Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Hunting Shenanigans Part II

Uh-oh. Our regular guest author, Margie Church, is back. And her men are up to their hunting shenanigans again!---Faith

 I was here a few weeks ago to share a few tidbits about how the hunters in my family have turned into rednecks. And of course, that is precisely why I stay behind on these outings. If they took me along, I'm sure that my body would be found on some deserted gravel road. Buzzkill, killjoy – yeah, that would be me along with a huge ration of scaredy-cat. I've learned to cook what they bring home. I've also had to put up with conversations like these.

Me: "Hi, are you on your way home?"
DH: "Not quite."
Me: "Oh? Why not? It's a five-hour drive."
DH: "I had a little trouble with the DNR up here. Luckily they didn't take my truck or my grandpa's antique gun."
After that little conversation involving shooting from a gravel road and changes in road signage, DH became the President of what I called the "Offenders Club." I'm not sure anyone in the group has ever gotten a ticket as high as his.

 Then there was Christmas 2011. The bow hunters were at it again. "Come home by 5:00 for dinner," I tell them as they dash out the door. It's dark here by 4:00 and when the phone rang at 4:30, I had this feeling.
DH: "Send Zach out here, will you? I shot a deer and we can't find it."
Me: "Oh, no."  None of us likes the idea of a wounded animal left to die. "I'll send him."

And so I'm left alone on Christmas Eve with our dinner slowly drying out. Eventually, I caved in and ate alone, on a TV tray while watching the news. Around 8:00, the three of them came home without the deer. They were apologetic of course, but the evening was toast.
Me: "So what are you going to do now?"
DH gave me a sheepish look. "We'll go look for it tomorrow, okay?"
I checked the calendar. Tomorrow was Christmas day. And so, after mass and dinner, the three of them took off in search of the deer. The weather here last Christmas was unseasonably warm. Likely the deer meat was spoiled even if they found it. I watched a movie with my mom and took a nap while they continued the great search and came home empty handed. I have to say, DH felt bad about throwing a monkey wrench into the holiday, and even worse about wounding an animal.
He took another shot at a deer on New Year's Eve. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson and just said no hunting on holidays. But I didn't. And the deer went missing and so did they. Luckily they found the deer the next morning. Temperatures dropped enough not to worry about whether the meat was okay. They processed the deer in the garage and in the kitchen. I stayed out of sight until it was over.
This year, I have a different strategy. I cook dinner at the usual time. They can eat it or not before they leave. Come Christmas, I think I'll make soup and sandwiches. To go.

If you're a hunting widow or looking for a great story to heat up your chilly autumn night, check out Razor. This is the first book in a 3-book series that I'm writing with K.B. Cutter. This erotic romance has a fascinating twist and BDSM elements. It's not typical by any stretch of the imagination and it's scorching hot. Readers have raved about the story and we hope you'll love it too.

Blurb: Razor by Margie Church & K.B. Cutter
Amy and Bryce have a happy, strong marriage. So why would Amy suggest bringing her best friend, Raine, who also is a lifestyle Domme, into their relationship? To gain a little control in the bedroom.

Initially, Bryce thinks his wife's request is ridiculous, but he's committed to his marriage and wants her to be happy. His new relationship with Raine is exciting and confusing. He loves Amy deeply, and now feels an emotional connection to Raine, too. What has he gotten himself into?

As Bryce and Raine's relationship evolves, Amy discovers a new capacity to love and share in ways she never imagined. Raine brings out the kink in everyone. And more.

This groundbreaking, erotic trilogy continues in Razor: Love's Storm.

CONTEST:  What do you think of this story's premise? The most honest, interesting answer will win a copy of the eBook.

Can't wait?  Buy Razor now on Amazon, B&N, and Sony. 

Friday, 26 October 2012

From Military Memoir to Paranormal Romance

Welcome author Lisa Carlisle to Four Strong Women!

Hi, I’m Lisa Carlisle, author of the Underground Encounters series with Ellora’s Cave. For over ten years before I began writing this series, I focused on non-fiction. So I’m here today to compare just one of the many differences between writing these two types of books: memoirs of serving as petite female in the Marine Corps to erotic paranormal romances. Can you think of two more different worlds? So just imagine how different it is to write them. 

Memory versus Imagination

In my memoirs, I had to rely on memory. And if you’ve ever had an argument with someone, you know how people remember things differently! I reconstructed conversations the way I remembered them. To cover my ass, I included an author’s note reading this is the way I remember events and conversations. Luckily, I kept all my letters from that time so I had a number of reference materials to consult when trying to remember what and when something happened. Was it before or after another event? 

In fiction, no worries - I can make it all up! 

Okay, maybe it’s not so easy as that. When creating characters and new worlds, you have to remember the details about them. What do they look like? What’s their background? For instance, in my recent book, I had the heroine’s mom as single in the beginning of the book, but then had a scene at the end where she had remarried. Yikes! When working on a book for months at a time, it helps to keep a character sheet noting details like these. Maybe one day, I’ll use one myself. ;) Okay, I’ve started one. I’m now at the third book in my series so realizing that it’s becoming necessary, especially if characters are going to pop up again later in other books. 

And although you’re making things up in your paranormal world, are they believable? You don’t want something so out there that people will think it’s nonsense. 

Now I’ll tell you about my most recent release. For an erotic vampire novella just in time for Halloween, check out Smoldering Nights, the first in the Underground Encounters series. 

“If you are looking for a short story full of action and passion then pick up and get ready to be hooked on the series.” ~ Sizzling Hot Book Reviews.

Smoldering Nights
Nike loves visiting the goth club Vamps—she can exchange her firefighter uniform for a slinky fantasy outfit. There she runs into the man she’d been admiring from afar at a rock climbing gym. He’s been the star of all her sexual fantasies, so is it any wonder they end up in his private room upstairs? Just when things begin to heat up, Michel’s enemies appear.

Only Michel isn’t an ordinary mortal. And someone from his past is on the hunt for vengeance. Michel and Nike are forced on the run and hide out in a coastal cottage in Maine. They can’t resist their attraction and spend the nights exploring each others’ bodies while trying to sort out how they feel about each other. Can they overcome their differences to be together? And how will they evade the predators who are chasing them? 

