Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolving to Make 2013 Suck Less

In all fairness, I can't say 2012 entirely sucked. As far as years ago in my life, this was actually one of the better ones. Well, the first half was awesome:

1) I finally visited Europe - a few days in Germany and a few in London. One week isn't nearly enough to see everything, though.

2) I had two books published. Dare to Act came out through Ravenous Romance and "Kat" published Rock Til You Drop. I also released Pure Bliss in 2012, and wrote Bittersweet and The Girl With the Monkee Tattoo, both of which will be out in 2013.

3) I saw the Monkees in concert, about 25 years after the last time I saw them in concert.

4) I got a new job, one closer to publishing and writing that suits me.

5) I lost weight.

Of course, the drawbacks seemed to overshadow some of this:

1) Emergency gallbladder surgery. Blech! I tried my best to eat better and save it, but it didn't help. I do feel better, but I'm still learning about which foods give me trouble.

2) Having that surgery caused me to miss seeing Rush in concert. I can only hope for a spring 2013 leg in the US.

3) General meh. I become depressed easily - perhaps it's genetic. That's a story for another day.

I've done a resolution post here already, but I wish to clarify it. Many people I know are relieved to see 2012 end, and I don't blame them. In the grand scope of things, it was a bummer year. We lost some really cool famous people, and had to suffer mass shootings and all sorts of crap. The way to heal begins with small steps, however. Make an effort to be kind, and hopefully it will catch on.

As for me, in 2013 I resolve:

1) To get off my ass more and go outside. I'll take time to walk or skate during the day and eat light.

2) To not pay full price for groceries if I can help it. This year I'll conquer couponing.

3) To write and not worry about why I don't have an agent or NYC contract. Worrying isn't productive. The only way I'll get either or both is to write.

4) Save up for a return to Europe. Baby steps. If you want to help, you could buy a book. ;-)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Which of Leigh Ellwood's Books Should You Read First?

So, you like erotic romance, and haven't read any of mine yet? Welcome! If you're not sure what you should read first, I set up this handy diagram to help. Seeing ARe Cafe's infographic inspired me to try one for myself. They are quite addictive, so you know. Hopefully my books are, too.


Friday, December 28, 2012

How AllRomance.com Readers Find Books

AReCafe.com recently release this cool infographic charting how their customers find books. For all the debate about reviews, it appears many readers surveyed do pay attention to them. Interesting.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Girl With the Monkee Tattoo


My alter ego has a new book!

Coming soon in eBook and print: a collection of wild "tails", each with a rockin' theme. The Girl With the Monkee Tattoo will be available via Kindle in the coming weeks, and will be out in print in time for the 2013 Davy Jones Memorial Monkees Convention. I'll have a booth with author Robin Slick in the vendors area. Look forward to seeing you there!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Win a $25 Gift Card from ARe, Amazon, or B&N!

I'm doing a Q&A chat at Bitten By Books right now, and giving away a great prize! You can enter here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 14, 2012

My 2012 Book Picks

I am still four books shy of my 100 book goal for 2012, and I'm seeing already that many sites and bloggers have posted their top picks for the year. Reading-wise, I was all over the map - I typically am, I'll read pretty much anything - and as I checked my Goodreads widget I was surprised to see how many books I read that were actually published this year. Owning a digital reader has helped me stay current, and my Books That Rock Us blog features mainly recently published works, so I feel good for staying on top of some things where publishing is concerned. Therefore, I feel confident I can produce a Top Picks list. It will be all over the place, too, but feel free to check out the following:

Who I Am by Pete Townshend - (my review) I found writing my review a challenge, probably because I truly enjoyed this book. It seems easier to review an underwhelming work - perhaps because we are all critical by nature. While Townshend may be perceived as flawed (and who isn't?), I enjoyed his style and his story. I don't think you have to be a fan of his music or The Who to appreciate it.

Coming Together: Arm in Arm in Arm - from my Goodreads review: Coming Together typically turns out quality anthologies, and this collection is no exception. Bear in mind, it is not for the faint of heart. Nobilis Reed brought together an eclectic crew of authors for this work. If I had to choose a favorite, it would be Teresa Noelle Roberts' piece toward the end.

Cyndi Lauper: a Memoir by Cyndi Lauper - (my review) I've always like Cyndi, and after reading this book I admire her all the more. This could well serve as a cautionary tale for anybody interested in the music industry.

Redshirts by John Scalzi - This was just a plain fun story to read. TV and reality collide with hilarious results; this was probably the most fun I had reading all year.

Taft 2012 by Jason Heller - from my Goodreads review: I am torn on the mashups, but technically this is not one - though it's published by Quirk. I liked Taft 2012, it was an interesting premise with moments of humor and a message.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer - from my Goodreads review: Interesting twist on the Cinderella tale, though only a few elements are used in the story. It's obviously set up to lead into another book, and I do look forward to reading more.

Enemies: a Love Story - The Oral History of Siskel and Ebert by Josh SchollmeyerAs I child I used to love watching Sneak Previews, then Siskel and Ebert's other show. Sometimes the discussion went a bit over my head, but at the time these shows were the only resources for previewing movies - we didn't have YouTube and trailer websites. One could say S&E truly pioneered the enthusiasm for wanting to see a particular movie. That said, I thought this was a nice, albeit brief history of their professional relationship.

The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret by Kent Hartman - (my review) If you've wondered why much of the music of the 60s-70s sounds smooth, it's because the Wrecking Crew probably handled it. A great history about the industry's unsung (heh) heroes.

My Seinfeld Year by Fred Stoller - from my Goodreads review: What I found most interesting about this Kindle single is that it provides an fascinating perspective on how sitcom writing works - at least for one particular show. It is actually more competitive than I had realized, and even if you manage to get a script accepted there's no guarantee your work will survive massive rewrites. I wish this story could have been a bit longer, it left me wanting more to read.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The New Year: How I Did and How I'll Do

So we are coming to the end of yet another year. I found five more strands of silver in my hair, which isn't too bad since I have enough brown to conceal them. This morning I was looking over the resolutions made at the beginning of 2012 and, while I didn't achieve everything, I don't think the year was an epic fail:

My 2012 resolutions were:

1) Lose all the weight I gained last year, after losing 40 pounds the year before. I'm all for recycling, but this is ridiculous.





I actually did lose a significant amount of weight this year. Unfortunately, the weight loss triggered problems with my gallbladder and it had to come out. I'm feeling better now, but still watching my weight.

2) Hike and camp more. I used to love camping when I was younger, and my daughter has taken to it as well. The goal this year is four outings, even if it's to the local KOA.


Alas, time got away from me this year and we didn't get to do any camping.

3) Write two full-length works. Winning NaNoWriMo in 2011 was a big boost for me. If I can write 50K in a month, I damn sure can double that at the very least this year.



This I sort of accomplished. I had Dare to Act come out under this name and Rock Til You Drop out under another. Pure Bliss was also released, and I'm 30K into Bittersweet, the follow up to Taste This. Wordwise, it was a good year for me.

4) Get to see that show on Broadway while Alan Rickman's still starring in it. I will crawl to New York if I have to.


