Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pre-Order Odd, M/M Contemporary Erotic Short

I am pleased to announce that ODD, my story with the All Romance Perfect Strangers series, is now available for pre-order! This is an exclusive download through ARe, only $1.99.

Click here to order.
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Opposites do attract...hard and fast.

Greg Hargrove has a ticket to the hottest party in town: Drew Bradley's annual Odd Ball. Dressed for the theme as one half of a popular sitcom duo, Greg doesn't expect to meet his match and engage in a secret night of passion while the festivities rage on. When handsome Rick Wade falls on his radar, however, Greg decides to partake of more explicit party favors.

Is Rick more than a one-night stand, though, or can Greg look forward to many passion-filled reruns?

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Excerpt

In the ten years Drew Bradley hosted his annual Odd Ball, people knew to expect two events: sometime toward the end of the evening Drew would lose his pants, and the two winners of the Best Oscar and Best Felix costume awards would immediately hook up afterward and live happily ever after. That many of the happy couples continued to come to the big party as their chosen television personas stood testament to their host’s impeccable matchmaking—and entertaining—skills.

Greg Hargrove personally didn’t care if either happened on his watch. After years of watching siblings primp and prepare for the biggest bash in town, he’d finally reached the requisite legal drinking age and could now attend. Though he’d never seen the television show that inspired the theme of the party, he’d gleaned enough by living vicariously through older friends—and researching YouTube clips—to know the score.

On November fourteenth, Felix Unger was asked to leave his apartment. This request came from his wife...

There was more to the prologue, he knew, but in his excitement Greg thought himself fortunate to recall his own name, much less those of characters from a TV show that ceased airing first run episodes long before he was a “glint in the mailman’s eye,” as his brothers liked to tease.

Greg adjusted his Yankees ball cap and smoothed a hand over his three-day-old stubble. It itched like hell, but he wanted to shoot for realism even if he didn’t win the grand costume prize. Would be nice, though, since neither of his older brothers had won before, and Greg had heard Drew didn’t skimp on the goods. Last year’s couple, he’d been told, won matching gold watches. At the front door of Drew’s McMansion of a home, a wiry, unsmiling man with a long nose looked down at Greg over his John Lennon glasses. “Your invitation?” He held out a pale, almost wrinkleless palm.

“Sure.” Greg surrendered the requisite card given to him by his brother Joe, who couldn’t make it this time. Joe hadn’t kidded him when he warned about the exclusivity of the event. What the hell went on here that required protection against crashers?

The butler-bouncer, for lack of a better description, peered down at the invitation for a long moment, as though determining its authenticity. Then, curling it in his bony hand, he addressed Greg. “You may access all designated party rooms with the exception of the VIP area, and you must stay in character. How everyone behaves throughout the evening will determine the final judging for the contest.”

“Got it.” Damn, people sure took this party seriously. At least, going as slovenly Oscar rather than uptight Felix, Greg believed he could blend in easily. Acting like a slob came naturally to him anyway.

“Good.” The man startled Greg with a warm smile that completely softened the landscape of his face. “Enjoy yourself.”

Greg passed through a wide foyer of gilt-framed mirrors and Queen Anne occasional tables to reach the main party area. Drew Bradley certainly didn’t hide his wealth, and Greg wondered how the guy came into his money. According to rumors, he’d either inherited it or invested wisely in the early days of Internet IPOs. Either way, the guy was apparently loaded.

On seeing the vast living room filled with partygoers, Greg realized the host didn’t spare any expense for this gig, either.

A shorter, blond Felix, crisp and clean in pleated beige slacks, white Oxford, and a green sweater vest, approached from the left and offered a can of Schlitz.

“You’re new,” he said. It wasn’t a question.

Greg nodded. “Yeah, I just got in,” he said, his attention still drawn to the room. A thick white line divided the space, half the room appointed with elegant antiques and servers bearing silver trays of fancy hors d’oeuvres. A string trio played in one corner. Not a speck on the carpet.

The other side, by contrast, looked as if a tornado had hit. Junky couches peppered with tortilla shards crowded the space, and plastic bowls of pretzels and chips sat everywhere. No coasters under cans, no napkins. A group of Oscars gathered around a flat screen television, watching a hockey match.

