Showing posts with label Guest Blogger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guest Blogger. Show all posts

Welcome Guest Author Ana Blaze & Her Latest Release The Best Man & Enter to Win!!!!

Six smoldering…Beta heroes?
Yup, I’m here to show some love for the good guys. Hi. I’m Ana Blaze and I was lucky enough to get a coveted invite to introduce myself and my new release, The Best Man, here at Cheeky Reads. Thank you, Sabrina and, may I say, that’s a super cute blog name you’re wearing.

I’m not going to say that I don’t love a good Alpha man. I am romance writer after all. Alphas are, by definition, hot and steamy and their testosterone-driven antics can certainly be charming.
But at the end of the day, it’s the Beta boys that stick with me. They shyly and cleverly worm their way deep into my heart, curl up all cute and cuddly and stubbornly refuse to leave. They are the guys every woman really wants to marry.

I’ve narrowed down my favorite beta romantic heroes to a svelte list of Six Sexy Sweeties. They will appear in no particular order because Beta guys just aren’t very competitive.

Edward Ferrars Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Edward. Some of the girls may not think much of shy and often tongue-tied Edward, but he is a good man. He is studious, unfailingly kind and honorable. He is a man who will sacrifice his own happiness to keep a promise. Edward Ferrars might not be as flashy or witty as Mr. Darcy, but he is decent and loving from his first appearance until his last.

Carter Maguire Vision in White by Nora Roberts (Book 1 of the Bride Quartet)
Carter. He’s a quiet, klutzy, tweed-wearing, English teacher, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t got any moves. Carter is patient, persistent and has a delightful and often self-deprecating sense of humor. He has a three legged cat! Oh, and when he gets embarrassed, the tips of his ears turn red. Now, tell me you wouldn’t want to kiss this guy…every day for the rest of your life.

Peeta Mellark Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Okay, let’s talk about Peeta. He’s not a wimp. At sixteen he can toss a hundred pound bag of flour with ease. But the boy with the bread is most certainly a Beta. He bakes. He paints. He decorates cakes (with pretty flowers!). He can’t walk quietly through the woods even when his life literally depends upon it. Peeta is a classic good guy. He’s the boy next door that girls overlook during their teen years only to realize he’s a catch later on. He’s too shy to talk to the girl he loves, but he’ll take a beating to help her.  In the face of almost certain death, Peeta Mellark maintains his deep-rooted sense of right and wrong and that, my friends, is sexy.

Ford Sawyer Tribute by Nora Roberts
Ford is living the geek boy dream as a successful graphic novelist. Yup, like comic books but longer. He’s quirky and full of nerdy references. He’s got a dog named Spock. He does not pick up power tools and instead he leaves those and the sledge hammer to the heroine. That’s right. He is absolutely comfortable with himself. He knows his strengths and his weaknesses. His girl doesn’t have to hide her strength to make him feel manly. He wants her to pose with that hammer and be his new superhero. Hot? Oh yeah.

Lucas Cortez Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong (He reappears in several other books in her Otherworld series)
Lucas may be a powerful sorcerer, but he is also a rather nerdy lawyer. He was born into a powerful family (of crime and magic), but chooses to set out on his own and do good. He actively fights against the wrongs committed by his own family. When Lucas first appears, the heroine thinks that the most remarkable thing about him is his utter lack of any remarkable quality. He changes her mind, of course, and is undoubtedly the only sorcerer in the world with enough inner goodness to convince her to ignore the long and hostile history between their races (she’s a witch) and trust him.

Colin Pratt The Best Man by Ana Blaze
I can’t leave without introducing my Colin. He’s shy; if I don’t say something he might spend the whole evening with his handsome face buried in a book. Colin is a British Literature professor who dabbles in a little sci-fi writing on the side. All that time spent reading has given him a sharp wit and a clever tongue but he hasn’t had much luck with women in the past. Losing his fiancée to his brother didn’t help his confidence; but when he finds the right woman, Colin isn’t too proud to chase her.

The Best Man Blurb: 
Beth Chase is too busy planning perfect weddings to worry about the lack of action in her own love life. But if she was looking for a man, she wouldn’t be looking at Colin Pratt. Her boss swears that Best Man Colin is a quiet scholar and science fiction writer who couldn’t possibly cause a fuss at his own brother’s wedding. He’s clearly never met the man in question. Snarky, sexy and more than a little inebriated, Colin is the final obstacle between Beth and the last perfect wedding she needs to make partner. Of course, when she helps him into a taxi at the end of the night she has no idea that he’s only just begun to poke holes in her professional exterior. Colin might have the skills to seduce a romance professional, but can he convince her that he’s the best man to share her happy ever after?

About Ana: 
Ana lives just outside Washington DC with her very supportive husband and three rather demanding cats. She loves the ocean, Indian food, IKEA, and cooking. Ana admits to watching too much television and she swears that someday she’s going to learn how to play the guitar resting on the bookshelf in her office.

Twitter: @ana_blaze

Thanks Ana! 
One lucky US reader will win The Best Man ebook and a goodie pack to share with the best man or woman in their life. The pack contains candles, Godiva chocolate, Tuscan lavender soap, Sensual Massage Oil from The Body Shop and two lip treatments from The Body Shop. It will come packaged in a pretty photo box - Click Here to Enter to Win! 

I'd love to hear what you think about beta heroes. Have any favorites we should get to know?

BBAW: Book Blogging Community: Tips & Concerns

Welcome to day 3 of Book Blogger Appreciation Week! Today's topic is a continuation of talking about the blogging community:

The world of book blogging has grown enormously and sometimes it can be hard to find a place. Share your tips for finding and keeping community in book blogging despite the hectic demands made on your time and the overwhelming number of blogs out there. If you’re struggling with finding a community, share your concerns and explain what you’re looking for–this is the week to connect!

My best tips (and they aren't earth-shattering and are sometimes hard for me to follow!) are:

Twitter - Seriously get thee to Twitter and you will be amazed at how much goes on there and how easily it is to chat with other book bloggers in your book niche.

Follow & Comment On Other Blogs - This one is hard when we are all so busy. So, my tip is to pick your top ten that you check out and comment on maybe 1x a week or so. Then, check out new to you blogs say 1x a month and revise your top ten occassionally.

Start A Meme or Host A Blogger Event - This is something I haven't done yet, but I've seen how well it seems to work for other bloggers on creating a sense of personalization and community. I'm brainstorming ideas now!

Mind Your Manners - Seriously the book blogging community itself might be large, but your blogging niche is a place where if you act like an ass on twitter or constantly complain, etc about blogging, not getting books, etc. other bloggers take notice. And won't be as open to helping you or welcoming you to the community. This is a personal one for me - we should be here to help each other in the name of the love of books, not get catty and create drama. I've unfollowed some blogs and on twitter for feeling like everything that happened was something to rage about. Make sure if you do have a legitimate complaint that you are balancing those posts and tweets with other positive things. No one wants to sit next to negative Nancy.