Didn't happen, dammit. I didn't get to see Rush this year, either, because of the gallbladder operation. However, 2012 wasn't a total loss - I did get to a Monkees show (2nd one for me, first time seeing Nez).

5) Redesign the website. Yeah, yeah...


You know, it looks fine just the way it is.

6) Be happier.

Working on it.

For 2013, I'm aiming lower. This way I won't be too disappointed and I won't have to explain my lazy ass come December. So I resolve:

1) Eat better.
2) Roller skate more.
3) Write more.
4) Read more.

Simple enough, eh?

Monday, December 3, 2012

I'm Tired

So the other day I entered the names of two people who had been on my Facebook feed, because I hadn't heard from them lately. Turns out I had been de-friended - apparently on their ends, since I haven't let anybody go in a long time. Sometimes I'll hear about how people will flip out if they've been de-friended or unfollowed, as though it's akin to shunning or disfellowship. Oddly, though, I'm not insulted, or hurt. I feel this apathy is somewhat connected to my recent social media burnout.

If you know me in my real life, you know I have worked in social media marketing for the past seven years. Before that, I worked in SEO (back before Google launched). Come next month, I will transition to a new job related to publishing. I will write and promote authors and publishers, and hopefully bring readers to the books they want to read. There will be SEO and SMO to handle, yes, but my work will be concentrated on a few sites as opposed to 30 different clients. I will finally have more focus in my work, and hopefully bring my expertise to this business and increase it.

As for social media on the personal side, the subject of the post says it all. I still use Twitter frequently as Leigh, as I find it's the best fit for me. I've been advised to do more with Facebook since it appears that readers do utilize it for book recommendations, but I find it's a struggle to talk about myself. The last thing I want is to constantly hustle people into buying books. I get turned off by authors who tweet promo every hour, so why would I do the same thing? I do admit, it's a challenge to be "on" all the time, but I do like talking with people on Twitter. Perhaps I should concentrate more on communication rather than talking at people.

Well, I suppose I'll figure it out soon enough. In the meantime, I'm trying to build strength for the new job, more writing, and the Coming Together book I'm editing. Look up for the cover and visit EroticAnthology.com for the guidelines. I'd love to see submissions over the holiday!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Guest Post: Angela S. Stone - Boots on the Ground

I'm please to welcome fellow Phaze author Angela S. Stone, promoting her new book, BOOTS ON THE GROUND!

Buy links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Boots-On-The-Ground-ebook/dp/B00AAODH6K
ARE: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-bootsontheground-1006044-145.html
Direct from Publisher: http://phaze.com/book.php?title=Boots+on+the+Ground

Blurb:

Ash Cooper and Jason McCarty know they need to do one thing, and one thing alone: stay alive.

An IED attack destroyed their convoy and left them both injured in the high desert of Afghanistan and running from insurgents. They take refuge with a group of Afghan civilians, and their only hope of rescue is two satellite phones that might be damaged beyond repair.

Ash and Jason join forces with a British army nurse to survive the harsh living conditions. As days to turn to weeks, they think of home, the husbands they left behind, and the lives they want to return to.

But with food rations running short, the elders angry at them, and the hope of rescue lost, Ash and Jason start to give up, and in the end turn to each other in their struggle for survival.

Excerpt:

The concussive force of the blast blew Ash backwards out of his seat. He could feel the armored vehicle turning end over end. It took him a moment to grasp the car had stopped. He felt dizzy and disorientated, blinking a couple of times.

Where in the heck was he?

The dust of the desert started to settle, and he remembered. Civilian police, Afghanistan, patrol convoy, IED.

He started to move only to bite back a hiss of pain. His shoulder flared with agony. Motherfucker. He couldn’t tell what happened to his arm, but it hurt like a son of a bitch.

His escort and their translator were the other people in the armored vehicle, and they were still and silent. Ash cradled his arm as he started to move, his training helping him to squelch the pain. They were in one of the most volatile and insurgent-ridden districts of Afghanistan. The IED blast had to have been huge to send their armored vehicle flying, especially one five cars from the lead.

Ash glanced though the broken windshield. The force had blown them back and clear of the debris field. There were four vehicles up ahead, all burning or smoking. Ash checked again for signs of life in the other passengers around him.

He found none.

There was, however, unwelcome activity up ahead. A group of armed men moved towards the blast sight, maybe about a kilometer away and closing in fast—insurgents. Ash’s instincts met his training, and he kicked into overdrive: scavenge what he could from the wreckage, check for survivors, and find cover.

The door on the passenger side had the least amount of damaged, and after a couple of kicks it creaked open enough to allow Ash to exit. He picked up the medical kit, the water, and anything else tossed loose during the blast, as well as two weapons. Swinging the supplies over his good shoulder and clutching one of the two rifles, he started to move towards the blast site.

The first vehicle ahead was a light armored vehicle like the one he had been riding in. He knew the three other CivPol members were inside the LAV along with an escort and driver. One door and one side of the vehicle were blown clean off, and the driver and the passenger in the front seat were most definitely dead. The two passengers in the back were also dead. Ash moved to check the person in the rear seat, relieved to hear coughs and groans. With the dust and the dirt and the blood pouring from the man’s head wound, Ash strained to recognize him. After a moment he could clearly make out the outline of Jason through the gore. He glanced up. The insurgents were advancing. The smoke and dust obscured the two men for the moment, but that wouldn’t last long. He had to get them both undercover pronto.

“Jason, Jason,” Ash hissed. He grabbed the slumped man’s vest, shaking him.

“Jason, wake the fuck up.”

Jason’s eye’s fluttered open.

“Come on. We have to move! Now!”

Jason just nodded his head but didn’t move. Having only one working arm meant Ash couldn’t hoist him up. He dropped the scavenged gear out onto the ground, and with his good arm he dragged Jason out of the vehicle. He pulled them both to the side, behind the tire, camouflaging and giving them a bit of cover. Ash opened the medical kit and staunched the bleeding on Jason’s head wound. He didn’t appear to have any other injuries. Although still dazed he started coming around and responded to Ash’s voice.

“Stay low,” Ash said as he handed Jason one of the rifles he’d recovered.

“We’ve got insurgents closing in on our location.”

About the Author

Angela S Stone is a twenty something Registered Nurse living, and working in Ottawa Canada. Her first novel, Sometimes It’s Fate, was published by Phaze books in 2011. Angela finds inspiration in real life personal events for her books, often writing about issues and she is a proud Canadian and an even prouder girl from back east. She thoroughly enjoys writing novels featuring character that live in or are from the Maritimes. She’s recently met Mr. Right and when she’s not occupied with him she can be found hanging out at her local starbucks writing. She spends her free time advocating for minorities and persons with disabilities.

Angela has a severe learning disability called Dysgraphia. Despite this she has written several novels, graduated from university will be starting her Master’s degree in nursing. All things she was told she would never be able to do.

Angela has never met a challenge that she couldn’t overcome. She believes strongly in the philosophy of saying “I can’t” means “I won’t” and advocating for yourself. She has spoken about these topics on provincial, regional and national levels. As well has published several articles in related disability orientated magazines.


Author Links:

Email: angela@angelastone.ca
Website: http://angelastone.ca
Twitter: @angelasstone
Facebook: facebook.com/AngelaStone.Writer

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Guest Blog: See Me by Natalie-Nicole Bates

Author Natalie-Nicole Bates has a new release! Enjoy this excerpt.

