an idiot. “To cut my sandwich.” He pointed to the coffee table in the middle of the room. A blue plate sat on one edge of the table—a large sandwich and a handful of chips covered most of the surface. An open beer bottle was nearby.

“A sandwich?” She was really confused. Why would a guy break in and make a sandwich? She looked him over then, really taking notice of him. She amended that thought—Why would a guy break in and make a sandwich, wearing nothing but lounge pants? He wasn’t just any guy, either, he might have easily been the most attractive man she’d ever set eyes on. He looked to be a few inches taller than her and was muscular everywhere. Not bodybuilder, vein-popping huge, but more like lean cut and definition that spoke of a man who took good care of himself. His face was classically handsome, with an angled jawline and rugged features, yet there was also something about him that made her think of that adorable boy she’d had a crush on in fourth grade. Maybe it was the bright-blue eyes, or the spiky but messy hair. Or it could have been that impish grin that told her he knew just what she was thinking. Damn, he caught me checking him out.

She shook off those thoughts and glared at him. Typical. Handsome and full of himself. Before she could fire off her next set of questions, he pinned her with a hard look.

“Now that we’ve established that the only thing I planned to murder is a hoagie, maybe you can explain to me what you are doing?”

She pulled herself to her full height and looked him in the eye. “I don’t owe you an explanation for anything.”

“Since you are in my house, uninvited, I might add, I’d say you do.”

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Author Bio:

Amy Hale is an author, mother, and wife living in Illinois. She started her writing career in 2003 with non-fiction and educational pieces, but decided to take the leap to fiction in 2014. She’s always plotting new projects and writing down crazy ideas. She’s a hopeless romantic and adores all the various ways a love story can be told. Amy also loves mystery, humor, suspense, and other action-filled stories, so her goal is to blend the action with romance and keep you on your toes.
Her husband and kids are the center of her universe, although her cat believes otherwise. She also loves reading, music, and photography. When she’s not writing or reading, Amy can be found watching MST3K movies with her kids, or enjoying the scenery fly by from the back of her husband’s motorcycle.

 

Social Media:

Website: http://www.authoramyhale.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoramyhale

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authoramyhale

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authoramyhale/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authoramyhale/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChcgDFwggfO6NziPrGtLzHg

Go check  out her latest book, and maybe take a gander at  her others!

Write on my freinds, write on!

Ellie

Writing THAT scene


iheart

I am rapidly approaching a milestone, posting my 500th post. I was amazed last week when I saw this. Have I really made that many posts? HOW? This prompted something that I’ve had in my head for a while. I’ve discussed it with my writing group but up until now, I haven’t done anything with it. In that vein, I am working on something that will be ready for release during Penned Con! ( September 23 and 24)

This was originally posted February 15, 2012 entitled Steamy Sex Scenes. This was one of my most viewed posts. I received a lot of feedback from this, most of it comments that I did not share publicly. I find it disturbing the number of creeps that come out of the woodwork if that three letter word is used. Oh, I so wanted to respond to some of them, but at the end of the day, I chose to ignore and quietly delete them instead of engaging.

The WIP referenced is the third book of Realm Wars, tentatively titled Faere Guardian. I have shelved this for the time being as my previous coach advised me that I need to tell the story arc main plot first, to which I agreed.

First things first, this very much depends on the genre you are writing for.

In an Inspirational Romance, there will be NO steamy sex scenes. The list of words not allowed by the CBA is  extensive. Any impropriety is frowned upon and the slightest touch of hands can be provocative. The word desire and provocative are prohibited. You can imagine how monumental that first kiss has to be.

I like to read historical fiction and historical romance. Often the societal norms are to be observed in the telling of the romance between characters. The conflict and tension have to be developed in a manner that draws the reader expectantly along to the point of anticipated release. In these novels, a very sweet innocent progression of love usually culminates with the conclusion of a marriage where the sex is kept within the norms. Isn’t it fascinating however that within the Victorian Era of “proper society” was a sharp rise of immoral behavior?

What I’m working on now is a paranormal romance. The paranormal genre has been dominated by vampires and werewolves, but not exclusive to just them. Time travel, shape-shifters, magical elements, and yes vampires,Lycans and other mythological beings qualify in paranormal. Whatever subplot is going on, the primary story is always the romance. My story does not include vampires. It revolves around the Celtic mythology of the Tuatha  de Danaan or the Faerie realm.

My WIP (work in progress) is not an erotica nor am I a smut peddler. I hate when people use that term! Why is it  wrong to write about the love developing between characters and their natural desires for physical love, yet it’s OK to write macabre tales of murder?

Why write the sex scene?

If the story doesn’t call for it, don’t! If it’s just inserted for the purpose of sex, it’s gratuitous and should be omitted. If it moves the story forward, moves their relationship forward, and moves their own development forward then by all means, the characters should be between the sheets.