Amid the activity, though, Greg did notice how the guests crossed the line to interact with each other. A female Felix turned up her nose as her Oscar companion offered her a bite of a dripping sandwich, while a Chinese Oscar got his hand slapped when he tried to touch a vase on the Felix side.

Greg’s new Felix friend chuckled. “No, I meant you’re new here, period. I’ve been coming to this party since the very first year. I would have remembered you.”

“Oh?” Greg finally turned to see how handsome his companion looked despite the stuffy demeanor. This Felix stood straight, a good head shorter than Greg, and possessed a serene quality he usually found attractive. Greg liked his men slim and tended to favor twinks, though he’d not before considered anybody older. If what this man said was true, he had at least six to ten years on Greg. The Odd Ball admission required guests to be at least twenty-one.

Greg folded his arms and regarded the Poindexter. “What makes you think you could single me out?” he challenged.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Authors After Dark Needs a Social Media Liaison

I have had the pleasure of attending the first three Authors After Dark conferences. Sadly, I had to pass this year due to other travel commitments, but hopefully I'll get to the 2013 event. In the meantime, I think it's an event worth attending, especially if you are a reader and not necessarily an author. It's small, on purpose, and there's always something fun happening. Stella Price, who organizes the event, is in need of help, so I have posted her call below.

This looks like an opportunity for somebody looking for an internship related to publishing or marketing.

Hey everyone! Just putting this out there! AAD is going to be going through some INSANE planning in the next few weeks, Planning for Scheduling, parties and OMG the awesome that is the goodies. So we are getting our ducks in a row here and realized we need someone to fill a position that has become to big for Stella to manage on her own. Please read on and if your interested, we look forward to hearing from you!


Wanted: Social Media and Media Liaison for Authors After Dark

As AAD grows by literally leaps and bounds, we are now in need of a media liaison that will allow Stella to focus on the con, while ensuring her things are not going awry.

Duties to include but not limited to:
  • Updating Twitter both before and during the convention
  • Monitoring the forum for questions and new attendees
  • Monitoring the blog for questions and comments
  • Re-tweeting info about AAD
  • Tweeting AAD Featured Author Spotlights and posting summary of spotlights to AAD blog monthly
  • Monitoring AAD Facebook Page for questions and comments
  • Fielding requests for interviews for staff
  • Correspondence with TV/ Radio for city we are in
  • Correspondence with specialty groups and events
  • Liaison to visiting media at the convention proper
  • Working with Hotel to ensure visiting media is taken care of
  • Working with host city CVB for leads and scheduling
  • On-site escort and liaison for visiting media during the Authors After Dark Convention
Applicants must have a sunny disposition, good people, organizational and networking skills and above all, TIME to devote to this. This is a full time endeavor, and the applicant must be online often to work this.

Applicant will work closely with Stella through the year till August, and at the con will be in charge of the visiting media (host city TV/ Radio/ Print). Applicant will be the face of Authors After Dark’s PR department for the next 2 years (NOLA and SAVANNAH).

Compensation: Perks package negotiable. AAD is non profit and no monetary compensation will change hands. Present your wish list for compensation during application.

All interested applicants: Letter of intent, including experience, hours online a day, number of hours a week you can devote to this endeavor, any pertinent credentials and compensation package.

Position starts Feb 20th and runs till the end of Savannah 2013’s Event.

All applicants will be reviewed ASAP and a decision will be made soon after.

Contact: Stella Price- blueflamesabove@yahoo.com before Feb 3rd.


Thanks guys, and please, spread the word!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

30 Things About Me, Part One

I noticed the other day that #30ThingsAboutMe is trending on Twitter, and decided rather than clog up Twitter feeds with constant tagged updates, I would post my 30 things right here. Because I am feeling light on the brain right now, I'll post the 30 things in three installments - here is part one.

In no particular order:

1) Leigh Ellwood is obviously my pen name. The name is derived from the names of two musicians from Rush: Geddy Lee (Leigh) and Neil Ellwood Peart.

2) Before I published my first erotic romance in 2004, I published an inspirational novel in 2001. That book, written under my real name, went out of print but I released it as a self-pubbed title. It's actually selling better now than it did ten years ago.

3) I dropped out of grad school. To this day I consider it one of the three dumbest things I ever did.

4) I live within walking distance of the bay, but we go to the beach on average once a year.