Carly Anders is hearing voices in her head. Another one of her kind is trying to contact her. She knows of the malevolent freaks—others who are eternal like her and seek out the weak to inflict pain upon. For years, Carly has held up huge protective walls to keep herself and her secrets safe. Now, physically and mentally exhausted, Carly needs protection and rest.

She accepts the invitation to visit an internet friend who needs help appraising a collection of antique photographs. The situation is not ideal, but Carly hopes a male presence in her life will deter the determined suitor who haunts her thoughts and dreams.

Daniel Tremont is not what Carly is expecting.

The former funeral director has a secret of his own. Not only is he eternal like Carly, he is her creation from all those years before—her abomination she thought she killed.

Daniel has been searching for Carly for years. He knows she is the piece of his life that he has been missing for so long. Now that he has found her, he has no intentions of letting her go.

Buy links:

http://leapoffaithpublishing.com/#ecwid:category=2613677&mode=product&product=15767325

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B009MRN9P0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B009MRN9P0&linkCode=as2&tag=lucyfelthouse-21

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009MRN9P0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B009MRN9P0&linkCode=as2&tag=lucyfelt-20

*****

Excerpt:

He waved a hand in front of her face, but she didn’t blink. The lights are on, but no one’s home.

“Carly, my angel,” he whispered and cupped her cheek into his palm. He revealed in the silkiness and warmth of her skin. Still, she didn’t react. She was almost…a zombie.

His own body jerked in reaction to the fear she was emanating. She was clearly sleepwalking and in the throes of one hell of a nightmare, yet she didn’t cry out any longer. It was all now playing out inside her mind.

“Charlotte, see me,” he implored.

Her lips twitched at the mention of her real name.

“See me,” he repeated.

Suddenly, her body gave way and she collapsed. Catching her, he lifted her into his arms and carried her to the bed. As he laid her down, her breathing became ragged. He placed a hand over her heart as it raced, and passed healing calmness through his hand, feeling the energy pulsate against her skin. Beneath his hand, he would feel her heartbeat slow to a normal rhythm.

“Daniel?” Her voice was mere caress.

“I’m here, my angel. You’re having a nightmare. You’re frightened. It’s okay now, I’m here, and I will never leave you,” he promised.

“Everyone leaves, Daniel. You can’t understand, you can’t…” Her body started to tremble.

He climbed onto the bed and straddled her body. Leaning close to her face, he said, “Carly, let go of your fear. I can take it. Let go and see me,” he commanded.

Her breath came out in a whoosh, and a wall of fear and resistance hit him like a blow from above. It wasn’t exactly painful, more startling than anything else.

His vision flip-flopped, and he could see an image from inside her mind of two souls forever entwined as the result of one act. It made perfect sense. She was reliving the day their souls became one. The day of the fire.

He then saw black, suffocating water. She was reliving her own death, as well.

As the visions left him, he was consumed with the mishmash of fear, loneliness, and resistance within her.

He had to make her understand that it was over. “I will never leave you, Carly. That is my promise to you,” he insisted.

A flicker of life ignited in her eyes. Her hands came up to his face, and to Daniel’s surprise, tears bubbled from his own eyes. He was releasing the pain and fear he had absorbed from his beloved.

“I’m so sorry, Daniel, so sorry,” she murmured.

“There’s nothing to be sorry for, my love. It’s over. It’s time to move forward now.”

“You don’t understand what I am, Daniel.”

“I do understand, Carly. I am what you are. See me for what I am.”

In his mind, he could see the moving clockwork gears of her thoughts once again as she tried to process what he was telling her to be true.

“Just accept it, and let’s move forward.”

She drew his face to hers and her lips parted beneath his. Time blurred and he drank in the essence of his Carly. Her soft, barely covered curves molded themselves against his the hard planes of his body. Her hands were under his t-shirt, her fingers stroking him.

If he pressed on, he knew she wouldn’t refuse him. But in her vulnerable state, he wouldn’t let anything progress further that night. Carly needed time to process everything that happened. There was plenty of time to pursue a physical relationship. They weren’t going any where…he hoped.

*****

Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author.

Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian and Edwardian era photography and antique poison bottles. Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.

She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos.

Visit Natalie online at www.natalienicolebates.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BatesNatalie

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/natalienicole.bates

Blog: www.natalienicolebates.com

Saturday, November 17, 2012

New in Audio: She Loves Me

What a busy weekend for me. Presently I am on a book retreat on the West Coast, getting used to the time change and the high altitude. Got a bit nauseous on the ride into the mountains, but I'm feeling better now. I kept my laptop on EST so I can glean my family's schedule. I'm in a beautiful place, but not sure how much I'll get to see this weekend. Will definitely have to make a return trip.

While I was flying over, SHE LOVES ME finally release in audio book. You can get it at Audible and Amazon right now, and I suspect iTunes will have it up. If you're looking for some hot, award-nominated lesbian erotica for your audio player, pick it up today!

On the book/NaNo writing update, I have stalled a bit. I can't write on planes, but I did read three books on the journey, so I should catch up to my Goodreads reading goal of 100 books for 2012 soon. I am about halfway through Bittersweet right now, and working on something for my lesbian anthology for Coming Together. Please click that link for submission guidelines to Girl on Girl. I can't wait to read submissions and work on the book.

So now it's off to update all my sales sites again! BTW, I redid my complete book list. You can now browse it by category. No more strings of letters to memorize. Make it easier for you for gift-giving!




Sunday, November 11, 2012

Now Available: Pure Bliss



Buy: AllRomance ~ Kindle ~ NOOK ~ Smashwords ~ Kobo

I am pleased to announce that Pure Bliss, the next installment in my Love is Bliss series, is now available for sale at the major eBook retailers!

Where the first story, Sheer Bliss, told Calla and Caleb's story Pure Bliss follows Caleb's cousin Trisha and her betrothed mate, Malcolm. I would like to do at least one more story in this series before putting out a print collection - still trying to decide who gets the third story. The first two have focused on the panther shifters of Bliss, and it's probably time for one of the wolves to have story. I suppose we shall see - it will be something to tackle after Bittersweet and Three to Dare are completed.

For now, here is the blurb and excerpt. Hope you enjoy this one.

Betrothed for years to Malcolm Weaver, Trisha Houlihan has grown tired of archaic panther shifters ways and wants to live on her own terms. A chance meeting with a hot stranger serves to spark her rebellion, but backfires when she discovers she’s fooling around with her intended.

Malcolm isn’t keen on old traditions, either, but there’s something about Trisha that inspires him to make an exception. Trisha is certainly exceptional, unlike other she-panthers, and he is convinced they were meant to be, regardless of the circumstances that brought them together.

Trisha wants to resist, but her growing attraction to Malcolm proves problematic. Can these two find a balance between tradition and passion and create a happily ever after?
~


Something nagged at Trisha. Normally she loved The Wall and everything about it—the music, the drinks, and the people. She didn’t consider herself a popular club girl, but did enjoy the nodding acquaintances she shared with many regulars. Every weekend people gathered here to dance off the frustrations of work and other anxieties, and Trisha in particular enjoyed this time away from her family and sometimes forgot she was a panther. Here, grinding on the dance floor and mingling in the heat and sweat of bodies, nobody knew she was a pawn in an archaic patriarchy that insisted on making the big life decisions for her.