Now for a few concerns (even those that last tip was also a disguised concern):

Not Every Review Needs To Feature The BIG Releases - Yes, I know this gets more traffic but if you are in it for the love of books then sing the praises of that unknown author or mid-list author who really could use the push. Stretch your reading out to more than just the best-seller list. Otherwise, all the blogs seem to be cookie cutter ads for the same books.

Don't Compete, Be Unique - There are so many books out there that there really is room for all of us and we should showcase each other year-round! I'd love to see bloggers hosting guest posts from other bloggers and Q&A's more than just 1x per year.

FOR PETE'S SAKE DON'T SELL ARCS - Seriously book lover. This is a no. Never. Give these away if you don't want to keep them, but respect what they are: a very special gift you shouldn't try to profit from.

So, if you're a blogger what are your favorite tips or concerns? Readers, what do you wish you saw more of on blogs and in the book blog community?

Kick Start Me: A Guest Post From Author Terry Kate

The Sanction Chronicles YA Series on KickstarterGet Involved Before the Book is Written?

It has always been hard being a starving artist. Finding the time and money to make your masterpiece. When it comes to film, which was my area of study, money to start was a must. Film is NOT cheap. So there were patrons of the arts. But come on, who can afford to be a patron now?


I was clued into a magical things by a filmmaker - KICKSTARTER - and not only do they do films, music, art, they also cover BOOKS. So now starting at $1 you can be patrons of the arts? The answer is yes.
The Sanction Chronicles YA Series on Kickstarter
It works like PBS and you pledge money to a project you believe in and get rewards - prizes - cool items and one of a kind things like acknowledgements in the books. So I said, "I have a project let's give it a go. Lets see what people think huh?"

So I put up The Sanction Chronicles on Kickstarter yesterday. What do you Cheeky readers think? Is this the way to go for artists? Are authors allowed, to ask for you to almost pay for the book before they write it? What do you think?

Why are we up there for the Sanction Chronicles? Well I go big when I do things so we are doing an entirely interactive project with our book series and creating a "real" town where our characters are online blogging and posting to talk about the daily actions of the series. So we post multiple times everyday and it takes a lot of people to make a town seem like it is more than 3 people. We follow the students of Wind Haven High School from September to June - 10 months - so we need a little help and are giving Kickstarter a try.

I am excited to talk about this as an option for readers and writers to get involved with the my project and discover other works in progress to help.

So what is the story readers?

Terry Kate

and the

Sanction Authors

Welcome Guest Author Rhys Bowen!

Mystery Author Rhys Bowen's New Release Naughty in NiceToday I'm pleased to welcome the author of The Royal Spyness Cozy Mystery , Rhys Bowen! In honor of her newest release, Rhys thorugh she would share some insight into the wonderful world of French food.

But first, here's a little information about her new book:

Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen
Royal Spyness Series #5

Lady Georgiana Rannoch has once again been called into service by Her Majesty the Queen. This time she's sent to Nice on a secret assignment that's nothing to sneeze at-recover the Queen's stolen snuff box.

As much of an honor as it is to be trusted by Her Majesty, an even greater honor awaits Georgie in Nice-as Coco Chanel herself asks Georgie to model her latest fashion. But when a necklace belonging to the Queen is stolen on the catwalk, Georgie has to find two priceless items-and solve a murder. How's a girl to find any time to go to the casino?

In Praise of French Food
One of my favorite things about the French is the food. I have been indulging in flaky pastry stuffed with scallops, great pots of mussels with tiny slim French fries, duck breast in lemon and ginger. We have been buying various pates and cheeses to eat at the apartment with crusty bread. I've been walking to the bakery every morning to get my baguette, and maybe a raisin snail to go with it. And the pastries: strawberry tarts, cream puffs, eclairs, ah, sigh.

Some things are horribly expensive, some strangely cheap. We've bought duck pate for around a dollar, a huge thing of cooked shrimp for four dollars. And yet fish and meat are about the same price as gold. Still, any country where I can buy a perfectly aged camembert cheese for two Euros has to be pretty good.

Even though French food is rich, you don't see many fat people. That's because they walk a lot, they buy their ingredients fresh every day and they eat small portions. You may see them drinking red wine at midday, but only one glass. Everything in moderation. They take hours over a meal. Nobody will bring the check unless you ask for it, even if you sit there all evening. Food and good conversation are to be savored.

I rather suspect this is about to change as the diet is changing with the advent and concept of fast food. Pizza parlors are everywhere, so are hamburger joints. Cheap restaurants are serving up the same huge plates that have made us fat in America. I would hate to see a France in which duck breast of the future comes with "all the fixin's" and an unlimited salad bar.

* * * * *
Rhys Bowen

Order Naughty in Nice from - Amazon Hard Cover - Kindle, Barnes and Noble Hard Cover - Nook Book
Find the entire Royal Spyness Series at Amazon - Barnes and Noble

Come Chat With Me At Romance@Random!

Today I'm guest blogging over at Romance@Random, the new website launched by Random House for all things Romance!

I hope you'll stop by and say hi and chat with me and check out the new site!

READ FOR A CURE! Special Guest Post from Author Maureen O. Betita

A Special Guest Post From Author Maureen O. Betita:

Read For a Cure!

Happy first day of summer to all! Been a long winter, hasn’t it? Well, perhaps not for everyone…but it sure seems like it. I’m an author who lives along the central coast of California and our weather is never much weather if you compare it to the rest of the country. That is true!

Regardless, things have been crazy this year. So many challenges these last few years. Job changes, health challenges, new opportunities, sad news, good news…

Good news! I’m with a wonderful publisher and this year I had my first book come out. It’s been pretty exciting and for the month of June, I’ve had the opportunity to give back. Every month, Decadent Publishing donates the proceeds from a chosen title to finding a cure for cancer. This month, that title is The Kraken’s Mirror, by yours truly!

Why do they do this? Well, Heather Bennett is one of the owners of Decadent and she’s been fighting cancer in her family for far too long. She’s lost too many relatives, too many friends. So, when she began Decadent, she dedicated the company to the cause she believes in.

A cause the authors of Decadent have embraced. For the month of June, help Decadent in the good fight! This cause is important to me and to my agent. We’re both donating our sales for the month to the cause.

If you’ve considered trying something new, a quirky adventure story featuring a matchmaking kraken, a feisty widow and pirates wearing i-pods…check out The Kraken’s Mirror and help battle cancer. For everyone who have lost a loved one or knows someone who deals with the reality of cancer on a daily basis… Let’s do it!

