Thank you!

On June 16th, the Many Shades blog will be closed.
The authors thank you for your readership and hope you will come visit them at their personal sites via the links to the left.

Monday, September 29, 2008

How can I keep from writing...

granted the following song deals with the topic of singing but it struck a chord with me when i heard it. i feel that way about writing...
How Can I Keep From Singing Lyrics
My life goes on in endless song
Above earth's lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear it's music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?
While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness 'round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock I'm clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?
When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?
In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging,
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Top Ten Tips On Surviving A Reality Show

I admit I am a reality show junkie. I don’t care if the show takes place in a jungle, on a stage, or some other exotic location, I just have to watch it. I’m drawn to these things like a fat kid to candy. So you can imagine my joy when several shows premiered this week. My joy turned to dismay when I noticed that year after year contestants insist on making the same mistakes. Don’t they watch these shows before they go on them? I decided that maybe some of them don’t so I decided to make a list of sorts for them to help them survive. A Spark Notes if you will for Reality Show 101

1.Don’t try to form an alliance your first day there. You may as well wear a T-shirt emblazoned with, “Sneaky, but stupid!”

2.Whatever you do, don’t become a loud bossy-pants. It will remind your tribe mates of their boss back home and they went halfway across the world, are eating bugs, and dressed in rags just to avoid the louse.

3.For God’s sake, don’t show up the first day in high heels or a business suit. The producers have never in the history of reality shows given contestants time to change into something more comfortable. They know viewers will enjoy seeing you struggle for a month in a pair of chaffing trousers.

4.On the other hand, ladies, wear a bra. That way the production crew doesn’t have to waste precious time blurring out your happy pillows.

5.A month before you go, find yourself a Boy Scout and have them teach you how to make a frigging fire.

6.Eat as much food as possible before you get there. Think of yourself as a bear fattening itself up before hibernation. That way when all your skinny tribe mates are wasting away to nothing, you can live off you fat stores as you laugh your way to victory.

7.Don’t run around naked. Unless you have the body of a supermodel it will just make everyone uncomfortable and your children will have to see this on TV someday. Who wants to go to school with Ugly Naked Lady’s kid?

8.Don’t be the lazy one that lounges around while the rest of tribe runs around like worker bees. Divas have no place in the jungle, island, or third world country.

9.Learn karate. That way if you get too hungry you can always Kung Fu Charlie the camera guy and steal his burger.

10.Think before you go. You will be spending a month around wretched people, in wretched conditions, eating wretched food and even if you do win, the government is going to take half of it in taxes. Is it really worth it?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Finally sold my house

Hi All,

I would have been here earlier but I lost the entire manuscript for When Evil Rises which will be released on Halloween so I am in a bit of a panic. Secondly, I have finally gotten rid of my house back east after struggling for over a year and a half, and are in the final stages of getting the contracts in order so we can close this week.

I also had grim news this week that one of my cousins is in a coma and we may loose this hasn't been a great week for me. Hopefully next week will be a better one.

Thank you for stopping by,

AP Miller

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Unconditional Love

By A.J. Llewellyn
Hi Everyone,
I want to talk about Unconditional Love today, in particular a Cause I have been passionately committed to: the canonization of the Belgian born priest, Father Damien. They called him the hero of Molokai because this incredible man was the only one who volunteered to service Molokai when death was almost certain.

He defied the Vatican’s orders not to have direct physical contact with his flock and went to the Hawaiian island of Molokai, a leper colony in 1873 to serve the sick and dying. Single handedly. Hundreds of islanders were banished to this island during the terrible plague traced to a ship load of Chinese farm workers brought to the Hawaiian kingdom, causing widespread panic and disease.

I have been devoted, along with many others to the Cause of seeing this Blessed man declared a saint. Make no mistake. I’m not Catholic, nor has God whispered in my ear dictating this long and winding road, but I did have an encounter with Father Damien that I have never forgotten.
Damien, thanks to the new Pope, Benedict XVI is on the road to Sainthood. At last.
The spiritual patron for Hansen's Disease, HIV and AIDS patients and other ‘outcasts’ has finally been embraced by the Vatican, once embarrassed that Father Damien, in caring for what he deemed his Children, fell victim to leprosy (now called Hansen’s Disease) himself and died in agony of it at the age of 49.