About Lisa Carlisle
I’ve loved the vampire myth since I was in third grade and had a crush on Dracula (rivaled only by my eternal love for Darth Vader). Now I have a strange attraction to Severus Snape–apparently I have a thing for dark, brooding guys wearing capes. 
When I was younger, I served in the Marine Corps and backpacked around Europe on my own, which has provided me enough settings and characters for a lifetime of writing. Currently, I live in the Boston area with my fantastic, supportive husband and two kids. I’m very happy to be a multi-published, award-winning author writing in different genres.

Visit my Web site at www.lisacarlislebooks.com 
For more of my writing, check out my non-fiction Web site at www.lisacordeiro.com

Let's connect on 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Gone Off the Deep End

After I graduated high school, I moved to the Greater Cincinnati Area and soon found work in an animal shelter as a caretaker. Later I even worked for a veterinarian as the same. I love animals, grew up with a menagerie of pets on our 23-acre farm, and since having to rent, I’ve owned only cats, dogs, ferrets, and usually kept a nice aquarium—and still do.

Now let’s fast forward about fifteen or twenty years. What the hell has gotten into animal rights activists, shelters, and fostering agencies for animals? They’ve gone off the deep end and are often extremists, imho.

Before anyone who works/volunteers for an animal shelter or some sort of animal rescue place or hospital gets your panties in a twist when you read this—I do love animals, and like I said above, I’ve worked for a shelter and a vet. However, I draw the line when I’m told what I can and cannot adopt, where the dog/cat is to be kept, and how many visits to the veterinarian I am *forced* to make with my pet. The amount of hoops adoptive owners now have to leap through to give a poor kitty or dog a home nowadays is unbelievable.

I believe it's easier to adopt a child from overseas than it is to adopt a dog in my area. I'm not kidding. My oldest daughter recently went through this with one of our local shelters. Moreover, she was told she could not take the dog out of the county. Say what? I can hear myself ranting if I had been in her shoews... Look, chickiepoo, you should be grateful I’m shelling out nearly $200 for said mutt and providing a good, warm, loving home for it, so don’t get up on your socialist high horse. You're full of crap if you're telling me we have to stay in the current county because of a dog! And don’t you dare tell me I have no choice but to keep it indoors. If I wanna adopt a dog to help me in herding the sheep or corralling the cows, it’s going to have a nice doghouse or a spot in the hay barn to sleep. Not all animals are required to live inside. The medieval days of sleeping with the livestock for warmth are over!

Again, I am totally serious about these policies. I can't stand to deal with the county, let alone higher forms of government. Too many brainless officials running a muck.

My mother adopted a cat several years ago. She was told when the adoption was all said and done it would cost her $70. It took ALL afternoon for the paperwork to be completed, and by the time she left with the cat, the shelter had charged my mother $115. She came out of there with tears in her eyes because she had to dip into her emergency money to pay for her new companion.

I was furious. I was told to get in the car....

So, anyway, now shelters are forcing owners (don’t tell me to say pet parent or I will throw up) to take their pets to the vet x amount a times per year—and they check with the pet's vets to verify this then call you and bitch if you’ve missed an appointment. And then these people have the nerve to get on TV and go on and on about how everyone should adopt a shelter animal, how fewer people are adopting, why aren't more people adopting...

First, if I’m gonna have to pay out the butt for a dog or cat I might as well pitch in another couple hundred and buy a purebred with papers, not to mention it’s easier and less time consuming! Oh, and let’s not forget the nosy, nitpicking employees who drive out to your home to inspect it before they’ll even consider allowing you to adopt that beagle/basset/shepard mix that has been waiting for a home for the last 18 months.

I realize the shelters want to stop animal cruelty and they want the pets to have good homes. I feel the same way. But for crying out loud, when it’s so difficult to adopt an animal because of all the rules and regulations, plus the high prices to adopt, these organizations have no room to complain. And don’t even get me started on ‘oh, but the meds, vaccines, and vet bills come out of those fees’. Again, I worked for a veterinarian. Vets make excellent money. Anyone who has had to pay for surgery to be done on their pet knows you need to sell Great Aunt Gertrude’s silverware to pay for the procedure. Yes, some vets donate money and time, but all vets should do this (and human doctors should do the same to say thank you for their BMWs and Porches). Both professions are to help others, not rake in the dough.

Also, what happened to our rights? When someone is tossed into a jail cell because he’s stomped a dog to death—and this is a horrible crime, indeed—but a woman can’t get the law to protect her from a husband who beats the hell out of her and the children, there’s something wrong with this picture. Our local news stations are always looking for something to report, so we hear a lot about abused animals and the perpetrators serving jail time for it. Fine 'em, give ‘em 90 days, but for Heaven’s sake, but what makes that more important than a woman entering a hospital because her boyfriend or spouse broke her jaw or snapped her son's arm?

Society's principles are questionable at best. I’m sorry about the li’l dog, but that woman and her children’s well being is more important. I feel like common sense has gone the way of the dinosaurs.

Wow, I’m on a big soap box today...ahem!

So, my daughter wanted a couple of dogs. Her landlord said that was fine and even lets her have them inside. However, there’s a big mouse in their rental they’ve tried everything to catch; it’s a smart, evasive li’l sucker. She asked the landlord if she could adopt a cat and explained it would be a mouser as well as a companion. The cat is a big, beautiful gray fella. After all the trouble she went through to adopt him, after her landlord said she could have an indoor cat, he comes into her home, takes one look at her fat, fuzzy pet, and orders her to get rid of him. And this was after having the cat for nearly a year. Seriously? After she’s had it a year and it’s nothing but a lazy lap cat?

So guess who has the cat now? [shakes head] Yeah, you guessed it. I do.

Why do people have to make everything so difficult? And why does the county government have to be as nosy as the state and federal governments and yet toss people to the curb who need help?

It’s like finding out how many licks it takes to reach the center of the Tootsie Roll Pop. The world may never know.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Vampires Next Door?

Welcome today's guest, Trinity Blacio, who just might have...well...there might be vampires next door!