Buy now link to Decadent

Welcome Author Lila Munroe to Cheeky Reads & Giveaway!

Today I'm excited to welcome guest author Lila Munro to Cheeky Reads! First, let's take a look at the blurb for Lila's book Identity Crisis:
Someone once said you never truly know a person,

Chad Dearborn was raised with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was given everything a person could want and more, country clubs were his daycares and Paris and London his playgrounds. Heir to Dearborn Inc., Chad stands to inherit a veritable fortune. But the problem is his parents want to gift him the perfect wife to go with it. A woman in the form of a molded, plastic, jet set dolly. Certainly not Chad’s idea of an ideal mate. He wants a woman that can hold her own, in and out of the bedroom. Who knew he’d find her in one of Portland’s hottest leather clubs? Chad was fascinated by what went on there, but something just wouldn’t let him cross that line.

until you sleep with them.

Country clubs? Europe? The closest Tori Myers ever came to those things were the covers of magazines. With an absent father, a less than attentive mother and nowhere to go, Tori finds herself drawn to an alternative lifestyle at the tender age of eighteen. Vertigo is a treasure chest of Dom’s willing to give her anything she wants. But when Chad Dearborn walks through the door, Tori figures out sometimes what your heart wants isn’t necessarily what your body is willing to compromise to have.

Or do you?

The thing that just wouldn’t let Chad cross the line with his sexuality has come home to roost. And as a result, he's faced with a huge decision. Accept who he is and what he wants. Or continue to fight the biggest identity crisis of his life.

Tell us a little about what inspired you to write this story and what your favorite part about writing it was?

I first became interested in BDSM after reading Broken Together by BethAnn Buehler. Something that not everyone knows about me is that I have a BS in Sociology, so sub-cultures and how they work absolutely fascinate me. The more I read, the more I had to be able wrap my head around how these relationships worked and that lead to a whole lot of research. Once the light bulb went off and I could wrap my head around the idea of a Dom/sub relationship the next logical step for me was to incorporate it in my writing. My favorite part of writing this story was the freedom it allowed me to step outside my “box” and comfort zone. I really allowed me to grow as a writer and explore a sub-genre I might not otherwise have if not for that first spark of interest.

Characters really make a story for me. What 3 words best describe your hero? What about your heroine?

Well it happens that in this story not only are the elements of BDSM present I also worked in a ménage relationship between two Doms, Chad and Ren, and their sub, Tori.

Chad is—faithful, confused, and loving to a fault

Ren is—strong, confident, and capable

Tori is—giving, frustrated, and intelligent

Was there a favorite scene for you to write? Would you give a little tease of it...:)
My favorite scene to write was when it became apparent that Ren was indeed the alpha Dom in this relationship. It was exciting to write because mixed emotions were involved for all three people. Tori was grateful to finally be understood, Ren was relieved that she accepted him, and poor Chad is just terrified.

“Why are you still dressed, Ren?” Tori asked in a husky voice, turning her head toward him once again. “Don’t you want to claim your prize?”

Chad eased off her, his erection bobbing as he crawled to the edge of the bed. He grabbed Tori’s collar and after pulling Tori to sitting, he draped the red creation around her throat and fastened it. Ren approached with a possessive smile on his face, and held up one hand. Between his forefinger and thumb he held an identical lock to the one already on Tori’s collar. Ren climbed on the bed and on his knees got behind her. He reached around her slender neck and ran his lock through the clasp and fastened it, leaving it to hang beside Chad’s. Tori was now fully theirs. “Where…” Tori started as Chad backed away.

“Shhh…” Chad told her, putting a finger to her lips. “You two need to get to know each other. I’m gonna watch.”

Tori’s skin tingled at the thought of Chad wanting to see another man brand her. A heated flush ran over her as Tori began to fully realize what she’d agreed to. She now belonged to two Doms. She was theirs for the taking, but also for the giving. Chad had just torn the door to their relationship off the hinges and given Tori more than she'd ever dreamed of.

“You’ll never know how happy it makes me that you said yes, pet,” Ren murmured into her hair, running his hands over her shoulders. “God, you’re beautiful.”

A shudder flew across Tori as Ren took her earlobe in his mouth and bit, then sucked, easing away the sharp pain.

“I can be very demanding, Tori. Maybe more than you’re used to,” he told her taking her nipples between his thumbs and fingers, pinching and twisting.

Tori sucked in her breath. He was going to play rough, probably rougher than Chad ever had, but maybe by watching Chad would learn. Ren had obviously already tutored him well in the fine art of whips.

“What’s your safe word, angel?” Ren asked, getting off the bed and taking her with him as he tore off his boxers, his cock springing free. “You might need it.”

“Couture,” Tori answered.

“Couture.” Ren reached out and pinched her nipples again. “On your knees.”

Tori immediately dropped, put her hands on her thighs palm side up and lowered her head. Yes, this would definitely be a learning experience for Chad. He’d never let anyone dominate her in ways even close to what she knew was coming. Tori could feel the power and strength flying off Ren in waves, and as he ran one hand through her hair, wrapped it tightly around his fist and pulled her head up quickly, she knew Ren wasn’t joking. She might very well use her safe word. It was something she hadn’t done in years.

What else do you have coming up and where can readers find you next?

I have several irons in the fire right now. The Force Recon writing team is back together and we’re working on the second in that series, Force Recon Somalia. It’s due out this summer through Rebel Ink Press. Also through Rebel, I’ll be putting out the second book in the Delaney brother’s series, A Slower Lower Life, and there’s more Identity issues to resolve. The second Identity book will be entitled True Identity and will release this summer as well. It revolves around Master Steph and his graduate student sub, Jill. For more information about any and all my works readers can find me at or .

Have you read any great books lately?

I’ve read several good books lately. I finished Maya Banks Colter’s series and loved them and I just finished the fourth installment of Cherise Sinclair’s Shadowlands series, I can’t wait to download the fifth book, Make Me, Sir. Currently I’m reading an Andrew Grey novel, Accompanied by a Waltz. It’s not often I find a m/m author that holds my attention but Andrew has managed to do that very thing.

Thanks Lila!

Lila Munro is a writer of contemporary romance currently residing on the coast of North Carolina. She is a military wife and takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around for the past fourteen years. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum and aquarium, taking field research trips, and soaking up the sun on the nearby beaches. Her previous works include The Executive Officer’s Wife, Bound By Trust, and Destiny’s Fire. Anthology work includes a piece in All I Want for Christmas is Redemption. She loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted via her website , her joint effort website  or through Facebook at  .

You can purchase Identity Crisis through the following links:

Enter to win your own copy of Identity Crisis by telling us what great book you've read lately or if you've ever read a m/m or BSDM romance before.