She should have felt invigorated to have skipped out on the Indian Summer Ball, literally thumbing her nose at the Houlihans and Weavers and anybody else who wanted to box her into the role of demure, second-class citizen. Perhaps knowing that Malcolm hadn’t bothered to show and acknowledge their betrothal caused her irritation. Not that it hurt to think the guy wasn’t interested in marrying her, but she’d wanted the opportunity to protest first.

Now, as Nicki Minaj’s energetic voice faded to allow Katy Perry to take over, Trisha finished her ginger ale and checked the dance floor. Marcy continued to shimmy and shake with her newfound dance partner—a handsome, wiry man who appeared nimble enough to dance around Marcy without moving his feet. Cute, yes, but not really Trisha’s type. Now, the one who’d refreshed her drink…where had he gotten to?

She drifted away from the bar and casually circulated around the ground floor of the club, seeing nobody who matched his description. Maybe he’d gone upstairs to the other dance area, or else the men’s room. Oh, well. A favorite song now blared throughout the club and she didn’t want to waste it. Finding a patch of blinking neon, she stepped onto the floor to dance away her troubles.

Young men and women drifted in and out of her personal space. Whenever the mood suited her, Trisha pushed out her hips and gyrated against the dancer closest to her for a few seconds before shuffling deeper into the throng. Eventually she scooted past Marcy and her new friend, who seemed interested in engaging the dark-skinned young woman in a reenactment of a scene from Dirty Dancing.

Trisha wanted to laugh, but still felt cautious for her friend. They had a hand-gesture code to use when either of them wanted out of a sticky situation. Marcy, however, appeared only too happy to bump and grind, so Trisha danced onward.

Soon she detected a hand on her upper hip, and a body pressed into her back. Her mysterious drink benefactor had found her and edged over her shoulder to smile at her.

“Having fun?” he called over the music.

Trisha nodded. “Thanks again for the drink.”

“Thank me with a dance?” He gently moved her to face him, all the while swaying his hips and standing in place. He didn’t exactly move like Jagger, but Trisha found him attractive. She noticed he also didn’t dress like other men at The Wall, either. In a sea of glam club bunnies and hipsters in hats, this man looked rather suave dressed all in black, save for the skinny gray tie that swung from side to side when he danced. Once they hit a nice groove, she realized she had a fairly good partner in that respect.

Somebody to her side lurched forward, causing a young man at her back to stumble. Trish caught the brunt of his slip and launched into her dance partner’s arms. “Whoa!” he cried, laughing as he draped himself around her.

“You okay? Your shoes slip?”

“No, but thanks.” She looked down and tested her balance on the dance floor.

Her flats proved grippy enough to keep her on the ground without risk of falling. She tried to dislodge herself from his embrace, but the young man had other plans for her.

One large hand cupped her left buttock and squeezed. Trisha didn’t object to the touch, she’d been felt up at the club before, and didn’t think much of a simple ass grab. Friends didn’t even consider that first base anymore. Maybe an intentional walk.

When his hand crept down to play with the hem of her dress, however, she started to feel a bit anxious. Warm, rough fingers scratched and smoothed over her bare rump. Their dancing rhythm slowed immensely, and Trisha wondered who saw her bare ass there in the middle of the crowd.

She felt the softness of her dress shift over her ass again, but it obviously didn’t mean her dance partner had ceased his exploration of her. He held her tightly to his chest, one hand pinned on the small of her back while the other dropped in between them and brushed her thighs. Trisha sighed, her voice quickly absorbed by the loud beat of the music. Her pussy gave an involuntary squeeze, as though anticipating direct contact.

It surprised her to want it so badly. Any other man, any other time might
have attempted this and she would have ripped his arm from its socket. Trisha rarely let her panther strength show in public, but if ever she sensed danger she wasn’t afraid to bare her fangs and put the fear of God into some grabby jerk.

This dark, handsome stranger, however…he seemed different from other guys she’d encountered here. The way he touched her implied he knew what she liked and definitely wanted to give it to her. She couldn’t argue with that, but right here on the dance floor? She wondered exactly how far they could go before somebody noticed, or tried to join in. The sensual energy and heat surrounding them certainly helped her mood.

He leaned close and whispered in her ear. Despite the thumping music vibrating her to the very core, she heard every word clearly.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

NaNo Recap and Other Things

Going into Day Ten of NaNoWriMo, I am almost on track to 50K. I have well over 16K words written, and I still have to make my quota for today. As with last year, I did not officially sign up at the man site. I find when I do that I don't finish. This way, there's less pressure on me and the words come easier. Last year I made goal, so I'm hoping for a repeat.

Also like last year, I'm using the time to work on more than one project. I have two main stories - both of which I had started earlier - and a few smaller works. Here's a rundown of what's in the hopper:

Bittersweet - M/M followup to Taste This, my Samhain work. When I wrote Taste This I had intended to write a follow-up, but a funny thing happened on the way to the laptop. I was still just a writer when Taste This came out. Afterward, I ended up assuming publishing and editing duties at Phaze Books, and that took up the bulk of my free time. Aside from a few projects I managed to publish in that time (mostly shorts), I never got to that sequel. Now that I am a writer again, I finally got the story working. I'm close to 20K on it and hope to stretch at least to 35K, the length of the first story.

Three to Dare - MMF Dareville story. I have several Dareville books plotted out, and since I don't have a full menage story done yet I figured it was time. I'm hoping to get this one to 50K when it's over.

Untitled Lesbian Short - A plot bunny that hopped into my head. I'm only a thousand words into it, but it probably won't go longer than 7K. If I can write enough of these I'll have a nice followup to my She Loves Me collection.

Which reminds me, did you know I'm editing a lesbian erotica anthology for Coming Together? The call was published yesterday, and the deadline is April. Alessia Brio of CT was very kind to greenlight the project when I pitched it to her. Now, you may be thinking why I would want to do something like this when I already have a full plate in front of me. There are a number of reasons.

1) Coming Together does amazing work. Everybody involved has given their talents to help charities. Every bit of profit goes to the causes - nobody else makes money off of it.

2) I wanted to help the organization I chose as the book's beneficiary. I'm on the mailing list of the National Center of Lesbian Rights. They are called that, but they help all LGBT people and families in need of defense of their civil rights. It's heartbreaking to read some of the stories they share, particularly about people who are unable to see their life partners in the hospital because they are not legally recognized as married. I could rant on for a while, but visit their site to see what they're doing.

3) I wanted to do more with lesbian romance. I haven't written one in a while, and I'm getting back into that groove. The ones I have written still sell decently, so that's telling me to write more.

So, away I go to write!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Guest Blog Promo: Prophecy of the Undead by Fiona McGier

Please welcome Fiona McGier to the blog. Her latest release is Prophecy of the Undead!

Keisha is a neurobiology researcher determined to discover the secret to intelligence to save humanity from itself. What she learns leads her to realize a bigger threat comes from beyond the stars. Yuri is a Russian vampire whose long-dead feelings respond to the scientist whose brain he admires but whose curves he can't resist. Will his love reach the places in her heart that she has ignored for so long? And can they defeat the prophecy of the undead to find happiness sharing eternity?