His story is remarkable. When he arrived on the lonely, isolated Kalaupapa peninsular, he was shocked to find so many sick and dying men, women and children, banished to the island with no food, shelter or any treatment for this hideous, progressive disease. Damien stopped the women from being raped, demanded food and medicine to be shipped to Molokai, built housing and a church for his children. He fed them, bathed them. Respected them. And he loved them. Utterly and unconditionally.
He must have been a talented builder because every single structure he erected is still standing and in use, by the remaining two dozen patients who will by Hawaiian state law be allowed to live at Kalaupapa until their last breath.
Visitors are allowed to Molokai, but a permit is required and no more than 100 tourists can be on island at the same time. A few years ago, after the death of my grandmother, who raised me, I fell into a deep depression and during a long stay in Maui, found a compilation of oral histories from former patients at Molokai. Their stories were devastating. So many families were destroyed by the “Separating Sickness.” I felt increasingly compelled to visit Molokai and read everything I could on Father Damien.
I became obsessed with the wonderful Australian movie, Molokai in which the extraordinary David Wenham portrayed Damien. Like many islanders, I became enraged when Father Damien’s steps toward Sainthood resulted in the Belgian government digging up his body from his grave in Kalaupapa.
Long before he contracted Hansen’s Disease, he considered himself a leper. I felt in death, as in life he would want to sleep with his children and when the Belgian government bent under international pressure and returned his right hand to the people of Hawaii, I felt even more strongly about paying homage to the man I considered a true hero.
Coincidentally, I won a book on ebay called Margaret of Molokai and couldn’t wait to receive it. Then I got an email from a man on Molokai who was devastated because I had beaten him out on the book auction. He had tried to win it for his mother, a still-living resident at Kalaupapa. I offered to give him the book as soon I had read it. I promised him I would read it quickly and send it to him immediately.

He responded with a kind email saying I was the embodiment of the spirit of Aloha. This man and his wife and soon, his mother, started corresponding with me regularly and I ended up going to visit them. Anyone who has read my Phantom Lover series might be interested to know that Lopaka’s tutu [grandmother] is based on the woman who became my surrogate mother on Molokai.
She took me on a tour of the hospital. I was shocked to see all the barriers still in place, as a sort of memorial and living museum where family members were allowed to come and visit their loved ones in the disease’s curable stage, thanks to new drugs.
We went to Damien’s church and we sat in a pew. I will never forget the sun shining on me, the dizzying scent of ginger stems washing over me. I looked at the floor as I thought about my grandmother and all the things I might have said to her given the chance to say goodbye. I saw all the holes in the floor. That, I hadn’t expected.
“What are they?” I asked my friend.
“Spit holes. In the latter stages of leprosy, the victims during Damien’s time, before there was a cure, could not swallow. Damien still wanted them to come to church and he put spit holes in the floor so they could still come to church and pray.”
And then, a wondrous thing happened. I felt him. I really did. His beautiful, Holy ghost was in his House, and I, like all his other outcasts had just become one of Damien’s children. It was an indescribable feeling. It was a high feeling of pure love.

“He’s here, you can feel him, can’t you?” my friend whispered and I just sat, stunned. Had I been alone, I know I would have dismissed that moment as a fantasy. That feeling has stayed with me for years now and I reach in for it, whenever I need it.

Recently, Pope Benedict declared the inexplicable healing of 80 year old Audrey Toguchi’s cancer as a Miracle. Her fatal illness miraculously disappeared after a long visit at Father Damien’s grave. He has pushed Damien’s case to the head of the line where he should be.
Earlier this year, I went back to Molokai and took Father Damien a lei. I know it’s only his right hand there, but it still belongs to him. The hand that touched, nurtured, fed and held people terrified and feeling abandoned by their God.

In Hawaii, Father Damien Day is celebrated on April 15.
Beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995, the Catholic Church commemorates Damien on May 10.
Known officially as “Blessed Damien of Molokai,” he will soon be known as Damien, hero, father…SAINT.

Aloha oe,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Importance of a Hook

Well, another week has passed and I’m still churning out the words. I find it amazing that something like writing has fascinated me for forty years. While other passions come and go, writing has had a firm grip on me since the early years. I can remember my mother reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales to me in one form or another and me thinking some of the endings were dumb while the beginnings held great promise. Even at that early age, I realized that the book had to have an incredible beginning or people wouldn’t like it.

Since those early years, I have learned the power of the hook as we writers call it. If you don’t get the readers with the first line or paragraph, you may not get them at all. So I thought this time for the blog, I’d go over some hooks that have intrigued me over the years and give a few of my own for contrast.

Here’s my top ten list of best hooks in the world. See if you can guess who wrote them. The answers are listed below. They are, in no particular order:

1. Hunting vampires was a bitch.

2. He was running for his life.

3. It was a dark and stormy night.

4. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

5. Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.

6. Marley was dead: to begin with.

7. When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.

8. It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.

9. Somewhere in the world, time no doubt whistled by on taut and widespread wings, but here in the English countryside it plodded slowly, painfully, as if it trod the rutted road that stretched across the moors on blistered feet.