Cupid's Post Valentine's Day Boredom by Author Chelsy Day & Contest

Cupid's Post Valentine's Boredom by Chelsy Day

What can I say? It happens. The big build up to the Holiday, working non-stop, every Cupid fluffing their feathers and batting their wings to get the most matches for that heart filled romantic V-Day. For a week, even two afterward the relief and exhaustion just call for a vay-cay, but now there is a lull. I really wonder if Santa and the Easter Bunny feel the same way.

But I can not stop. Nope. Because I am one of the 5 Cupids who took part in the 2011 Challenge to match the "Most Unlikely Couple". And that contest is still going! Voting for the public to pick our winner runs till March 25th - I need to be the most productive Cupid around for another twenty-five-days! BUT if you want to help me and be entered to WIN A KINDLE you can go to the eTreasures Blog to vote.

Oh and let me introduce myself. I am Cupid HH of The Hollywood Hook Up - totally the most deserving of the Cupids. :)

I want to thank the Cheeky Lady for having me and inviting me to share the contest - and beg for votes a bit.


(All Stories are Available Solo too)
Sometimes true love needs help. Five Cupids take on a challenge this Valentine's season: To match the most unlikely couple they can find.

Love Transposed by Pepper O'Neal and Chelsy Day

One arrow straight through two chests was all it took for carpenter/painter Dan, and trust fund baby Jane to go from making each other crazy, to being crazy about each other. The match that won Cupid X the Challenge in 1981...

Love Potion 2-14 by Pepper O'Neal

White witch Kole Trillion has a successful business, customers who swear by her potions and spells. Unfortunately, she also has the bad luck to fall in love with a man who doesn't believe in magic, Police Detective Gage Corwin.

The Bachelor by Heather Hiestand

Abbie Harper didn’t mean to buy the date, but one look at Jake Cordalys and she’s ready for red-hot romance. Jake is not looking for something complicated, but when Cupid is involved, all plans go out the window and romance flies in.

The Boss Wore Red by Delle Jacobs and SamMarie Ashe

For city fashionista Alexandria Bergstrom, there's nothing worse than learning her crazy parents' past, unless it's having to re-live it herself on the ranch she's inherited. It's the worst possible time for her heart to tumble, especially for hunky, city-hating ranch manager Clint Riordan. But does her heart listen? That's what Cupids are for...

The Wrong Target by Sherry Gloag

Headmistress, Tina Blackberry and Ryan Thomas can't control events after Ryan's daughter steals his coveted golden arrow and takes it to school, But put Cupid on the job and nothing can go wrong, or can it?

The Hollywood Hookup by Chelsy Day

Actor Casey Jones and Stunt Woman Sandra Benson have a history. Can Cupid get them past the animosity and prove that true love in Hollywood is NOT impossible?



Welcome Guest Author Allison Pang & Win A Brush of Darkness!

Today I'm truly excited to welcome guest author Allison Pang to Cheeky Reads! Allison's debut book A Brush of Darkness has been one of my favorites so far this year and part of that is due to the pretty awesome world she creates. That's why I'm excited that today she's introducing us to it and talking about an idea central to the book - Keystones.

I can't recommend this book enough if you are looking for a new Urban Fantasy world to get lost in. Now, check out Allison's post and comment with an answer to Allison's question below or a ask Allison a question to enter to win a copy of A Brush of Darkness!

Welcome Allison!


Mystic groves, haunted houses, magic wells – even in the real world there are places of sacredness that cause people to pause and wonder. (Or give them that lovely prickle down their spine.) For whatever reason , these locations pick up a reputation for having some sort of power or otherworldly presence. In A Brush of Darkness, this concept becomes the basis of something called a KeyStone.

As part of the overall world building, many of these beings (Fae, angels, etc.) like to come and go between their worlds and ours. However, I wanted to limit this a bit, so for the sake of keeping these beings under control, I set it up so that they can only cross over at the four hours – midnight, noon, twilight and dawn – unless they have a TouchStone…or access to a KeyStone.

TouchStones are mortals who enter a Contract with one of these beings, and part of that bargain allows the OtherFolk to travel whenever/wherever they want. If the OtherFolk doesn’t have one, they are usually limited to hanging out at one of these mystical places known as KeyStones. The Hallows, for example, is an OtherFolk bar that’s actually built on top of a more ancient place, but the power still holds true and the OtherFolk take advantage of that.

In some cases, humans can be living KeyStones – with the rare power of being able to TouchStone any OtherFolk person they come in contact with…without the need for a written Contract. I’d been thinking on the idea that so many talented people tend to die so young (i.e. Mozart, for example). In much of Faery lore, the Fae are drawn to that sort of thing – musicians, poets, writers, etc. I began to wonder what might happen if a particularly talented person captured the Fae’s attention and attempted to Contract to too many OtherFolk at once? Undoubtedly the effort would eventually drain them and thereby quite possibly cause their death.

In the book, the Fae actually police these Contracts through the position of a Protectorate, who oversees the written Contracts so that this doesn’t happen (since they don’t actually want that sort of attention drawn to themselves.) On the other hand, a living KeyStone would be a very precious commodity among the OtherFolk, since it would allow them to potentially abuse the system. With no written Contracts needed, a human KeyStone could find him or herself passed around between OtherFolk with very little say in the matter.

In A Brush of Darkness, Abby Sinclair eventually discovers that she is a KeyStone, although being already TouchStoned to the Faery Protectorate lends a certain amount of protection, since very few OtherFolk would want to cross the Protectorate in such a way. Of course, her situation does lend itself to a few humorous moments, particularly when Abby finds out she’s accidentally TouchStoned to a small unicorn who likes to nest in her underwear drawer.

I’d love to hear if anyone has ever run into a KeyStone of their own – a place that felt “haunted” or magical or seemed to have a presence that wasn’t particularly tangible. :)

The Dreaded Plot Question with Guest Author Rebecca York

The Dreaded Plot Question with Rebecca York

One of the questions that comes up over and over in writers’ discussions is, “Do you plot first? Or do you just sit down and write?”

Of course, there’s not one right way to work. Each writer has to figure out what works best for her.

I have trained myself to write fast. My basic fiction method is to come up with an idea. I write a short synopsis (which I use to sell the book to an editor). I then work on fleshing out the synopsis--adding more plot details and more background about the characters. At some point, I usually stop and write two or three chapters. When I write the chapters, I get to know the characters better. Then I go back and work on the synopsis/narrative outline again. When I have the suspense plot and the emotional arc of the story worked out, I start writing the book--and write as fast as I can. When I come up with ideas that were better than the ones in the synopsis, I use them instead of the previous ideas.