Buy link: http://eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615727988
Note: paperback will become available in a couple of weeks.

*****

Excerpt:


Keisha wakes up to find herself tied up in the trunk of a car, and futilely tries to escape while the men had to walk to a gas station when they ran out of gas. They've returned:

The trunk opened and Keisha closed her eyes, hoping that if she appeared to be still unconscious, they would leave her alone.
She felt the tip of a gun against her cheek as it stroked her face.

“Aw, she’s still out cold. That’s no fun.”

“Just feel her up then let’s get out of here. I’m getting a weird feeling that we’re being watched...”

“By who? There’s no one else out in this God-forsaken...what the fuck?”

Keisha heard a swooshing sound and opened her eyes to see a blur of movement. There was a snarling growl, combined with the yells of real fear, coming from her two tormentors.

“Kill the bitch!.”

She felt the gun stuck into her ribs and held her breath, waiting for death. The gun fired. The bullet tore its way through her skin and chest muscles, burned through her lung, and severed arteries as it lodged in her heart. She found it difficult to let out the breath or to breathe in any more air.

There was the awful sound of breaking bones...then silence.
Someone leaned over into the trunk and lifted her gently out as if she was as light as a child. She felt herself being laid on the ground and fought to breathe as her blood pulsed out of her through the chest wound, soaking her clothes and making them stick to her. Her rescuer tore through the knots that she was unable to budge. She tried to thank him with her last gasps of air.

“Tha...thanks.” She choked on her own blood and her head swam.

“Keisha, look at me,” he commanded in a voice that sounded vaguely familiar, but very distant, as if she was moving far away from him.

She tried to focus her gaze but merely saw the outlines of a man’s torso, with a face barely visible, topped with white hair that shone in the dim moonlight.

“I had hoped to spare you this but I have no other choice now. I can’t lose you...I won’t. You must choose right now, before it’s too late. Do you want to live?”

In her mind she giggled but all that came out of her mouth was a gargling sound.

“Um, yeah...don’t think...option anymore...”

“Yes, it is. But if I do this thing, you will be changed. You will be alive, yet not alive. Are you sure you want me to do this?”

Her head nodded up and down as darkness descended, her vision clouded by the blood that was everywhere now. She drifted off and idly wondered if she was going anywhere or if she was just going to lose consciousness and that would be the end of thought.

Suddenly her mind was invaded by a tall, blond man with an intense look in his eyes that shone with a black fire in their depths.

What are you doing here? I’m busy dying...who are you?

“You are dying but not in the way you expect. What I’m doing is ensuring that you will wake up again tomorrow night. What images would you like me to entertain you with as your body dies?”

She tried to shrug but was unable to move any part of her body.
She felt herself being held by strong arms, with the tiny hairs on her neck standing at full attention while the lips on her neck created a drowsy drugged feeling in her mind.

“How about something erotic?”

Like?

She was suddenly on a downy-soft bed, naked, with a man’s head between her thighs. His tongue was driving her mad with desire as he alternated between licking her from front to back, and nibbling on her clit gently. When his fingers pulled the hood back and his teeth grazed her clit, she screamed with pleasure as the orgasm crashed through her with the force of a tsunami. She rose up off of the bed with the tightening of her muscles. Then the man loomed before her, spread her thighs uncomfortably wide and his hips surged forward. The pleasure she had just felt multiplied as his massive organ pushed its way into her, stretchingher almost beyond comfort. He filled her, then withdrew only to
slam into her again and again. It was almost more than she could bear. She screamed as he came, the force of his orgasm making her spasm with an intensity to match his own.

He growled like a wild animal as he pulsated inside of her.
Her muscles clenched around him. Her orgasms were like a roller coaster of pleasure, pushing her up a hill then crashing her down on the other side.

The last thing she remembered was his voice telling her, "Drink. Drink deeply. Take as much as you can hold. I have emptied you; now, fill yourself with me."

I’m already filled with you. Her thoughts were her own but inexplicably she felt his chest move as he chuckled. Everything went black and she drifted off into nothingness.

*****

Fiona has always had stories in her head, with characters telling her about their lives. Often she wakes up with entire story arcs that she has to feverishly write down before starting her day. Now that her four children are erudite young adults, she hides from everyone for hours, bringing the stories to life. She hopes that you enjoy your short trip into her mind as you meet some of the heroines and heroes who live there, and now on these pages also. If you want to read more, she has a series of six contemporary romance books about the members of a large Hispanic family, The Reyes Family Romances. She also wrote two books about female spies who work for a top-secret international agency, as well as two stand-alone contemporary romances. Visit her at: www.fionamcgier.com, where the first page is her blog.

http://www.manicreaders.com/FionaEMcGier/
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003J8QJGE

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cover Reveal: Pure Bliss


Finally, a cover for the follow-up to Sheer Bliss! Pure Bliss will be available through the regular eBook stores soon. In the meantime, it's off to finish Bittersweet (follow-up to Taste This) and Three to Dare (MMF menage, Dareville), and to revamp Under Covers for re-release. Going to be a busy November.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat - and a Treat for You

Yes, I have sucked at blogging lately, but I do have a good excuse. About two weeks ago, on the day I was to have left for the Newark Rush concert, I came down with severe abdominal pains. I had thought nothing of it at first, because I had suffered a few gallbladder attacks over the summer. I just figured I needed to alter my diet and I'd be okay. So I started eating better and the pain went away. Cool. Then one weekend I had a sandwich and the pain flared up again, and didn't stop all week. By that Friday, the 19th, I was doubled over in pain as I drove to the ER. I love Rush, but I'm not about to die for them.

Long story short, I checked in around 11 and left the next morning. Gallbladder had to come out. Surgeon said it was the worst one she'd ever seen. Glad nobody's ever said that about one of my books - to my face, anyway. So for the last ten days or so I've been in a fog. I'm tempted to be Dr. House for Halloween because I have the necessary props - the Vicodin, the scowl - but I think I'll just take the kid out for trick and treat and go to bed early.

Now, this period hasn't been all bad. I did manage to finish a novella which I plan to submit soon, and I'm 7k into the sequel to Taste This, finally! I look forward to working on that and another piece while I do other things. For Halloween, I'm giving away M-SQUARED via AllRomance for free until Friday only! Go get it while you can, it goes back to regular price Saturday. I heard from the narrator doing the audio book, it's coming along. Can't wait to share it.

For now, it's back to the grind. I hope to have good news soon.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Backlist Blog Hop

Happy Friday everybody! If you have come here via the Back List Blog Hop I welcome you. This particular hop was designed to introduce new readers to authors' back lists. I have a fairly decent one - about 30+ stories and longer works. Many are part of series, like the one picture here. Truth or Dare was my first erotic romance, and I have been writing the genre for eight years now.

Why should you read my books? I like to believe I have a knack for creating likable characters (a few lickable ones, too) and smart dialogue. I try to inject a sense of place in the stories I write, and engage couples (triples, etc.) in some spicy entanglements. Of course, I'd like to do this full time one day, and sales do help. :-)

You will find most of my works in eBook, via Kindle, Nook, and All Romance. I was published in eBook before it was cool, and I hope to offer more to readers soon. In the meantime, look for me on Twitter @LeighEllwood. Make sure I get back to work.