You know how you’re always nervous about moving into a new home or new neighborhood? Well, I’m there. Last June my family and I moved from a bigger town to a smaller one, from an apartment to a large home. Talk about a lot of work and, of course, who had to pack and unpack everything? ME!

Finally, we are settled. The kids have now been in school for over a month, and have new friends and a new way of life. I’ve met one of my neighbor’s who is very nice person, but on the people on the other side of us... Let’s just say we’re still confused. Right now we call them The Vampires.

Oh, we’ve seen them in the daytime, but rarely and only when said teenager is having a pool party. But most of the time their house is shut up against the sun. At night the doors come open and the lights brighten their once dark home.

On many occasions I have woken to get a glass of water and saw our neighbors wide awake at three in the morning. I’ll be standing there drinking my water, gazing out my kitchen window, and their house is full of life at night. Even the children are up roaming or they would be swimming late at night.

Is there a man of the house? I think so, but so far I’ve only caught him mowing the lawn once and then one time at night when the parents threw a party. The mother is the same way; I’ve seen her mow the grass, but soon after she is in the house.

Of course being the polite person that I am, I smile and wave, but still nothing from either of them. {{Sigh}} If they are vampires, I sure wish they would come bite me. I’d love to live forever, find a cute, hunky vampire dude to cuddle up to—and let’s not forget the hot, steamy vampire sex that goes with such a man. 

We can all dream, can’t we? So what have I been up to other than moving? I’ve been trying to get back into the writing grove. So far I have one Christmas story done and sent to my new agent, and I’m halfway done with book eight of my Running In Fear Series. I’m hoping to have it out around Halloween, so stay tuned.

Christmas give away. I invite all of you to come over to my blog, on November first. I will be giving away a nice size box of Christmas gifts. I will pick the winner on December 20.

Below is the blurb for After Dark on Bourbon Street. Please check out the first seven books of the series at Ravenous Romance.
Don’t forget to check me out on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Trinity-Blacio/96394356778

Valda Sart hated being Skunk Ape, Bigfoot, Yeti, and so on. She was no ordinary Skunk Ape. Valda had gifts and kept them hidden. However, now someone was hunting her and she knew it was only a matter of time before they caught her. All six men in her pack, the one she’d been promised would not give up on her, were determined to claim her. At birth, each female was promised to another clan, and Valda was no exception.
Her only option was to use her gift and blend in with the rest of the people around her. Hiding among the humans, Valda realized how much her life sucked; that was until she forged a new life in New Orleans. Here in the city, she had friends and men actually talked to her, courted her.
For the last six years something had pulled at her. It was only a matter of time before she, too, would have to join Jaycee, Suzanne, and Lissa on the new planet. Even in her dreams she’d seen the new, beautiful world, and the wide range of beings already living there.
            How can they ask her to give up romance, love, and friends? Didn’t they know what it would mean if this group of men found her?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


I'm still in shock. It's been easily 15 years since I last went to the laundry mat. Well, our dryer broke a month or two ago, and fall in Northern Ontario is just....well, fall in Northern Ontario. Wet. Cold. Rainy. Miserable. But four people wearing clothes means there is always laundry to do. Especially if one of those four people is a teenage girl.

All summer, a broken dryer was no big deal. Just hang the clothes on the line outside. Cheaper anyway, right? Of course! Enter fall. And the rain. And the cold. And the miserable. For Two Weeks!!!!!! Socks and underwear and dancing tights are getting to be in short supply, so, I broke down. I hauled two weeks of four people's clothing, towels and bedding to the laundromat in a cab, because we're environmentally friendly and don't own a car.


Let's just say between cab fare and those machines? I could almost have bought a used dryer for the amount of money I spent last night. That's a pocket full of cash and three and a half hours of my life I will never get back.

In fact, the more I think about it, the madder I get. I would be over the moon if I got paid by the hour what I spent by the hour last night. Hell, I'd sure as shootin' be able to afford a new clothes dryer, never mind a used one...

Thank goodness for my son and his irresistible baby blues. The very nice Christian laundromat owner and her friend had ordered pizza, and all he had to do was look longingly at that box once and they were all over offering him slices of pizza pie and cookies for dessert. Which I appreciate, because once she empties those machines out, she can sure afford it better than I can!!!

But....HUZZAH!!!!!!! Observe: the blessed mountain of clean laundry. So at least there's that.

Monday, 15 October 2012

I HATE my computer!!!

Please help us welcome Nicole Morgan. Oh, do I know this feeling!

~ ~ ~

Okay, not really. I actually love my computer. It was an affordable option at a time when I really needed a laptop. And it's been really very good to me over the past year and a half. It's not the computer itself. It's the work that needs to be done on the computer on a daily basis. I mean how many hours is a woman supposed to be able to sit in front of a computer all day long before it becomes inevitable that she will go completely BSC (aka bat sh*t crazy)?

I'm sure many authors out there will agree that it's hard to manage the multitude of tasks that we have in this day and age of publishing in the 21st Century. Between general promoting, interacting with our fellow authors and hopping all over the net to both spread the word about our books, but also help our colleagues, there are times when I run out of enough hours in the day to even write.

Ahh...but, of course I start off every day with a "master plan" to be super productive the first couple of hours so I can spend the rest of day offline and doing nothing but what I love the most, writing. *sigh* That would be so nice. Still, no matter how many times I start every day with this resolve of turning off the little internet option on my laptop it never happens.

Now, I could ask you all to share with me your tips on how to better manage my time, get more accomplished and be the best that I can be, but I won't. See, this is a mini-rant. I'm a frustrated woman at the end of my rope who just wants one of you to please, for the love of all that is good and righteous in the world to please, please invent a machine that stops all time so I can catch up and *POOF* I'll say, "look at all I got done today!"

*Sigh* If only... If only...

Okay, back to work I go, but I would just like to say that out of all the ways I would like my butt to hurt, having it sore from sitting too much was not what I had in mind. Grrr...

Nicole Morgan aka BSC Author ;)

~ ~ ~


Jace Walker served his country for ten years in the Army. Years of combat and war left him with invisible wounds which bring him to the lowest point in his life. In a moment of crisis, he meets his angel.