5) I don't have any pets, but I think I'd like one somebody. This would require living in a house that I own.

6) I use my iPad mainly to read eBooks, and I use the Kindle app most often.

7) I am currently 25k into my latest work in progress.

8) I presently have one manuscript out to a publisher for consideration.

9) I've made a goal once again this year to lose weight. I know, I do it every year, but I've seen myself in the mirror too often this year and don't feel happy about how I look. I can sulk or I can change, so we'll try the latter and see what happens.

10) I am contemplating a life change that involves a bold career move. I would love to write full-time, and I feel I am close to seeing that happen.

I promise, Part Two will be more interesting.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fore!

It appears that sports-related romances are now in vogue. As I look through Twitter, I notice a number of authors I follow are working on various stories with a sports theme. Bull riding is quite popular, as are race car driving and hockey. I do not have any sports-themed stories myself, but have considered it. Golf, for one, could be a good sport background for a romance story - one of the first Harlequin romances I had featured a heroine who was a pro golfer. Why not another story?

It's been a while since I played myself, mainly because I am left handed and it's a challenge finding a good set of golf clubs. This is not to say it's impossible - I do have a nice set, and maybe when the weather gets warmer I'll head out to the driving range and get some hitting time. I prefer hitting with my golf drivers rather than the wedges, though. It's nice to see a good arc on the ball and know I have the potential to hit well. There are a few good courses around Virginia - it's just a matter of finding the time to get in some practice.

I may find, too, that the experience could give me the idea for a good romance. Perhaps a heroine, given a set of golf clubs, meets a handsome instructor for private lessons? It could happen, I suppose. ;-)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Setting Up Utilities

Contribution by Saul Martin

Moving into new bigger house seems so good in theory. Then the actually packing begins and you start to wonder what in the world you were thinking. Your old house starts to feel so nice and big enough because it would be so nice to just swipe your to-do list clean and not have to pack up a thing. We will be moving in to our new house on Saturday and I am already swearing that we will never move again. This next house has to be our forever home because I don't think I could do this again! The unpacking is usually a little easier because you are excited about making your new house look good and be functional. And nothing beats that first night in your new house when you end up exhausted from a day of moving, eating pizza on paper plates, and sleeping on a mattress on the floor. One thing I almost completely forgot to do was set up utilities for the new house. Can you imagine moving all that furniture with no lights or air conditioner? I did get everything turned on and I even signed up for wildblue satellite internet. I am so excited but ready for this to all be done!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

If you follow this blog, and by extension my writing career, you know that I have published primarily with smaller, digital houses and have dabbled in self/indie publishing - however you wish to term it. With the completion of my latest project, the M/M novel tentatively titled Act Daring, I have decided to explore other options. A full manuscript was requested at the beginning of the month, this after fifteen days of waiting while the three-chapter sample was out. So, technically, I am at the one-month mark of waiting for a definite answer.

If you are an author, you know that waiting stinks. Sometimes the anxiety gets the better of you and you have trouble concentrating on the next WIP. I am especially nervous, because I feel the fate of Act Daring (or it could become Acts of Daring, we'll soon know) could mark a new direction in my writing. This is the first true full-length M/M novel I have written - all previous manlove efforts are novella or shorter - and once I have this book secured I will know whether or not I should continue with the genre. Oh, I will likely write M/M in the future - but will I use my time to devote to longer works in general or write until the story reaches a conclusion...no matter the length? So much to think about in 2012.

Right now, though, I'm thinking about Act Daring and wondering what the editor thinks of it. How much has he/she read? Does he/she like it? When can I expect to hear a yes or no? I've forgotten how much of a toll the wait puts on you. I am trying my damnedest to keep writing in the meantime, and I have the release of Odd on Feb. 7th to keep me busy as well. For the authors who aren't able to do anything else, how do you help along the wait? Here are a few things I have tried lately to take my mind off the coming call/reject:

1) Read more. I'm close to ten books into my 100 pledged for the year.
2) Angry Birds. Curse whoever invented this.
3) Walking. I needed to do this anyway. Walking is great for easing frustration.
4) Cooking. I've dusted off some cookbooks and am getting back into making dinner for everybody.
5) Movies. I have Sense and Sensibility  on my Amazon cloud player. When I'm really feeling down I set it to Alan Rickman's entrance and go from there. I could almost do Rocky Horror lines to this movie now.
6) Shopping therapy. Lot of dangerous eCommerce sites out there. Want a Dr. Who t-shirt? I have plenty.
7) Pinterest. Online crack.
8) Sleep. When I can get it.