With DAY OF THE DRAGON, I had a head start. I’d introduced the hero, dragon-shifter Ramsey Gallagher, in DRAGON MOON. He was a secondary character, but I fell in love with him and wanted to give him his own story. So when I started DAY OF THE DRAGON, I already knew him very well. Even so, those first three chapters were more difficult than usual. Ramsey had been through a terrible experience that had changed him in fundamental ways. My problem was dealing with his new weaknesses and still making him an appealing hero.

I used to take a long time writing a book, then a long time editing and polishing it. I've found that I can shorten the writing process considerably, but I still need to edit extensively.

I found out years ago that not doing a synopsis was a waste of time for me because it meant that I'd have to do a lot of rewriting. It's easier to change a 20-page synopsis than it is to rewrite a 300-page book.

I never have everything nailed down. My synopsis might say--and then they escape from the psychotic killer. When I get to that part of the book, I have to stop and think about how they do it.

In DAY OF THE DRAGON, I knew I wanted Ramsey and archaeologist Madison Dartmoor to go to several interesting locations. Where bad guys would try to kill them while they were falling in love and Ramsey was worrying about how Madison would react when she discovered his terrible secret.

They end up at the site of an ancient tomb in Peru. But I had no idea where that would be until I visited the country. Of course it was tempting to use Machu Picchu because it’s such a breathtaking site. But a lot of tourists go there, which wouldn’t have given Ramsey and Madison much privacy while they were making love and dodging bullets. After touring several locations, I decided to use Colca Canyon because it’s off the beaten path.

Ramsey and Madison have their main adventure in that dry desert where condors with ten-foot wingspans glide on the canyon thermals early in the morning. I didn’t even know a bird could have those giant wings until I visited the area. And I certainly didn’t know that a colca is a hole that ancient Indians dug in the side of a cliff as a burial or storage chamber.

I use both in DAY OF THE DRAGON. Also the nosebleed I got from the high altitude. And the poverty of the little towns we drove through with our guide, the bumpy roads, the colorful Indian costumes and the hotel where we stayed in Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru and the starting point for a trip to Colca Canyon.

With every book, I try to get as much of the plot down as I can before I start. But I always leave myself open for the interesting details that I’ll never know until I start researching.

And I love it when I come up with plot twists that leap out at me when I’m in the middle of the book. Even with an outline, writing for me is like slow reading. I’m getting it onto the screen so I’ll find out what really happened.

When you read, what aspects of the book do you enjoy most? Plot? Character? Setting? Or a combination of all the elements?

Read Chapter One of DAY OF THE DRAGON here.

I'm Leaving On A Jet Plane...

If you follow me on twitter (Hey - you should follow me on twitter!) you might have caught a tweet or two about my upcoming vacation - CHINA BABY! I'll be gone for two weeks freezing my patootie off in China, starting on Thanksgiving. While gone, I'll have some fun authors to stop by and do guest blogs and giveaways.

I'll pull the winners of the giveaways when I get back around Dec. 9th or 10th and I'll leave all giveaways open for entries through the 8th of December.

Please be nice to our visiting authors and tell your friends to stop by too! Since I won't have access to twitter or email, I won't be able to help promote the guests as much so I'm counting on my great readers to help them feel welcome.

Now, I just need to fill my Sony eReader up with books and I'm all set to travel. To my American readers, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and to everyone else have a great two weeks!

Happy Reading!

Welcome Guest Alayna Williams - Author of Dark Oracle! Enter to Win!

By Alayna Williams

For DARK ORACLE, I took a different approach to profiling my heroine, Tara. I didn't use any tried-and-true psychological or literary approaches. Instead, I did what Tara would.

I used Tarot cards.

Tara Sheridan swore off criminal profiling after narrowly escaping a serial killer who left her scarred for life. By combining Tarot card divination with her own intuition, find a missing scientist who has unlocked the destructive secrets of dark energy.

The card that came up most often in my random drawings to represent Tara was the Queen of Swords. The Queen of Swords depicts a woman staring pensively into a stormy sky. She’s lifting sword as if it’s quite sharp, and extends her hand as if she’s cut herself with it. The swords, in general, represent intellect. The Queen of swords traditionally represents sadness and mourning or a particularly clever woman. I always associated her with the Snow Queen from fairy tales – cold, isolated, withdrawn. The Queen of Swords became the significator for Tara - an image that focused the rest of my Tarot card readings. Throughout writing DARK ORACLE, whenever I was stuck or needed more information, I'd draw a random card from my Tarot card deck as a story prompt.

I wanted to learn more about the mental, physical, and spiritual challenges facing Tara. So I drew three cards to symbolize the metal, physical, and emotional challenges facing her in the story.

For Tara's mental challenge, I drew the eight of swords. It shows a woman blindfolded and surrounded by sharp swords. The traditional meaning of this card involves imprisonment, crisis and bad news. Tara survived an attack by a serial killer years ago, and the event has left her scarred and in self-imposed exile. Her mental challenge will be to break out of the cycle of the past and see the future.

For Tara's physical challenge, I drew the Tower. The Tower depicts lightning striking a tower and people falling to the ground. The Tower represents the case Tara has been asked to work on, an explosion of a particle accelerator. A scientist who's unlocked the secrets of dark energy has gone missing, and his disappearance could dangerously affect the balance of power in the world.

For Tara's spiritual challenge, I drew the Lovers. It shows a man and woman in an embrace. Tara falls for the federal agent, Harry Li, who's working the missing scientist case. And she falls hard. But she struggles with giving herself over to a relationship, with learning to trust again. When he discovers her unorthodox methods, will Harry be able to trust Tara?

Even Tara can't see that far into the future with her Tarot cards. She'll have to find out by experiencing these challenges, one by one.

Alayna Williams has an MA in sociology-criminology (research interests: fear of crime and victimology) and a BA in criminology. She has worked in and around criminal justice since 1997. Although she does read Tarot cards, she's never used them in criminal profiling or to locate lost scientists. She recently took up astronomy, but for the most part her primary role in studying constellations and dark matter is to follow her amateur astronomer-husband around central Ohio toting the telescope tripod and various lenses. More info is at

"Alayna" is also known as Laura Bickle, the author of Embers from Pocket Juno.

What about you - Have you ever tried Tarot Cards? Had your palm read or your future told? Did you read Embers from Alayna's alter ego Laura Bickle? What did you think? (I LOVED IT) Let us know and you'll be entered to win a copy of Dark Oracle from Alayna Williams!

Sorry, contest open to US and Canadian residents only.

Welcome Guest Author Marie-Claude Bourque & Comment to Win!

MCB-photo-verysmall Why I find Snape Sexy: My Love Affair With Sorcerers.

I think my love affair with sorcerers started when I was a kid and read (and reread) a French historical series called Angélique by Anne and Serge Golon. Set in the 17th century, the series featured a heroine whose one true love was her first husband, a count and alchemist who was left limping after a brush with the inquisition and that she believes dead for a big part of the series until she is reunited with him after many adventures. He was older and wise and yes, very sexy.