After years of being an attentive and loyal wife, Alexis Foster catches her husband's infidelity. Her life changes as she gets divorced and becomes a single parent.

Years pass and Jace finds his angel once again. Only this time she's no longer married. He vows to do anything in his power to sweep her off her feet and make the angel he remembered from all those years before become his. Despite her insecurities, the two find an attraction stronger than either of them anticipated.

Will he entice her into letting down her walls? Or will she entice him into finding a true and unrelenting love?

eBook purchase link:

Paperback purchase links:

Saturday, 13 October 2012


by D.L. Jackson
So I got up the other morning, after my husband left for work, and turned on the television on my way by to the kitchen to make oatmeal. As I stirred my blueberries and cream, I hear the narrator on the television, which I intended to switch to the news once I came back through. I’ve gotten used to finding it on “The Hunting Channel” when I turn it on. It’s pretty much a given.  When he falls asleep on the couch, that station is usually on.

Continuing on here....

To get the full effect of this next bit, you need to read it out loud, like you are narrating an episode of the Dukes of Hazard.

“This couple first meant in the woods while out hunting, it was love at first sight. Now, years later they hunt together, with their two boys, Walker, and Walker Jr.”


“Walker and Walker Jr. are too young to go on this big hunt, so they’re back at the spread, doing a little predator hunting, while mom and dad stalk the big game.”

Okay...really? You can’t be more creative than that? I guess it will save her voice when she calls them in from their hunting for vittles. As for me, I changed the channel to the news and moved on to starting my day. Routine.

My twenty-second anniversary is today, and I’m reflecting on the things I’ve seen and learned over the years about men and marriage. Now, not all our guys are into “The Hunting Channel,” but I’ll bet there are a few behaviors you’ll recognize in this post. 

So without further delay, here are the things I’ve learned in the last twenty-two years of marriage.

1.  If you want something done, fire up his power saw or chain saw, and then act like you haven't got a clue. This goes for rotatillers, screw guns and any other thing that makes noise and is used to dismantle or build.
2.   If you want him to pick up his dirty underwear from the bathroom floor, don't put a hamper in there.
3.   Men will leave a teaspoon of milk in the jug or a spoonful of ice cream in the carton, just so they can say they didn't take the last bit, or have to throw it away. This is a battle you will never win, so just finish it off and toss it.
4.  The Lifetime Movie network is helpful if you want him to leave the room.
5.  Spiders and mice are amusing, especially if they make you scream, or tree you on the kitchen table.
6.  Don't buy a vehicle that has window locks on the driver's side. He will take advantage of this feature, giving gas chamber a whole new meaning.
7.  No matter how bad a cook his mother is, she is always better than you.
8.  If you want your sink drain cleaned...never mind, no way have I can say this, is going to come out right.
9.  What's yours is mine and what's mine is yours, except for the tools, the riding lawnmower, guns and snowmobiles, and then those are just his, but he's pretty sure the shovel, wheelbarrow and rake are jointly owned.
10.  Homemade bread will get you out of just about anything.
11.  Thou shalt not hide the keys to his gun cabinet in your box of tampons, it angers the hunting gods. One should however, leave them hanging in the open gun safe door, because that is why you have it.
12.  Speaking of hunting.... A buck is a buck, not his little deer, and if he kills one with a rack, it’s going to end up hanging on your wall.
 13.  Let sleeping men lie. Don't try to confiscate the remote while he naps on the couch. Get your own, or better yet, use that app on your cell phone. They always wake up barking they were watching it, even if it is an infomercial, and they will leave it on that infomercial to prove their point, even if it's for a bra or male enhancement.
14.  He snores. I snore louder.
15.  Couch = Sleep. See 14.
16.  He’s a better driver. No matter what you say, or that he’s had more tickets than you. He is a better driver. Why yes, I think this interstate goes around Washington DC. I’m pretty sure that’s the third time we’ve seen the Monument.
17. “You never listen to anything I ever say.” “That’s not true, honey. I listen to everything you say and then do what I’m going to do anyway.”
18.  The best time to ask for something is while he is watching football.
19. Left over canned whip cream is not for a sexy night, it’s for spraying into your mouth from the can and stopping short of emptying it, leaving  one squirt. When asked where the whip cream went, you shrug your shoulders and look at the (insert one of these) kids, cat,  or dog. Note:  He also finds this technique handy when he has gas, except for when you are in the rolling gas chamber, your knowing what is coming is half the fun.
20.  Men don’t show their love for you with flowers, not unless you hint at it multiple times or they’ve been a bad boy, they fix your toilet.  I’m more likely to gush, “Awh, you love me,” when the toilet flushes, than when he shows up with flowers, which make me wonder what he did.
21.  He kisses me every day before he leaves for work and tells me he loves me. He does this because, if it’s the last time he saw me, he wants me to know how he feels. In his heart he’s really a romantic. Just don’t tell him I said that. By the way, I’ve never needed a handy man. Every toilet flushes in my house and every drain is clean. Sometimes they don’t always show it with big romantic gestures, but if you look, they show it many other ways. My house has always been full of love.

Well, thanks for stopping by. Tell me some of the things you’ve learned relationships over the years, the odd quirks, the aww things he or she does.

Find D.L. Jackson at: Facebook   Website 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A Serial Monogamist

Okay, this is a unique post. It's also hilarious. Welcome author J.M. Kelley to Four Strong Women!---Faith

I write romance. I’m often asked why I chose that particular genre, and I have several perfectly accurate responses to that question. The truest answer, however, is one I tend to keep to myself, since it’s not very…romantic. The real answer has a lot to do with the simple fact that the everyday man, well…let’s just say guys tend to leave me either scratching my head in confusion or banging it against a wall in frustration.

See, I’m single. A serial monogamist. Well, a reformed serial monogamist, since the only deep, meaningful relationship I’ve had in a while has been with my Facebook account. I don’t get out much, okay? But every once in a while, I have the opportunity to interact with the male species, and it’s always such a shock to the system when I’m reminded that the men just don’t act like romance novel heroes.
Photo courtesy of Flicker.com/commons. 
The fundamental problem with being a single-and-still-looking romance writer is that I keep inventing guys that I would want. Men who would make me swoon. Dudes who get my heart all a-flutter. Write a few stories, and you’ve essentially created the perfect man. This leads to a painful writer's discovery: Even if we allow our dream men to have flaws in the pages of our manuscript, we’ve still created a damn unicorn. This guy doesn’t exist, and no man you meet will ever live up to the potential of your own literary hero.