How do you wait out a submission? I could use some more ideas.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Authors After Dark Reading Challenge

I am sad to miss the 2012 Authors After Dark conference. Having attended the first three, I have to tell you that it's an event you should attend at least once if you love the romance genre. AAD is an intimate conference, and mixing with authors and readers is so much easier to do here than at other events I've attended. I like that AAD travels annually, but as I have committed to three personal trips this year - to Florida, Germany, and California - I decided that I needed to curb my conference trips for 2012 to save money.

Hopefully in 2013 I can attend again, but for now I'll be there in spirit through the AAD Reading Challenge. It occurred to me that while I've been to AAD and have read many attending authors' books, I don't read much paranormal or other genres repped there. Since I've committed to reading 100 books this year, I pledge to make some of them from attending AAD authors.

Anyway, here are the details of the reading challenge. I will post my reviews on my Goodreads account (the active one under my real name) and link back here. I haven't chosen the books yet, but here are some of the authors I'll try. If you want to recommend a title, please comment!

Joey W. Hill
Abigail Barnette
Gayle Donnelly
Pearl Love
Arianna Skye
Trinity Blacio
Cat Grant
Robyn Mackenzie
Damon Suede
Boone Brux
Bronwyn Green
Lissa Matthews
Sandy Sullivan
Stephanie Burke
Tilly Greene
T.J. Michaels
Julia Talbot
Anne Cain
Megan Grooms
Lacie Nation
B.A. Tortuga
Melanie Card
Kayleigh Jamison
Kris Norris
Mia Watts
Diana Castilleja
Jessica Jarman
Sophie Oak
Beth Williamson
Kris Cook
Cat Johnson
Brynn Paulin
L.A. Witt
Teresa D'Amario
Samantha Kane
S.A. Price
Jae Lynne Davies
Stacey Kennedy
PJ Schnyder
Delilah Devlin
Rosalie Lario
Melissa Schroeder
C.H. Admirand
Judi Fennell
Darynda Jones
Nicole Peeler
Michele Bardsley
Yasmine Galenorn
Stephanie Julian
Katie Reus
Shayla Black
Lia Habel
Erin Kellison
Jessa Slade
Manda Collins
Jess Haines
Jade Lee
Carolyn Crane
Mark Henry
Kelly Meding
Virna DePaul
Leanna Renee Hieber
Pamela Palmer
Cynthia Eden
Alexandra Ivy
Allison Pang
Sydney Croft
Kelly Gay
Diana Rowland
Merrie Destefano
Suzanne Johnson
Jaye Wells
Mari Freeman
Theresa Meyers
Jeaniene Frost
Kristen Painter
Eliza Gayle
Adrian Phoenix


Check back regularly for news. It's on!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Welcome to the New Year's Blog Hop!

Welcome to the New Year's blog hop! Make sure you comment below for your chance to win a $10 gift card to All Romance eBooks! Don't forget to visit the other bloggers today for a shot at their prizes!


The 1st Grand Prize will be a Kindle Fire
The 2nd Prize (to a second winner) will be an $80 Amazon GC

If I had to choose one New Year's memory, it would have to be the beginning of 2000. We spent most of 12/31/1999 at home in our apartment, watching the celebrations around the world. Actually, we watched and held our breath the whole time. If you were around, you remember the whole Y2K scare, and the possibility that computers globally would shut down, followed by mass hysteria, etc. Instead, we got to see a seamless transition into New Year's, and by midnight our time we were downtown watching the fireworks and sighing with relief.

So now it is 2012, and I'm staring down a list of resolutions. I didn't do very well last year, and if people are correct in theorizing that 2012 is it for us on this wildly spinning rock, I want to pull off some epic win here. I don't know how you are at resolutions, but I am about 50/50 - some I accomplish, the others are quickly forgotten. This time, I decided to aim low a bit and hedge my bets:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

6) Be happier. This could actually happen if I get 1-5 done.

So meet me back here on 12/31 if the world hasn't ended and I'll tell you how I did. Good luck on the giveaway!