That’s a lot for a sex scene to have to accomplish!

Yes, it is! If it doesn’t accomplish these things leave it out or push it till later. Again, I’m not writing porn here!  I’m not writing a gratuitous sex scene just to write it. A good sex scene is difficult to write.

There are my own feelings to deal with.  If I’m not comfortable with the act, how am  I going to convey it effectively to a reader?  If you’re not comfortable reading about it, or actually doing it, then I suggest you move on to some other topic. I’m sure there are several articles about the current mortgage rates and the recovering housing market if that is more interesting.

There is the matter of the characters likes and dislikes. Maybe Joe is a sloppy kisser and Jill has hangups from being raped in high school by a man who was a sloppy kisser. This is why a writer has to know everything there is to know about their characters.  My characters are not flat Stanleys.  They are fully rounded people with backgrounds, families, quirks, and dreams. Just as in real life, there are certain turn-ons and turn-offs.  It’s the  spark that ignites between Jill and Joe, not between Jill and Tom, Brad, Bill, Derek, Randy, and every other man. It’s the spark, that secret key that unlocks their hearts and makes them willing to take the scary plunge into the sea of love.

There is the matter of building the expectations. By chapter 2 my characters are attracted to each other but in my personal world, it’s not proper protocol to jump in the sack on the first date. They have to wait and let the tension build. The relationship has to escalate, desire building to a crescendo of emotional turmoil,  the physical desire so strong  that they are willing to risk everything to be with each other.

Dramatic?  Yes, it’s supposed to be.

Cheesy?  The premise yes, but this is the stuff every woman fantasizes about and seldom realizes. This is why women read romances in the first place.  Real life demands our attention in various directions. A good romance offers an escape from the mountain of dirty laundry and the mess the kids just made on the floor for the umpteenth time.

Usually, the sex scene occurs about 2/3 of the way through the book. I have a friend that skims the first few chapters then jumps to this point, reads it then she’s done. Her philosophy is that all romances are the same, just different names so why not jump to the good part? Because she misses the entire story. It’s all about the story!

My paranormal romance is about a man and a woman who are falling in love. My moral integrity dictates to me what I am comfortable writing and what I’m not really comfortable with. To be honest, I’m more comfortable writing a battle scene that is more akin to 300 than to write the sex scenes. Sex is an intimate issue. It’s an important part of a relationship, but not the only part. I believe in a one woman one man relationship where there is mutual trust and respect. The couple learn about each other, explore each other, and give pleasure to each other. Isn’t that what is supposed to happen in a loving relationship? My characters may get frisky, may experiment with food, or blindfolds and silk scarves but my hero is never going to invite another guy into the picture or  have a bit on the side.

Sex is not just the physical act, if you want that go read Penthouse or some  gratuitous erotica that’s out there. Let me say here that not all erotica is gratuitous sex either. There are authors who make the effort to tell a story that happens to include a lot of sex. I write romance, a story that shows the developing relationship in the midst of whatever chaos happens to be going on in the world I created. In a romantic relationship, sex eventually happens when they progress to that intimate level.

The steamy part is tricky. Writing the scene to show the building tension, the desire, the passion without telling. Conveying the emotional impact of every touch, scent, and senses while making it last long enough to peak the reader’s interest and satisfy the character’s needs is a daunting task.

Ever see the Olympic figure skaters that make it look easy and natural? A good writer can make the sex scene like that. The reader never sees the hours of practice, the blood coming from the fingertips, the strain of putting the words together to show and not tell.

Having been married for many years, I know very well what goes on. Knowing that tab A is inserted into slot B is only part of the puzzle. I have read some things that make me wonder if the writer has actually ever experienced what they had written. Makes me wonder if their anatomy is somehow different.

Being comfortable in writing the most intimate acts down is another matter. Writing the scene that conveys the emotional impact while progressing the story is my goal. When Joe and Jill take that step, they have to be ready for it. Things between them will never be the same after the scene.

It’s really the same in real life. Once you share the intimate act of sex with a partner, there’s no going back. You’ve crossed a line that can never be uncrossed. If the line is crossed too soon, the relationship may never develop beyond “the act”. If that line is never crossed one or more may lose interest and move on.

I’m a firm believer in friends first lovers second. I married my best friend. It wasn’t a light matter for us to cross that line and I believe it shouldn’t be for my characters either.

The bottom line in romance is that we all want somebody to love us unconditionally. Letting someone into your heart at the level of intimacy that sex requires is a scary and tricky risk. In my romantic world, taking that risk should be rewarding. Ah, but there’s always the plot twist of unrequited love.  The darkest moment when the whole world is collapsing in on them and everything has gone wrong.  The moment they realize their own vulnerability because they took that risk and have to decide if it was worth it.

How much more impact does the steamy sex scene have when a few chapters later she is left heartbroken by the man she gave everything to? Sex scenes carry power if they are done well.