In a romance, your hero will know when you have something on your mind. He may not necessarily try to suss out what the problem is right away, but he knows. And he will try to cheer you up or wait for an opportunity to present itself in which he can ride up on his white horse and save the day just in the nick of time. In real life, your beloved will see the evidence of emotional turmoil on your face and say, “What’s with that look? Got gas?” If he’s especially motivated, he may offer you a Tums.

In a romance, your hero will see you gazing longingly at him across the room and realize that you must have feelings for him. And that he has feelings for you. He will walk determinedly across the room and sweep you into a lusty embrace that would put all other lusty embraces to utter shame. In real life, your beloved will catch you looking at him and immediately check his fly. Then he will forget he ever caught you admiring his average, but pleasing, physique. Also, he will remain completely oblivious to your affections, and turn to ogle the cleavage of an approaching skank in spandex.

The romance hero will want to discuss your feelings. The real-lifer will want to discuss the knock-knock joke his best friend from high school just texted him.
The romance hero will hold your hair when you’re sick. The real-lifer will take a picture of you draped over the toilet bowl, and then promptly post it to Facebook.
The romance hero will buy fine wine and chocolate-covered strawberries for an intimate night together. The real-lifer will strongly consider Taco Bell before grabbing a bucket of KFC, and then try to turn on the Yankees game in the middle of dinner.

The romance hero will sit quietly by your side, sharing a silent moment of love, bliss, adoration, and contemplation about your future. The real-lifer will try really hard to hide a nose-pick as he mentally debates whether or not he’s going to buy a Carolina Panthers hat this coming weekend.

The romance hero will buy you a precious diamond. The real-lifer will buy you hedge clippers.

It’s maddening, being a romantic at heart. I want to be wooed! I want to be swept off my feet! I want roses and wine and violins playing softly in the background! So why, if I know first-hand that men conceived in Times New Roman 12-point font can’t ever be eclipsed, do I still think I might want to have a real-lifer of my own?
I’ve got a rationalization for this. I do.

Even the most fascinatingly complex romance hero, in real life, would be boring. Boringly perfect and sexy and talented and charming and…and…

Photo courtesy of Flicker.com/commons.
Okay, I’m back.

Boring. Yes. Boring. I think most readers and writers of romance know the score. In the end, the fantasy is great. A fun escape from day to day life. A vacation from the mundane. But fantasy doesn’t sustain. It runs out of steam very quickly.

In the end, we just want (or already have) a normal guy who might someday achieve a glorious moment of knight-in-shining-armor. Maybe they’ll even achieve two or three in the course of a lifetime. And most of us are okay with that. Reality can be quite nice, after all.

We’ll take the stupid jokes and the Yankees worship. Because it came from the boy who, despite the nose picks, the obliviousness, and hell, even despite the damn Taco Bell, can win (or already has won) your heart. Even if his fly has a tendency of slipping open at the most inopportune times, if he’s willing to stand by your side through thick and thin, it’s okay.

The Beatles were right. All you need is love. Love and hedge clippers.

For more from J.M. Kelley, please visit her website at www.jmkelleywrites.com.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

You Googled What?

by Valerie Mann

As an author and editor, I always thank the Great Geek Gods for inventing the internet. You can find anything you want. For crying out loud, “googling” is an actual verb now.

With that in mind, and without telling what it was for, I asked some Facebook friends to post any wacky, random thing that popped into their heads. I had to know if Google really is my friend. Verdict?  You’d better believe it - put Google on your BFF list. Stat!

Here’s are the search results for some of the random thoughts floating around in my Facebook friends’ heads:

Peanut Butter, Jelly and Doritos sandwich or officially, “the PBJD” (Kelly Harrell) – okay, not only does it exist, there’s an Ode to it on  YouTube. Watch carefully, this is important. Cue the 2001 Space Odyssey theme (seriously).

Doing laundry in the nude (Liz Crowe) – needless to say, this Google search popped up lots of porn videos. Which my porn-blocking software effectively blocked. Sigh.  But it reminds me of the time (no, not at band camp) when I was little and we were vacationing in a remote part of Canada. I went to the Laundromat with my mom and a man came in, disrobed down to bucknakedness and threw all of his clothes in the washer. I was fascinated. Mom was, too.
Liz Crowe's idea of housework
Buttons (Stephanie Beck) – Oh, our Steph is a crafty one. She wanted to know the difference between four-hole, two-hole and shank buttons. For us button-challenged people: four-hole buttons and two-hole buttons have four holes and two holes, respectively (surprise). 

On the other hand, Shank buttons have that loopy-thing on the back. You know, the kind of button that loves to get snagged on stuff because it sticks out and then you lose the little bast**d and can’t find a replacement that ever matches the original. Yeah, that’s the shank button. Google says the shank button “usually looks more elegant”.  Not when you lose the little bast**d, it doesn’t.
Two-hole button vs. Shank button.
Stop the ignorance!
Tobacco Enema (Virginia Nelson) – I know…that made me pause, too. Talk about random. Anywhoo…it was more common to blow smoke up someone’s arse back in the nineteenth century than it is now. Supposedly, it treated everything from headaches, drowsiness, and respiratory failure, to drowning resuscitation. Okay then…do you ever wonder how some of this crap ever got thought up in the first place? Like: 

     “Hey, we just pulled this guy out of the lake. He's not breathing! Wait, I have a great idea...let’s blow smoke up his arse!”
     “Dude, that is an awesome idea!”
"We received a report that you're having trouble breathing, ma'am."