Don't forget to visit the other authors in today's hop!



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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Now in Audio - Murder Most Trivial

I apologize for having dropped off the face of the blog. I have not been well lately. I'll spare you my recent adventures in the emergency room, but will say that I am doing better and am making a conscious effort to stay well. In the meantime, I've been busy. I just completed a book on the Kathryn side which will be coming out soon. I'm releasing a short as Kathryn to help promote it. In the middle, which I call LK Ellwood, I have a new audio book.

Murder Most Trivial is one of my early mysteries. It is the longest book I have in audio right now, and one I had hoped to turn into a series. I say that about every book I write, though. This one, though - I enjoyed the characters and wanted to do more with them. I just may in a reboot. Why not? Everything is being rebooted these days. No reason why I can't do it.

If you join Audible, you can get the audiobook at a good price. I'm still waiting for the final of She Loves Me, and I have more audio coming. It's fun to hear others read your works.

As for writing, I expect to be finished with Pure Bliss soon and will see if I can place that somewhere. I also will receive the rights back to Under Covers, and I am going to totally revamp and lengthen it. I have so many ideas. I also have to finish Bittersweet, the sequel to Taste This, and the next Dareville book. I find I do better when I get down to writing and not worrying about the world around me. Focus, coffee, dreams. And chocolate. They help.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Coming Soon - Passionate Cooks


I'm happy to announce that I have been selected as a featured author in the upcoming Passionate Cooks cookbook, coming this fall from AllRomance! This is a free cookbook with recipes by over 100 authors, and my contribution is a homemade pizza roll appetizer - something I make for a lighter alternative to Totino's. I'm looking forward to seeing the entire book, and I hope to be featured on AReCafe with my story about the recipe.

Will post the link when the book is ready. :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Turning Stories into Stories by Lucy Felthouse

Me Want Food welcomes Lucy Felthouse!

Firstly, I want to say thank you to Leigh for having me on her blog – thanks!

So, turning stories into stories is the topic of this post. I'm a very nosey person—I admit it. I like to know what's going on, I ask people lots of questions and I eavesdrop on conversations. I also encourage people to tell me stories—true ones, though. Why? Because they often provide the best inspiration for turning into erotic stories.

My latest release, Ditched, is a good example of this. I have a friend who fairly recently left the British Army, and although he'd never tell me anything classified, despite how much I pestered him, he often gave me snippets about what life was like, what sort of things happened day to day, and so on. One particular story he told me was about when he and a fellow soldier were on exercise on Salisbury Plain. Somehow they screwed up timings and ended up waiting for their pick up way earlier than needed. Then the weather turned shitty, and they had to shelter in a ditch.

A fairly interesting tale all by itself, especially if you love hearing that kind of thing, like I do. But I took it and stored it in the back of my mind until I decided to write my first gay story. For some reason, that snippet surfaced and I turned the incident into something utterly different. The basis is the same, of course, but I added two fictional colleagues who happened to be bisexual and threw them into a heated situation which ended up turning into something even more heated ;)

So, there you have it. Turning a story into a story. I give people I talk to fair warning—anything you may say may be turned into an erotic story. I don't want any complaints ;)

*****

Private Damien Stone is living in a nightmare. He’s out on exercise on Salisbury Plain with Lance Corporal Michael Scott—who also happens to be a huge pain in the arse. He’s a teacher’s pet who seems to delight in bossing Stone around. But that’s not the real reason Stone appears to dislike him so much. It’s because Stone—who’s bisexual—is seriously attracted to his superior, but he can’t do anything about it, because Scott is straight. Or is he?

Buy links: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/ditched/

*****

Excerpt:

“This can’t be fucking right!” said Lance Corporal Michael Scott, checking his map for the umpteenth time.

“I can assure you, Scott, that it fucking is,” responded his colleague, Private Damien Stone. He nudged the other man, pointed to a place on his own map, then raised his arm and indicated a rise in the ground in the near distance.

“See, that’s that long barrow, so we are in the right place.”

Looking at the barrow—one of the many on Salisbury Plain—then down at the map, and finally at his compass, Scott had to agree.

“So where the fuck are they, then?”

Stone had no answer for that one. He looked up into the lightening sky, which in the distance was being slowly tinged with pink, but saw no sign of their pick-up helicopter. Straining to hear even the faintest sound of rotor blades, Stone remained silent. Hearing nothing, he shrugged.

“Dunno. Perhaps we got the time wrong, or something?”

“I hope not, otherwise they’ve gone without us!”

“Nah. We’re early, if anything. The sun’s only just coming up.”

Sighing, Scott stuffed his map and compass into a pocket, and said, “Well, I guess we’d better find somewhere to shelter. I don’t like the look of that.”

The that he was talking about was an ominous-looking black cloud being buffeted in their direction by the wind, which was picking up rapidly.

“With you on that one.”

On an unspoken command, the two of them immediately split up and started to look around for somewhere they could keep out of the wind and imminent rain. It wasn’t long before Scott shouted out, and Stone immediately turned and headed in the direction of his colleague’s voice.

When Stone arrived, Scott had already removed his backpack and dropped it into the ditch he’d found and was striding down the slope to join it. Luckily, there’d been no rain over the past few days so the ground was dry. If the coming rainstorm ended up being heavy, it was entirely possible they’d get wet arses, but for now at least they’d be reasonably comfortable.

Following his colleague’s example, Stone shrugged off his pack. Turning, he saw that Scott was standing with his arms out, ready to catch it. Tossing it, he gave a curt nod of thanks before heading down into the ditch.

Once there, he saw that some scrub covered a couple of sizeable rocks, meaning that they would at least be able to sit down. It would have to rain pretty damn hard for the water level in the ditch to get as high as the top of the rocks, so they’d be all right until the chopper arrived.

He hoped.

Buy links: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/ditched/

*****


Lucy is a graduate of the University of Derby, where she studied Creative Writing. During her first year, she was dared to write an erotic story - so she did. It went down a storm and she's never looked back. Lucy has had stories published by Cleis Press, Constable and Robinson, Decadent Publishing, Ellora's Cave, Evernight Publishing, House of Erotica, Ravenous Romance, Resplendence Publishing, Sweetmeats Press and Xcite Books. She is also the editor of Uniform Behaviour, Seducing the Myth, Smut by the Sea and Smut in the City. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Coupon Score - Hot Stuff

Had a great score last Sunday with the new coupons in from the newspaper. With Harris Teeter still on their Mega-Double special, I was able to get the following:

1 small bottle of Tabasco - originally $1.85, had a $1 off coupon which doubled, so I got the bottle free.

2 boxes of Who Nu? cookies (like Oreos, but purportedly fortified with fiber) - originally $3.85 a box, but there was a 2/$4 sale. Has a $1 off coupon which doubled, so I got 2 boxes for $2, or $1 box.