Later in my teens, I fell for a powerful wizard from the first Dragonlance series written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. This wizard, called Raistlin Majere, is physically weak but extremely powerful. And maybe that is why I love wizards and sorcerers so much, it’s their powers that make them so alluring.

There is a great scene in one of the Harry Potter movie where Snape dramatically enters the classroom, his robes billowing behind him as he closes the window shutters with one hand gesture. I love that scene. So much power! How can I not fall for Snape there! I know, he’s a little creepy, but I always fell for the underdog. When Harry Potter screams his Patronus charm and yells Expecto Patronum in the dark forest, in yet another very intense scene of a Harry Potter movie, I can see how enticing he will become as a man.

It’s no wonder I chose to make my ANCIENT WHISPERS heroes sorcerers. Not only they possess this incredible magical power, but also, because I can do what I want in the word I created, these men are tall, strong and extremely handsome. Most were warriors in their time and learned magic as they became immortal in order to find their lost soul mates who are now reborn in modern time.

Replacing wizard robes with long coats that hide the magical components needed for their spells and the enchanted dagger that cuts through various dimensions, these sorcerers are everything I always dreamed of, strong, sexy, and powerful, very powerful. They make a woman want to hide in their arms, absolutely protected from anything within the safety of their coats, their masculine scent enveloping them like an overwhelming yet enticing shadow.

When I started to write about my sorcerers, each deadly, haunted by a tortured past, I hadn’t read any modern romance with wizard, sorcerer or alchemist hero. I am sure they exit and I’d love to find more. Just last month I discovered Jim Butcher’s series the Dresden files. When I read on the book cover that it was like a wizard Robert B Parker book, I knew I had to read the series (I’m a Robert B. Parker addict). I bought the first one and wasn’t disappointed. I’m waiting impatiently for the next ones in the series that I just ordered,

AncientWhispers-original-medium So here is my challenge to you readers, please give me some recommendation of wizards, sorcerers or magic-user romance that, like mine, is set in real world modern time. I am currently happy reading the Dresden files, but I need something else to read next!

Please give me a suggestion and I’ll give-away a signed copy of ANCIENT WHISPERS to a lucky commenter!


Marie-Claude Bourque is the American Title V winner and author of ANCIENT WHISPERS, a sensual gothic paranormal romance filled with sorcerers and Celtic priestesses in search for eternal love in modern time. She worked as a climate research scientist, a scientific translator and a fitness expert until she turned to fiction writing. She draws her inspiration from the French legends of her childhood and a fascination for dark fantasy.

ANCIENT WHISPERS, a Dorchester –Love Spell release is available now wherever books are sold. Find more at and don’t forget to enter the contest for her month-long virtual release party at

Welcome Guest Author Laura Bickle – EMBERS: A VERY New Take on the Goddess of Love Myth

embers-250 I’ve heard so many great things about EMBERS, the new release from Laura Bickle, that I couldn’t believe I got the opportunity to host her here at Cheeky Reads. Look for an upcoming review of EMBERS and be sure to enter the giveaway below!

Take it away Laura!

I've always loved reading about powerful heroines, women who are in charge of their own story. I grew up reading Robin McKinley's heroines, like Aerin in THE HERO AND THE CROWN, who slew their own dragons. I was even sympathetic to the legend of Medusa - in my eyes, she was a tragic figure who turned all her lovers to stone. Myths are rich in stories of women who have attempted to balance power and love. I quickly learned that writing a powerful heroine is a whole different kettle of fish than reading about one.

One of the myths I was drawn to was the myth of Ishtar. Ishtar is the Babylonian goddess of love, war, and sex. Her love was known to be fatal. In the Epic of Giglamesh, Giglamesh tells her:

“Listen to me while I tell the tale of your lovers. There was Tammuz, the lover of your youth, for him you decreed wailing, year after year. You loved the many-coloured roller, but still you struck and broke his wing… You have loved the lion tremendous in strength: seven pits you dug for him, and seven. You have loved the stallion magnificent in battle, and for him you decreed the whip and spur and a thong... You have loved the shepherd of the flock; he made meal-cake for you day after day, he killed kids for your sake. You struck and turned him into a wolf; now his own herd-boys chase him away, his own hounds worry his flanks."

One of the most famous myths about Ishtar involves her descent to the Underworld, in pursuit of the soul a lost lover. She descends through the gates of hell, shedding her weapons and clothing as offerings, until she reaches Ereshkigel, Queen of the Underworld. Ereshkigel poisons Ishtar, dooming her to the Underworld. She can only be freed if someone will take her place.

Ishtar returns to the surface of the earth, in the company of demons, to find someone to take her place. She finds that her husband, Tammuz, has not mourned her. In a fit of rage, she sends him back to the underworld in her place, with the demons.

The myth fascinated me, the idea of a mythic heroine who was a love goddess, who could also be so ruthless. She wasn't like any of the other love goddesses I'd studied. Ishtar didn't recline prettily on a fainting couch, twirling her hair and awaiting her destiny; she picked up her sword and fought for who and what she wanted. I was eager to recast a bit of her in a modern image.

“You have the eyes of Ishtar.”

This is what the heroine, Anya, of EMBERS, is told. She doesn’t want to believe it. She’s got enough on her plate: by day, she’s an arson investigator on the trail of a serial firebug. By night, she works with a group of ghost hunters as a Lantern, a medium capable of seeing and devouring spirits. Anya’s responsible for keeping her fire salamander familiar, Sparky, from chewing on electrical cords. And she’s confused by her feelings for a fellow ghost-hunter, Brian, attempting to keep her distance.

A serial arsonist, Drake, tells Anya that she has the Babylonian goddess’s terrible gaze. He should know -- he’s a fellow Lantern, the only other one she’s encountered. And he tells her that she has much more than Ishtar’s gaze…

A character patterned after the Ishtar archetype was a challenging one to write. She’s not the usual heroine who always makes the morally-correct choices. She has a dark side, and she must struggle with it. She’s somber, angry, and is confused about her feelings. Though she’s emotionally armored, she’s very human. She loves, and aches to be a part of something larger than herself. But she’s an outsider: she’s apart from the world of humans, and even the ghost-hunters don’t fully trust her powers. Like many of us, she wants to be understood. And the only person who fully knows what she is, what she’s capable of, is another Lantern: Drake, the man determined to burn a city to the ground.

As Ishtar did long ago, Anya finds herself in the company of demons. While attempting an exorcism, Anya absorbs an ancient Babylonian demon, who works to possess Anya. The demon manages to gain a toehold in Anya’s own darker impulses, driving her into the arms of evil.