10. The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane.

Each one of those have special meaning for me as I read each of those books at a different time in my life. Realize that this list ebbs and flows like a river, changing with time and never standing still. Notice there is a mix of classic and contemporary pieces. Some are romance and some are not. But each of them have something so compelling which makes me want to read more. And read them I did, some more than once and a few of them I still read yearly if I can remember just where I left my latest copy. LOL!

So what comprises a good hook? Notice that with the ones I listed, there is not one standard theme. Some come from a character’s point of view and some don’t, some involve something personal and some don’t. So just what is it?

There are some constant elements each and every hook may or may not have. They are:

It must be compelling. This is the only must of the whole list. As a writer, if you can't catch them here, it will be hard to keep them.

Should be a beginning – The reason I say should here is because some books have started with the ending and been quite successful.

It can start with dialogue.

It can start with action.

It could be a contrast or something totally unexpected.

It could be a character description or a description of a setting.

It could be a humorous question or exclamation or even a regular question or exclamation.

Let’s look at some of mine now and see just what I do. The first is from a WIP called “Where’s My Underwear Anyway?” and it is a fun romp. It’s first direct, to the point and immediately brings you into the action.

“So…you really don’t know where your underwear might be?”

There are groups out that who say never start your novel with a question. But this question just begged for an answer. It puts the reader immediately on a quest for the missing underwear. It also brings to mind other questions: who has the underwear? how was the underwear lost? was the underwear misplaced?

Suddenly, a reader wants to know the answer to those questions.

Here’s another of my first lines. This is from a completed book which is part of the Blue Moon Magic world.

He had always been in this cage in one way or another. It was only recently they had decided to make it his permanent room.

Again, this one takes you immediately into a dilemma. You know someone is in a cage. You don’t know the how’s or the why’s but it just begs those questions.

Here’s another from my Santa’s Elves series. This is from last year’s book, An Elf’s Desire.

That human woman drove him crazy.

From just this first line, you know the person thinking is a man and that he isn’t human. Still, you wonder just what the human woman is doing to drive him crazy. It must be something good or he wouldn’t be thinking about it.

This last one is from another WIP called “Avenging Aingeal” and is a story of elemental magic.

No one knows where we came from really. We just…are. And there are so very few of us, roaming the earth, protecting the inhabitants these days.

This is from an omniscient POV but is still interesting in its own way. We want to know just who ‘they’ are and why we need protecting. Then one might want to know just how long have ‘they’ been protecting us because the way the sentence is constructed, it is implied that ‘they’ have been here for a long, long time. But one must read the story to know the all answers.

And this one has always been one of my personal favorites as it won quite a few contests with the most notable being at the Hawaii RWA conference. Leslie Wanger picked it as one of five from the whole room full of people.

“Damn, I’m going to lose another one.”

This from my complete book, Midnight Run about a woman off-road racer. It was my first book ever, all 72K of it. And it’s set on my computers in one form or another for the past 15 years at least. It has a great hook but a saggy middle with a kick-ass end. But that’s left for another blog.

And here are the answers to my original question.

1. Hunting vampires was a bitch. – Minion – L.A. Banks

2. He was running for his life. – Hot Ice – Nora Roberts

3. It was a dark and stormy night. – Paul Clifford – Edward Bulwer-Lytton

4. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. - Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

5. Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. - Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

6. Marley was dead: to begin with. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

7. When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R. Tolkein

8. It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance - Outlander – Diana Galbadon

9. Somewhere in the world, time no doubt whistled by on taut and widespread wings, but here in the English countryside it plodded slowly, painfully, as if it trod the rutted road that stretched across the moors on blistered feet. - The Flame and the Flower – Kathleen Woodiweiss

10. The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane. - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling

After all, isn’t that what a hook is meant to do? Make you as the reader want to read the book?

You betcha!

Until next week!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Wonderful news ~ from C.R. Moss