 Best Place to have Sex in an Airport (Mahalia Levey) – You know you want to know the answer to this. Well, according to a reputable travel site, here’s the top ten airports to have sex in. No suggestion for a specific location, so it appears it's up to you to determine the exact spot to hook up, but keep this handy list in your carry-on, because you just never know:

(1)Newark                            (6) San Francisco
(2) JFK                                 (7) Paris
(3) Philadelphia                   (8)O’Hare (Chicago)
(4) Dallas/Ft. Worth            (9)Heathrow
(5) Minneapolis/St. Paul    (10) Rome

 What if Spiders could jump like fleas? (Virginia Nelson) – well actually, Virginia, they do. There IS a Jumping Spider. Here’s a video of our friend, the Phiddipus apachanus. Queue the Neil Young accompaniment (seriously). And man, this guy’s face is something to behold (the spider’s, not Neil’s).

Oh, and BTW...I googled Geek Gods just for giggles (you know, the guys I'm thankful to)...of course they exist! Google says so! 

Now you know. Don't ever say you don't believe

Monday, 8 October 2012

If Ms. Jones is fat, well then...

Enjoy author Ivy Bateman's great post! So many of us can relate to this one!--Faith
So, I just got back from a whirl wind trip to see my in laws. This trip was full of family time which was great and it was also full of a lot of meal time. So what, you ask? You've got to eat. Yes, I know...but when we travel to visit my husband's family we eat out a lot or have big family meals and it stresses me to no end because the thought that enters my mind about 93 times a day is "Will my pants still fit when I get home?" or "Will the comfy pants I wore on the plane, the pants I wore specifically because they don't chafe in places, will they still be comfortable and fit on the way home?" I know it's ridiculous. I have self-control and can say no to a third helping of dessert, but it's just that this weekend, every time we went out it seemed like every meal was a big meal. I know...whine, whine...but the problem is that

1.) When I'm really hungry, I can really pack away the chow.
2.) I have the metabolism of a sloth—or some other animal out there that has a really slow metabolism and doesn't burn off their food very quickly.

This is seriously annoying to me. I love to eat, I love food, but if I go a couple days in a row without exercising, even if I'm careful at big meals, the pants feel a bit too snug and discomfort becomes my middle name.

So, when we go away and we're busy and I don't have time to even go for a walk, I wince every time the topic of food is brought up. On Saturday night, while at a church spaghetti dinner, my in-laws asked us if we wanted to go for breakfast the next morning after church. We said sure, but my husband caught my wince and asked me about it later.

"Do you not want to go for breakfast?"

"No, it's fine," I said.

"It's just you made a face..."

"Yes, I know...I didn't mean for you to see the face because it's stupid. I was just thinking about how when we get home my pants won't fit."

It's ridiculous and I realize that. However, most days I battle with my internal fat meter. I know I'm not fat, but I'm not skinny and I try to keep my attitude and body issues in check because I'm trying like hell to NOT pass them onto my daughter. I tell myself every day that "I'm not fat!" And that my ass looks pretty good in the jeans I took longer to decide to buy than I took deciding to buy my house. I actually have great self-esteem days and stretches of time where I truly believe that I'm lovely the way I am.

And then I watch Bridget Jones's Diary.

Sigh...I love this movie. The characters are wonderful and Colin Firth makes me melt. As a huge Pride and Prejudice I love that he is the Darcy character again. Bridget herself is fun, has great lines and is someone I'd love to go drinking with EXCEPT, according to the movie, and I suppose according to the person who wrote the book the movie is based on, Bridget is fat! It's ridiculous and even though I really enjoy the movie, every time I watch it I end up hating my body for a while because I'm essentially the same height, the same weight and the same body shape as Bridget. The scene that makes me feel freakishly huge the most is one near the end where she's telling Mark she likes him while she is wearing a black dress. I have this dress; I wore this dress to my brother -in-law's wedding and when I put it on and looked in the mirror I thought "I look like Bridget Jones." And then, logically of course, I went plummeting into a shame spiral and assumed that to the world, I looked fat.

I am fully aware that this is all insane and over the years I've gotten better at beating my negative and often emotionally vicious internal dialogue into submission. In the world of la, la land, Bridget Jones may be considered heavy by some ridiculous standard of beauty that can only be met by people who deny themselves one of the basic necessities of life, food, but in the real world, there is nothing wrong with her size.

I don't like feeling down about myself and I get tired of my negative side. We live in a world that is so focused on the outside that worrying about it often makes my insides hurt. This trip that we went on this past weekend really put a lot of things in perspective and I know that I need to focus my energy on more important things and not my pant size. Now that we're home from our trip, and my pants are a wee on the snug side, I honestly don't care. I'm going to get back to my normal routine, think about the things in my life that are really important and be able to tell my daughter with honestly that as long as you are healthy, what you look like doesn't matter.

And of course, not watch Bridget Jones's Diary.

I hope you all have a lovely, positive day and thank-you to Four Strong Women for letting me vent on their fantastic blog.

Ivy Bateman

Ivy's Blog: Ivy B Misbehavin'
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The Fifth Story By Ivy Bateman Book Trailer
The Fifth Story is available at Breathless Press

Blurb for The Fifth Story

Every day we encounter doors. Some of these doors are open to us and some of them are closed, but when we pass through any door, a different truth or mystery lies beyond the threshold.

The night Bryn is pulled into a world of her own stories by a shadowy being, her reality is changed forever. Souls and danger, hauntingly beautiful witches, sexy and dangerous vampires, a soldier with a dying wish; she knows that each door leads to a story and to outcomes she can't control, but in order to return home, Bryn must complete a set of tasks for the enigmatic and strangely sensual Darkness.
With four stories to enter, four items to retrieve, Bryn takes part in plot points so out of character that she almost loses herself in the tales she's written. More than once she questions her sanity and curses herself for creating such perilous realities, but she always remains focused on her goal; the creation of the fifth story.

Excerpt from The Fifth Story By Ivy Bateman
She walked quickly around the counter and headed to where the sign indicated where the washrooms were, but she couldn't find the women's room. Then she almost slapped herself with ridiculousness. Who cared if she went into the men's room? She marched over the door and pushed on it. Immediately she fell back. The door was stuck. She pushed on it harder, but could only open it about a foot. Something, or someone, was lying in front of the door. Bryn squeezed her head through the narrow space and looked down at the floor. Coran was lying passed out on the cold tile.