Like Ishtar, Anya must surface from the Underworld victorious, rescuing the souls she’s descended to rescue. And she must decide which sacrifices to make, who will remain in the Underworld behind her.

Anya is more human than Ishtar. She's reluctant to use her power, and tangled in her own feelings of guilt. But, still, she has some of the imprint of Ishtar upon her, the desire and the power to act on it. I think that there's something inherently interesting about how people deal with power and love that gives them a story, something to struggle against.

Check out more about Laura and EMBERS at these links:

laura-bickle Website:
Link to the first chapter of EMBERS :

Laura has graciously offered a copy of EMBERS to one of our U.S. readers today! Tell us, Do you like your heroines powerful? Love the characters who struggle with the the underworld? Is there another myth you love seeing rewritten into modern stories? Tell us and enter to win!

Dee Tenorio Winner!

As chosen by, the winner of their choice of a backlist ebook from Dee Tenorio is...

Comment #10 - Armenia

Congrats! Head over to Dee's website here, and chose one of her backlist titles. Sorry, that doens't include All of You, but does include other kick-ass titles. Then email me your choice at cheekyreads @ (no spaces) and Dee will get your ebook out to you.

Welcome Guest Author Dee Tenorio & GIVEAWAY

Cheeky Reads is excited to welcome author Dee Tenorio. Today, Dee is celebrating the release of her latest book All of You from Samhain Publishing. All of You features a set of twin brothers, so what better topic for Dee to talk to us about today. Make sure you enter to win the contest at the bottom of the post for a chance to win an ebook from Dee's backlist of titles!

Welcome Dee!

They Call Me...The Twin Whisperer

Actually, no one calls me that, but really, I wish they would. I'm getting tired of yelling, whispering once in a while would be nice.

Now, if you haven't met me before, my name is Dee. I'm a writer. I married a twin. I gave birth to twins. And I am now beginning my second series about twins, The Lonnigans. In fact, the first book, "All Of You", is out today from Samhain Publishing! Which is why I'm here today. Because if you've never known a might not realize what you could be getting into when you pick up this series. These Lonnigans aren't your regular Romance twins. But I'll get to that...

See, in my many years of twin experience, I've learned quite a few things about these unique sets of people, and I like to try to set the stereotypes back a little in my writing--thus those amazing Lonnigan differences--but I thought, hey, why not share a little of the knowledge? Help people do a little twin-whispering of their own.

So here it is, Dee's Five Facts About Twins Most People Get Wrong:

1) They are two separate people. I know, it's kind of obvious, but you'd be surprised how often folks think twins are interchangeable. They might often have moments of startling similarity in motion, tone and tastes, but believe me, they have such individual quirks and personality differences that if they had a different face, you'd never mistake them for members of a collective. So, if you know someone who's married to a twin, don't ask her if she ever gets confused. She doesn't. In fact, just the thought probably makes her gag. (I know it does offense, BIL)

2) Not all twins are polar opposites. I see this a lot in romance and it kind of cracks me up. I'm sure there are night & day twins, but honestly, most siblings will share at least some common interests. Take my husband, for example. All of his siblings--including the twin--love Japanese animation and a deep love of movies. Blending likes and not-likes is a big miss when it comes to representing twins realistically.

3) Fraternal Twins are still twins. Honest, my next set of fictional twins are going to be fraternal, lol. Just to mess with people. My own twins are identical, but due to a really difficult birth, I had one baby natural and one baby c-section. (Yes, the suckage of that is epic). As a result, "Natural" baby has a different head and face shape from C-Section baby, giving people the idea they're fraternal. (Nope, they're not--they still confuse me from time to time, I rely on that slight difference to tell them apart) So, I hear a lot, "Oh, then they're not real twins." Ask their mother, they're twins. And they have a great many of the same similarities as Identicals. In fact, I may come up with a story just to explore that further. It's not the faces that make them twins. It's the togetherness.

4) Not all twins are psychic. You know, unless they're actually psychic. Granted, some kooky alikeness things happen (hubby and his twin tended to wear the same colors, though they woke and dressed in different places and times), but they're not open ended walkie-talkies. (Though, that would really come in handy.) The same can be said of very close regular siblings.

5) Raising twins isn't the same as having two kids, one right after another. It's not. Twin babies are on the run about 20 hours a day and they are at the same level of understanding and needs. If you've ever met a nine month old, you'll know he's already trying to walk and is sitting up and is on some kind of schedule. Not saying it's easy, but believe me, a kid who can sit and hold a bottle while the other gets nursed is a godsend in comparison to two--often smaller and premie, to boot--babies who need 24 hour care. So, if you ever get the urge to tell a twin parent that you know how they feel--which is run over and trampled and probably cranky--step away from the thought. Just offer the poor parent something to wake them up. They need it.

So what is it that makes these two romance heroes so unique? Well, I like to think they're a bit more real. They're close, but they also show a bit of the frustration that comes from knowing someone since conception. (You know, you love him, but you'd also like to choke him a little) The twin bond is a real thing, but for most twins, it's a love bond. A friend bond. And while there is something magical and mystical about that kind of connection, for most twin folks, it's just part of every day. And I wanted to bring you into that every day world as best I could.

Oh, and if I didn't mention, Lucas--the twin in the second Lonnigan novel, "All Or Nothing" (out in July!)--has his story running at exactly the same time! (Okay, so I got a little twinny there. Can you forgive me?)

So, just to make this fun, how about you all take part in my giveaway for today?

Head on over to my Website and check out the upcoming books section. See if you can find the names of both heroines for the Lonnigan series from the book blurbs and excerpts. Post the names here in the comments and you're entered to win a free ebook of your choice from any of my backlist! (Sorry, All Of You doesn't count. :) )


Discussion & Giveaway: What is it about Twilight that Grown Women Love?

I'm excited to be part of The Triple Threat Giveaway this week and hope you'll join me in a conversation about why women seem to love the Twilight books and movies even though they are intended for Young Adults.

Two authors have joined me today to give their take on the subject, and I can't wait to hear what you think about thier opinions. Do you agree or not, and are you a lover or a hater of the Twilight phenom?

Share your thoughts and enter to win a surprise book basket!

Guest Author Jo Lynne Valerie's Take:  
Twilight, the first novel in the YA series by Stephenie Meyer, was an immediate hit with tweens and teens. There are cute guys, vampires, werewolves, pretty girls and there is angst. A winning recipe! But the book proved its marketability to a broad audience when adults and parents of all ages, fell in love with Twilight, too.

I think I know why. There are powerful themes in Twilight. Edward, the hero, is a vampire with a heart. Bella, the heroine, is an opinionated if slightly awkward teen. The pair fall in love. Due to Edward's vampire nature, that love is forbidden. But forbidden love only scratches the surface of what develops between Edward and Bella. As a whole, Twilight is infused with big, booming life-themes. (Let's get this out of the way: Edward is dreamy. That said, eyes on the themes here, people, eyes on the themes!)