I've decided if I'm able to score a deal with boxed or canned goods, I'm going to put half the bounty in a bag to give to my church's food drive. I have one bag filled to send over next Sunday. They like pastas and sauces, soups and cereals, which can be cheap if you know when to shop. We'll see how I fare next week.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What I'm Reading

I checked out Redshirts based on its interesting premise. A group of new recruits to a starship have figured out that being a new ensign on the Intrepid is akin to being part of an endangered species. I'm about halfway through it - it's like Galaxy Quest meets The Truman Show and is pretty intriguing so far. Will have to see how the rest of it pans out.

I pledged through Goodreads to read 100 books this year, and I have about 40 to go. This last week I read the following:

Clockwork Angels: The Novel by Kevin J. Anderson - 2 1/2 stars (full review at Books That Rock Us)

Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox by Lois Banner - 2 stars (third Marilyn Monroe bio I've read)

The Magic Christian by Terry Southern - 2 stars (nothing like the movie)

It may not seem like I had a successful outing, but I found something to enjoy in each of these books read. I have a trip coming up which will leave me plenty of time to read some more and knock out more slots in the TBR.







Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fun With Coupons

Today I'm hitting Harris Teeter with a load of $1.00 off coupons - they are holding a double special, and I find I can stock up on good pantry staples. It's usually a good time to pick up that extra jar of Nutella and a few packs of MIO liquid, which I go through like water (heh). Since I plan to cook more at home this fall, things like soup starters and pasta are good to have in a pinch, too.

Update: Word of warning if you walk to a register with a stack of coupons - watch the monitor to make sure every last one is scanned. The girl at my checkout - bless her heart, she may have been new - scanned two that didn't take, and when I pointed it out she didn't do anything. I could have been a bitch about it, but I should feel lucky to be in a position where I don't have to haggle over a few dollars. Still, for some it could make a difference, so keep an eye out.

This trip, I double a Dove chocolate coupon and a Milky Way coupon to get some cheap candy - 39 cents a bar after it worked out. I got half a gallon of Silk Fruit and Protein drink for 99 cents, and a crock of Country Crock mashed potatoes for 99 cents. In the end, though, I didn't save more than half on the groceries like I normally do, but I did buy items for which I didn't have coupons.

Next week is a big sale on dinner prep mixes. That should be fun. :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Audiobook Release - The Dares That Bind

At long last, the audio version of The Dares That Bind, narrated by Lil Tulip, is available on Audible. Other retailers will be live soon, but you can download the Audible version here.

The Dares That Bind is the first BDSM romance in the Dareville universe, and so far my only true kink title. It's one of my personal favorites in my catalog, and I've hoped to bring Alton and Spring into another story. If I ever get Dare Devils written and sent off, you will definitely meet them again.

Anyway, here's the blurb. The eBook is still on sale, too.

Victoria Robeson is content to live at home and work her dead-end job, despite dealing with her overbearing mother, just as long as she has time to write. When she meets the handsome and mysterious Alton Weiss as Dareville prepares for Brady Garriston's big concert, Vic is unnerved and intrigued by how well he knows her personality and desires.

Alton introduces her to a world of sensuality and submission, encouraging her to become a new woman. But is Alton merely a weekend distraction, or the promise of a better life?

In other audio news, She Loves Me is still in the works, and auditions have come in for The Healing and Jilted. Now to make sure I get some hot covers done!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Memory of Those We Lost


Photo: Wikipedia by Kim Carpenter

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Release! Rock Til You Drop

Rock Til You DropI am pleased to announce that the second Lerxst book (by my alter ego) is now available in eBook format! Print is coming soon, hopefully in time for Collingswood. Just a reminder, if you bought Dead Barchetta, this is the sequel to that book. Rock Deadly, the revised first book in the series, is still free in eBook format. It's like getting two books for one price!

BUY NOW!

Kindle ~ Smashwords ~ Kobo ~ OmniLit (Nook and Google Play soon)

Just when Matt "Lerxst" Johnston has settled back into a normal routine of strumming chords and squabbling with family, something happens to once again turn his life upside down. Betrayed by his best friends, Lerxst seeks to rebuild his tribute band Dead Barchetta and his career, but murder stalls his plans.

Though he swore never to get involved in another mystery, everybody wants his help to find the killer. Once again, Lerxst sets aside his ES-335 and searches for clues to catch a murderer before another unsuspecting victim faces the music.

~*~

Excerpt (c) Kathryn Lively

A familiar mop of light hair bobbed in the front door window. Jack Kline played drums in our Rush/Grateful Dead tribute band, Dead Barchetta, and was also a partner in the music studio I co-owned with our bassist. Why he picked this formal route baffled me; he’d spent most of his life barging into our home unannounced. “Come on in,” I invited him, but he hung back and shook his head.

“I need to talk to you for a second,” he said, hands in jacket pockets and bouncing on his heels. “I know you have a full house tonight, and I’d rather not be heard by anybody else.”

Que? Jack looked shifty and nervous, like he had a dead body stuffed in the cab of his truck. I’d seen enough of those this year. “Sure,” I said, and closed the front door for good measure. “Let’s talk.” I gestured to the stoop and sat down next to him.

Jack wouldn’t look at me. He fixed on a spot of gravel on the pathway leading to the house. “Joel and I have been talking,” he said, referring to our third musketeer, “and we’re sort of on the same wavelength about a lot of things. The band, the business, stuff like that.”

“Okay, what about them?” I couldn’t follow if I didn’t know where to turn. Business peaked for us now, with enrollment for music lessons higher than it had been in years. As far as the band went, we were in the envious position of turning away offers for gigs because we nearly had a full calendar. I’d like to think that many local venues finally came to acknowledge the genius of my three favorite Canadian musicians and our ability to emulate them so well, but surely my recent celebrity played a part in the uptick of offerings. Few locally based musicians could claim to have escaped certain death in a situation worthy of a TV movie.

Not that I play up the fact for my benefit. I’m happy to have my life return to the bizarre level of normal to which I’m accustomed.

Jack seemed to struggle for words. He wrung his hands and sighed a lot. Whatever he had to say, he probably expected me to explode. It worried me, to be honest. Business was good, but we were by no means millionaires. In this questionable economy, we all knew parents viewed music lessons as a luxury more than a necessity, so we were prepared for a sudden downturn any time. It hadn’t happened yet, but the look on Jack’s face had me thinking of other disastrous scenarios.

“Jack, what is it?” I asked. “Is there a problem with the studio? Do you need money?” Please say no, I thought. Instant wealth didn’t come with the type of celebrity I’d earned.

He shook his head. “It’s not easy for me to say. I’ve known you forever.” His eyes glassed over, scaring me shitless now. This sounded more like an “I have cancer and it’s terminal” announcement.

“Lerxst,” he said, “Joel and I want to take the band in a different direction.”

“Oh.” This necessitated tears? “What does that mean, less Dead and more Barchetta or the other way around?” Our last few gigs had us doing more from our Grateful Dead playlist—not our strength, but we play what the person writing the check wants.

“It means less of both and more of...well, Jack and Joel,” Jack said. “We’ve been working on some original songs, and they’re good. They should be heard.”

“Okay.” I had to admit it sort of hurt to think my two band mates were writing songs without my knowledge. It’s no secret I prefer to play than compose, but I’m sure I could have offered some input on writing the music I’d eventually play. “Well, I’ve never had a problem with that. You know me, I’m always up for whatever you two want to try out. So, you want to bring some of these songs to our next rehearsal?”