Bryn thought maybe something strange had happened in her story, and Coran was already dead. How lucky would that be? However, she realized that the story hadn't changed that drastically when Coran groaned, revealing that he was very much alive. He rolled over, away from the door.

With his weight suddenly off the door, and Bryn's weight still being pushed against it, the door went flying open. Bryn stumbled and fell into the washroom. None too gracefully, she hit the floor with a satisfying smack, and knocked her head against the tile floor with a hard clunk.

"Ow," she said, as she rolled on her back and pressed her hands against a rapidly rising goose egg on the right side of her head. "Ah" she yelped as the door closed on her foot.

"Are you okay?" asked a voice with a gentle Scottish brogue.

Bryn turned her head and opened her eyes. Coran, who looked like he'd been through a rough time, was leaning over her. His blond hair was a mess and it fell into his gray eyes. He had soot on his face and he smelled, not unpleasantly, of smoke. He gave her a little smile. "My dear, are you all right?" he asked her again.
She smiled in return. She was touched by his concern. The ash on his face and the apparent absence of anyone else in the castle told her she had come into the story not long after the first time she'd entered with Darkness. Coran had every right to ignore her and he really had no time to get involved with a stranger and yet, he didn't seem to be in any rush at all. Instead, he helped Bryn sit up.

As soon as his hands touched her skin, Bryn gasped and felt her heart beat quicken. Coran looked embarrassed and quickly, on unsteady legs, he stood up and got a paper towel. He wet it with warm water and kneeled down a couple feet away from Bryn. He handed her the paper towel. "Your face, it's quite dirty."

"Oh, thanks." Bryn said, trying to avoid looking at him too much. Her heart was pounding in her chest. Why had she written Coran to have this effect on women?

"It looks like I'm not the only one that's recently been in a bit of a scrap," he said with a chuckle. Bryn couldn't help beaming at him with amazement. He was just as kind as she'd written him to be. However, if she was correct, this man should be putting all chivalry aside and be searching the castle for Melusine. He should be calling upon the ancient gods to help him in battle with the sea witch, but instead, here he was, watching Bryn wash her face and being concerned about her well-being.
"Is your head very sore? Can you stand?" he asked as he gently touched the bump on her head, but quickly pulled hand back when Bryn sucked in her breath at the feel of his hand on her hair.

"Yes, I mean—no, it's fine, and yes, I can stand," she stammered as she pushed herself off the floor. She again tried to avoid eye contact with him, but it wasn't helping. Coran was having a profound effect on her senses—something which she should have remembered could happen, but had completely forgotten about. In her story, Coran had a powerful effect on women and it was something he could do nothing about. Whether it was his aura or his pheromones, no one could tell, but women, upon meeting Coran, not only couldn't control themselves around him but didn't want to. Their thoughts would travel immediately down a sexual path as soon as they stood close to him and they would offer themselves to his every whim. Even the most reserved women would find their bodies pulsing immediately with desire for the tall blond stranger. Only those who knew how to, could control their passions for Coran. Katie, his assistant, was usually one of them, but sometimes, her guard would slip and she would be overcome with sexual longing for her handsome boss.

Bryn was finding her own guard was slipping rapidly and started thinking about very naughty things and wishing that she had time to explore her hidden bad girl side. Was this happening because she'd written him this way or was it because he looked so much like Tyler?

Thursday, 4 October 2012

He Went into the Woods A Boy

Author Margie Church is in the building! And wow do I every relate to this post, LOL!--Faith

I grew up in a family that hunted. I had a gun cabinet in my bedroom (thanks dad – it went so well with my purple, chenille bedspread). I've encouraged my husband to enjoy the sport, too. And I've opened a Pandora Box.
Somehow along the way, the shooting sports have taken over our lives. One day, I expect to come home to a note on the kitchen counter saying DH and our youngest have moved out to the gun club for the summer. If they can figure out how to winterize the camper, I'll have to forward his mail. I don't have a passkey for the electronic gate there, so I'll have to subscribe to the visiting hours.
Our sons have had some wonderful experiences with shooting sports. The oldest bagged two deer during rifle season, and he was top gun for the last two years on his high school's trap team. Number six in the state ain’t too shabby either. But he's also learned to smoke cigars after his hunting trophies were dressed out, and last year, I understand he and my DH jumped on the beds at the hotel they stayed in.
Then we turn to our youngest. He showed up with a top gun award this week in trap and shows strong promise to be every bit the crack shot his father and brother are. He hunts deer with a bow, too. We live in Minnesota. He and DH get up at 5:00 a.m. in the WINTER to go sit in a tree, still as an icicle (and turn into one), waiting for that perfect deer. Okay, last year he and DH got deer with their bows but seriously, if I got up at that hour in the middle of winter and said, "I'm going to go sit on the front steps for three or four hours," DH would have LOONY BIN on speed dial.
Years ago, I made a fatal mistake. I let DH take those boys hunting without motherly supervision. They came home excited to share all their adventures while DH had panic etched on his face. What happens in the woods is apparently supposed to stay in the woods. Over the past ten years, I stopped worrying about whether our youngest would fall into the outhouse (shudder) or get burned toasting marshmallows. Why? Oh, I have bigger fish to fry, figuratively speaking of course since I'm the only one who catches fish. 
Let's see, the youngest, at age 6 fell off the tailgate while the truck was moving – slowly of course – and my husband noticed the bobbing orange hat in his rear view mirror. That would be said child chasing after the truck.
Or hear the oldest come home and say, "I went in the woods a boy, and came out a man." I about fainted. Upon revival, I learned he'd shot his first grouse.
Then the other chimes in that he ate mostly Reese's peanut butter cups the entire weekend.
Or early Saturday morning, I get a call from the area hospital to learn all three of them were there. The oldest was getting stitches for a whittling accident. $600 later, we're all good and back in the woods.
Readers beware. My eyes are opened. The gun club is not your friend. Hunters and shooters are insidious. It's a whorehouse for sportsmen. Once they join, you'll see your budget drained faster than water in a storm sewer. They'll wear nothing but camo. You'll get camo-colored gifts.
"It's food on the table." Yeah, but we've had one puny grouse cost hundreds of dollars. And that promise, "It's the last gun I'll ever buy," is a bald-faced lie, spoken like the addicts they are (or are becoming).
Hunting season has arrived. DH and our youngest are already sitting in the trees in the afternoon. They text each other to while away the time. No kidding. This weekend, all three take to the woods for their annual father-sons grouse hunting. The forecast for the grouse season is poor. They aren't staying home. I noticed Swisher Sweets cigars were on the shopping list.
I'm going to the opera.