Edward belongs to the Cullen family, a group of vampires living together as vegetarians, by choice. This is a big deal; it means they feed off of animals, not humans. The Cullens also strongly appreciate the arts: cooking, music, reading, the masters. These choices help the Cullens maintain their humanity. Come to think of it, who doesn't struggle to stay in touch with who we are? We all work hard not to lose sight of ourselves and what we love.

Last, we come to Edward and Bella, the characters readers and viewers fell in love with. Or did we fall in love with the passion they share? Edward loves Bella completely. He can literally feel Bella's needs and he responds to them with urgency. Bella aches for Edward so much that she is willing to change her entire world and risk her life just to be with him. We all want that. We all want that crazy, can't sleep, over-the-top, I have to be with you, can't keep my hands off of you, kind of love.

All of these elements and themes combined form a heady mix. No wonder we love Twilight!

Check out Jo Lynne's website at and her author blog at

Guest Author Pembroke Sinclair's Take:
Adult women are so drawn to Twilight because, like romance, it represents escape. When they read or watch this story, they don’t have to worry about the kids or bills or husbands or jobs or day to day routines; they can get lost in the moment. Women are traditionally viewed as caregivers. Society expects them to take care of their friends, kids, families, etc., but Twilight and romance novels give them the chance to be taken care of. It is alluring and flattering that Edward makes it his mission to ensure Bella’s safety.

The looks of the leading men in the movie might have something to do with the attraction, but since I don’t really find them attractive, I don’t know how major a role that plays. Really, I think it has to do with an ideal. Most women were probably awkward and gawky in high school with low self esteem and a poor body image (remember I said MOST, not all), and Edward represents the unattainable male: the popular, mysterious, rich guy everyone wanted. In real life, he would probably date the head cheerleader, but in this world, he falls for the geek. It’s every woman’s fantasy. 

Visit Pembroke's blog at

So readers, do you agree or disagree? Why do adult women love these books and movies so much? Is it all about the boys? Are you a women who has no interest in Twilight at all? Let's Discuss!

Leave us a comment and you'll be entered in a random drawing to win a paranormal themed book basket!

Sorry, but this giveway is limited to US residents only. I know that sucks, but hopefully soon I'll be able to open my contests up internationally.

Guest Post @ Bria Quinlan's Blog - Real Life Job Description

I'm honored to be a guest at Bria Quinlan's blog today! She asked me to do a guest post about my "real life" job description. Based on some of the past guests, I had a tough act to follow. I LOVED Danielle's Bossy Wench post.

So what is my Real Life Job Description? TREASURE HUNTER!

Head on over to the Bria's blog if you want to check it out. :)

Enter to Win $10 Gift Card!

Make sure to pop-over to McIntyre's House of Muse to enter to win a $10 B&N or Borders Gift Card!

The Sins of the Flesh contest below is still open!

Lots of giveaways today! Good Luck!

Welcome Guest Author Judi Fennell!

I'm excited today to welcome author Judi Fennell to Cheeky Reads! Judi writes a super fun paranormal series with Mer Men and I'm pleased to have her with us today. Judi's even been kind enough to offer one lucky reader a set of the first two books in her series, In Over Her Head and Wild Blue Under!

Welcome Judi!

Thanks so much for inviting me on Cheeky Reads! I love to think my Mer series falls under the heading of "cheeky," but I have yet to come up with appropriate music to score the stories.

I love reading about soundtracks authors have for their stories. It's like the story collage idea - both of which I think are really cool, but both of which I don't do.

I will say that Microsoft's OneNote has changed the story collage idea somewhat for me. I now take the research that I used to mark as "Favorite" on my Internet Explorer toolbar and copy and paste it into a OneNote document, so I can go back and look at the buildings/maps/etc. when I'm working somewhere offline, but the soundtrack thing still eludes me.

I do write to music, but I use it more as white noise than any kind of inspiration. Oh, I started out with an ocean sounds CD, hoping to get inspiration from the seagull and dolphin song, but, more often than not, I'd find myself getting lulled to sleep by the wave action. I love listening to the ocean, but when you're writing action/adventure/life-and-death scenes, the last thing you want to do is fall asleep. Makes for a pretty boring action scene if it puts the author to sleep.

So I uploaded a bunch of classical and new age music. Instrumental as opposed to lyrical because I can't write new scenes with lyrics be-bopping around in my head that I start to sing to. (And if you've heard me sing, you'll know why this isn't a good thing—especially for those around me. Okay, I'm not that bad, but Simon Cowell definitely won't be calling.)

There's no rhyme or reason to the music I listen to. I like to listen to anything I won't get caught up in. Some songs are slow, some fast, some loud, some soft, some well-known, some not so. Beethoven, Yanni, Tchaikovsky, Irish Step Dance music, the soundtrack from Robin Hood… a very eclectic list that I've created on my iTunes list. I have a playlist titled "Writing Music" that goes on right after I upload the most current edition of my WIP.

I guess that is a soundtrack of sorts, but to me, a soundtrack signifies songs that fit the mood of your story. The tone and rhythm. If I wrote to the rhythm of what I listen to, I think I might make readers (and myself) seasick, as I just hit "Shuffle" and what comes out, comes out. It basically becomes something to block out sounds around me so I can focus on what's in my head. I find that I don’t even notice the music after a while, that the characters' voices become easier to hear. Although, when I do take out the earphones, it's amazing how quiet everything is.

That being said, when it comes time to editing (around the third pass through) I can listen to music that I can sing to - but I have to listen to it for a while before I can get beyond the words. Case in point, I watch the show Real Housewives on Bravo and one of the Atlanta Housewives recently released a dance song, "Tardy for the Party." It's a catchy little ditty and I've found (now that I've played it a gazillion times) it's upbeat enough to read through action scenes and I'm no longer singing along, so it's perfect background music.

But after listening to it for five hour stretches, I have to say, it's looking to be replaced. Soon.

I'd love to hear what other people listen to. How do you write/read a story if there are lyrics playing in your head at the same time? How do you choose which songs you'll write/read to?

And while you're listening to your favorite writing music, feel free to stop by my website,, and register to win one of two remaining romantic beach getaway weekends (the first has already been awarded), to either the Atlantis Inn in Ocean City, NJ ( or the Hibiscus House in West Palm Beach, FL (

Answer Judi's question regarding what kind of music you like to listen to while reading or writing and you'll be entered to win In Over Her Head and Wild Blue Under! Check back tomorrow morning to see if you've won!

Bonus: +1 for being a follower of this blog / +1 for Tweeting about this post and giveaway

Contest is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.