Jack sighed again. Any minute, I expected him to slap the back of his hand against his forehead and emit a woeful wail. What the hell?

“We were thinking, Lerxst, of playing them ourselves. In our own band, independent of Dead Barchetta. In fact, we want to leave the group.”

The pound cake I’d eaten churned with the bile in my stomach and threatened to resurface. “Go on hiatus, or just go?”

Jack only looked at me. I wanted to believe I didn’t hear him right, because truthfully this conversation made little sense. Only last weekend we’d played to a packed crowd at an Oceanfront club, and Jack and Joel had neither said nor did anything to indicate they were unhappy with me or the band. I couldn’t figure this out at all.

“Why?” I wanted to know. “It sounds like you want me out of the picture altogether. What the fuck did I do to you guys to deserve this?”

“Lerxst, it’s not you. It’s us.”

“Jesus H.—”

“You’re not making this easy on me. Neither of you are.” Jack shot up and paced the gravel walkway. “Joel was supposed to come with me, but he chickened out. Said he thought it’d hurt less with just one of us here, and I’ve known you longer.”

Yes, I was supposed to feel bad for Jack because he drew the short straw and had to come alone to wrench a knife in my heart. “It was my idea to form a band,” I told him, trying to keep my voice from cracking, “and now you’re dumping me for no reason.”

“It’s not like that, guy. You got a good thing going with Diane now, and you’re going to want to see more of her. That means more trips to Jersey—”

“Which has not interfered with my work or the band,” I was quick to point out. “She is not a Yoko, so don’t even think of pegging her like that.”

“I never said she was, Lerxst. I like Diane, she’s great for you. Me,” Jack rocked on his heels again, eyes skyward and blinking away tears, “I want something like that, too. I don’t think I’m going to get it playing Rush songs fifteen to twenty nights a month.”

“Jack, I don’t care what we perform onstage. I do this because I love the band and you and Joel are my closest friends.” I stood now. I wanted to shake some sense into my friend. “I don’t understand why you feel it’s necessary to eject me from the group or leave it, whatever. The quality of my guitar playing hasn’t declined...is this because of what happened earlier this year?” Seriously, I didn’t ask to become involved in a cult-directed murder-suicide. At least it ended well for me, until this point.

“That’s not the issue. I’m glad you found your dad and sister and all that. We’ve just grown apart and want to do something else.”

“Grown apart? Fuck, Jack!” He looked genuinely frightened by how my voice carried in the night, but I didn’t care. Let them hear me in Williamsburg—I wanted the world to know how my heart broke to hear this.

I did oblige him by adding more softly, “If you’re leaving the group, I’m keeping the name. I came up with it, and you have no business using it if you’re not doing Rush covers.”

“That’s fine, man. We were going to let you have it.”

Well, fuck you very much for tossing me that bone, I almost said.

Jack reached into his jacket for a large manila envelope, which he handed to me. Inside I found a thick sheaf of papers and a check made out to me for twenty-five thousand dollars. “What the hell?” I cried, and thumbed through the thick contract of legalese. My heart numbed with every sentence I read.

They wanted to buy my share of the business. The fuckers might as well have sat shivah for me; they obviously considered me dead to them.

“You’ll find that’s a fair amount,” Jack was saying. “It covers your share of the studio and the equipment. Also, the PA system and all shared rigs. We…” he faltered and continued after swallowing, “we figured we could use them more quickly.”

“I don’t believe this.” I flipped to the end of the dissolution agreement and saw that Jack and Joel had already signed it. “You’re taking all the equipment and leaving me with nothing?”

“You’re getting twenty-five grand, Lerxst. It’s not like we’re taking your stuff away. You have plenty there to start over.”

I didn’t want to start over! I was happy with the status quo. “How long have you two been planning this?” I asked.

Jack looked down. “For a while now. You’ve been so busy with Diane lately, I don’t blame you if you haven’t noticed.”

“I notice plenty, Jack. You and Joel really know how to keep things quiet.” I rolled up the sheaf and batted it into my hand. “So, what? You found another guitar teacher? You’re going to take my students, too?” I’ve had some kids coming to me for lessons since they literally learned to walk. What were they going to think when they showed up at the studio to find a stranger in my chair?

“We’re going to let people know to call you if they still want lessons from you, Lerxst. We’re not trying to ruin your livelihood, we’re just...we’re making some changes.”

“Funny way of showing it. I still have some personal effects at the studio,” I said, thanking Ged I hadn’t left behind my Alex Lifeson signature ES-355. “Can I least come by tomorrow and pack up?”

“Uh, you know,” he scratched behind his ear, “we can drop it off later...”

“Fine. You know what? Fuck you, and fuck Joel. Both of you, up the ass with red hot pokers by a Dominatrix with bad eyesight. Give me a pen.” Of course he’d have one at the ready, and when he pulled it from his jeans pocket I snatched it and signed the damn thing on a raised thigh. Shoving the check in my pocket, I threw the agreement at Jack and turned without saying goodbye. Jack, my best friend since elementary school, wanted nothing more to do with me, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why. I didn’t see the sense in asking again, or saying anything more.

“Lerxst?” he called after me, but I kept walking.

“Matt?” he tried again. I couldn’t remember the last time he used my given name. Just as well he went back to using it. Everybody calls me Lerxst, except for strangers who don’t know any better.

I pulled the front door behind me so hard the foundation rattled. It did the trick, though. I couldn’t hear Jack’s voice anymore.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Labor Day Blog Hop - Your Chance to Win Books

Happy Labor Day to all my US friends! Here's hoping you got a day off to celebrate - I have Monday to relax before school starts the next day, which gives me time to chat on the blog if anybody is around!

Don't forget, if you're interested in a Rafflecopter giveaway
, click on the link to enter.

If you've come here from the blog hop, welcome! I'm happy to announce I do have some recent works that may interest you:
  • Why, Why, Zed?, M/M erotic romance, is now available in audio.
  • Dare to Act, an M/M romance, is available via Kindle.
If you're looking for more to read, check out my entire backlist

If you leave a comment below with your favorite Labor Day activity, I'll put you in a drawing to win a $10 gift credit to All Romance! Good luck!







Thursday, August 30, 2012

Now in Audio - M/M Erotica Why, Why, Zed?

I'm pleased to announce that my latest audiobook, Why, Why, Zed?, is now available through Audible. Here's the blurb:

A cryptic phone call to Cameron “Zed” Zedmore’s cell reveals a plot to steal away Zed’s live-in love, Nick. Devestating the thought of infidelity is, Zed realizes he can’t blame Nick for being tempted to stray, as Zed’s work has kept him in the lab, and out of their bed, for long hours.

Nick loves Zed, but isn’t crazy about being a “house husband” anymore. He has needs Zed won’t meet, and when another friend offers help in that department, Nick is tempted to accept. But then Zed comes home early…

Why, Why, Zed is still at Phaze in eBook format, too. This is my first M/M story to go to audio, and I have recently contracted M-Squared. I really enjoyed the narrator's voice on Zed, and hope to get him to do another story in the future. For now, hope you like this one.