RAZOR by Margie Church and K.B. Cutter
Amy and Bryce don't live the Dominant/submissive lifestyle, but Bryce acts every bit the Dom in the bedroom. And Amy's had enough. Enlisting her best friend's help is a drastic move. Will inviting Raine into her marriage destroy it? How will she cope when Bryce and Raine become intimate?

Though Bryce doubts he'll ever become a switch, he's determined to make Amy happy. Months later, he struggles to keep an emotional distance from Raine. His journey of self-awareness is anything but predictable or vanilla.

After only a few scenes with Bryce, Raine's roles as Domme and best friend blur. Her ideals about love and marriage shift. She questions her own motives at every turn. Can she get out of this relationship triangle unscathed?

Three people with different motives come together to form a very contemporary relationship.  Who will get what they want, and who will be forever changed? 

Margie's website: Romance with SASS

K.B. Cutter's Website link:  www.kbcutter.com 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Erotia Does Not Equal Porn

Help us welcome Livia Ellis, author of Memoirs of a Gigolo.

~ ~ ~

I received an email from someone who downloaded Memoirs of a Gigolo during the promotional give away on Amazon. I think is best addressed right here. Three of my choice favorite quotes, not taken out of context, and preserving all anonymity: "If you want to write porn then write porn - don't try to pretend anyone would read the story and not just skip to the good parts... There's a big difference between a romance novel and one that people want just for the dirty bits... Real writers would never write porn..." For the last one, does anyone have Anne Rice's number for me?

Erotica is to ballet what Porn is to pole-dancing. Erotica is the sultry dark eyed international man of mystery (maybe it is a cliche, but there's a reason he's a popular guy) who gives a smart savvy woman exactly what she wants and in abundance. Porn is gopher-like Ron Jeremy huffing and puffing his way to an aneurysm on the back of some probably not so bright girl young enough to be his granddaughter. Eeeewwwww. Erotica is sexy. Porn is just sex.

I've read my fair share of erotica by choice and as a means to help a couple of my writer friends who write erotica. Well written erotica, like any well written work, has a story that people want to read. Yes, there is sex and hopefully in abundance, but it's part of the story. It's woven into a tapestry that conveys a whole experience. Porn is just screwing. Granted I've seen some porn where, bless him, the director has gone back to his film school roots and is trying to create something more meaningful than just people boning. But it's still porn. The "story" is secondary to the humping and moaning. Actually without the humping and the moaning there would be no story. Remove the sexual element from a work of erotica and you still have a well crafted story.

Crafting an erotic story, is as time consuming and detail driven a task as writing any other work. The end product has more to do with the ability of the writer rather than the subject. It's like saying the painting was lousy not because the painter doesn't know how to blend color or interpret a shadow on the canvas, but that the model was chubby or the fruit was rotten. To imply or even out right state that the writer who chooses to focus her time and effort in one genre rather than another is somehow less able than other writers is insulting.

I imagine I can sum it up as would any good pole dancer who spent years training as a classical ballerina: it's not as easy as it looks. You think writing good quality erotica is all about the in-out? The gauntlet has been thrown down. Show me what you got!


Oliver Adair enjoys a life of women (sometimes men), travel, and sex. Unfortunately these things cost money - something he doesn't have a lot of. When he's offered an opportunity to get paid for doing what he loves, he happily signs on to become a male escort. But first, he has to pass the interview process. The madam of the agency has one of her girls put him to the test. Oliver quickly discovers that in this world, not only is being a mans man a la James Bond still desirable, but expected. By embracing his masculine sexuality, he makes a name for himself in the world of escorts.

Bio: Livia is an American writer living in Dublin desperately trying to figure out the ever changing world of publishing and writing. Her current release, Memoirs of a Gigolo, is available on Amazon. For more about Livia and her books, please visit her website.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Trouble with the Curve Movie Review and a Night Out

This past weekend, Charlie and I actually made it to a movie theater and saw Trouble with the Curve. Other than going to see children's films with Lily, it has been a long time since we've seen a movie in the theater. Not that we haven't tried. It just seems that every time we have enough time to do this, there is nothing I want to see. So, when Lily stayed the night over at a friend's house Saturday night, I jumped at the chance to go.

How was it? The movie was really good. It's not a blockbuster. I'd say it's a movie with an older style of writing, in that it's not all about action, the camera shots don't cut back and forth every 45 seconds, and the story (and characters) develop. Clint Eastwood played Gus Loebel, a crotchety, old baseball scout. (He's very good at crotchety. LOL) Amy Adams played his daughter Mickey and was very good. She has beautiful hair. Yes, I know I shouldn't have been thinking about that, but her hair truly was gorgeous. Every time she flounced off, which she did a lot, I noticed it and envied her hair. LOL I have never seen her in a movie. (I know, I know. I told you it's been a long time since I've seen a movie.) Her love interest, Johnny "The Flame" Flannagan, is the Justin Timberlake.

All of them do an excellent job in their roles. Clint's character evoked some memories of my own father. Not that my dad was ever as difficult to communicate with as Gus was, nor did my father have difficulties telling me he loved me. Perhaps it was just that Clint and my dad were from the same era and my dad enjoyed Clint.

It's a somewhat predictable storyline, but I didn't mind. There was a happy ending, some emotional ups and downs, and a... well, I won't ruin it for you.

If you like happy endings with a strong story and some emotional ups and downs, you'll enjoy this movie.

Despite the expense of the tickets, the popcorn and medium soda, the overloud sound system, and over half of the seats had broken armrests, it was lovely to just go out and enjoy my hubby sans child.

The entire evening was lovely, including the movie! I say go see it.