Hello everyone from sunny Las Vegas, where it’s promising to be a beautiful day in the high eighties. And, not only is the weather making the day wonderful but I have fantastic news as well. I’m proud to announce that my first print book is now available on Yea!
The book is called The Mystics and is comprised of my Si’Ludo Sisters trilogy and a fourth story, The Redeemer, only to be found in the print version. For more information about the book(s) feel free to visit my website:
To buy a copy click on this link: The Mystics at
(If the link doesn’t work, go to – books – advanced search. In the author field type in C.R. Moss then click search.)
Thank you for your readership!
P.S. The third book in the trilogy is available in e-book format. An announcement was not sent out about the release at the beginning of September because it would soon be available in the print format as well. Should you wish to buy an electronic version of the third book of the trilogy – Atonement – you may at:
The encroaching twilight once more drew her focus to the landscape. Above the mountain stars appeared in the dusky thistle colored sky and the quiet voice within her mind recalled the names of the three closest and largest ones—Alco, Miza and Mizu. The innate knowledge informed her that the star Alio, The Signifier, would also grace the sky that night, indicating change was on the way. The bright orb would remind them all that the process had begun. The great planet Si’Ludo would rise. Pwu Ihu, The One, their Messiah, would come. The rift caused by the Great Divide would be healed. All would be as it once was.
A deep pang of longing for all of it to come to pass settled in her core. She put her hand to her mouth and stuck her forefinger’s knuckles between her teeth so as not to cry out. How could she know these things? How come she felt such intense yearning for everything her inner voice, her voice, she realized, had mentioned? She wasn’t a part of this world. She shouldn’t know anything about it!
Behind her, the huge wooden door creaked open and, in the reflection of the window, she watched Hawk-man enter. A toga like outfit adorned his tall, lean body, the white cloth glaringly bright against the dark room and held close to him at the waist by a wide gold belt. Leather boots fit snug along his calves.
Casually he came up behind her, put an arm around her waist and positioned her to face him. With his free hand, he captured her chin in a vice like grip and tilted her head up. The dark beady eyes gazed down at her. A chill streaked down her spine, sending zings of ice along her peripheral nerves.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What's A Writer To Do?

Whenever an author decides to write a series, the inevitable question comes up. How long is this series going to last? I thought I had answered that question to myself about my Archangel series. I was going to make sure all the Lehor brothers had their HEA and then I would be done. Finished. Kaput.

Then the strangest thing happened to me the other day while I was mopping my kitchen floor. One of my secondary characters, Raphael, paid me a visit.

I’m down on my hands and knees, because that is how I always scrub my floors and he just rudely barges into my house and marches in. The first thing I notice, is the bugger didn’t even bother to take his boots off and he is leaving scuff marks on my freshly cleaned floor.

“Raphael!” I admonish. “Take those things off. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get that off tile?” I look up the length of his leather-clad legs, to his taunt stomach, hard chest before setting on his dark green eyes. His collar length, raven hair is slightly mussed, like he left his house in a rush and didn’t take the time to style it properly.

“I heard that you were going to end the series?” He pinned me with an accusing glare.

“Yes, what’s it to you?” I start to rub furiously at the offending marks.

“But, you haven’t given me my HEA yet.”

I looked up, surprised. Raphael almost sounded like he was whining. That was so unlike the normally reserved archangel. As that thought was still rolling around my head, he opened my fridge and helped himself to a slice of cold pizza. Now that really wasn’t like him. This guy was so uptight that even eating off a paper plate was barbaric in his opinion.

“I can’t believe that you could forget about me,” he mumbled around a mouthful of pizza. I watched as bacon crumbles fell off the slice and littered my once clean floor. I stood up and threw the cloth into the sink, realizing I wasn’t going to get anything done until I settled this matter.

“Look Raphael, this series has to end sometime. I’m sorry, but that’s the way things have to be.”

He set his food down on the counter so he could gently grip my arms in a pleading gesture. As I craned my neck so I could look up at him, I wondered why in the hell I had written him so tall.

“You haven’t given me a chance to tell you my story yet.” His gaze was so earnest that I almost caved. Almost.

“Not going to happen, big guy. You tell me your story and then I’m going to have to write it.”



“Pretty, please?”

“No! No! No!”

Then he did the one thing that could shatter my resolve. He gave me the puppy dog eyes. Raphael, one of the oldest archangels, leader of the healers, and angel warrior gave me the frigging puppy dog eyes. So unfair.

Damn. It.

“Fine, tell me you story,” I relented with a sigh.

Then he went on to spell out his future adventures, complete with his heroine and some surprising twists for the angel warriors and I realized there was no way I could pass up the chance to write his story.

“Fine,” I snapped. “You win. After I get finished with the brothers, I’ll do your story next. Happy?”

He gave me a cocky grin. “I knew you would see things my way. I’ll get out of your hair now so you can get to writing.”

“I can’t write yet, because I have to re-mop my floor, you rude angel.”

He made his way to the door, tossing over his shoulder, “By the way, Uriel was asking where you lived.”

No! The last thing I needed was another visit by yet another secondary character. “Please, tell me you did not tell him.”

He shot off another grin. “I’m sorry, it just slipped out. He said to expect a visit sometime real soon.”

I let out a shriek of frustration as Raphael left, shutting my front door quietly behind him.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Coloring Outside the Lines

By A.J. Llewellyn

Hi everyone,
I have a day job that for a writer sounds like a dream come true. I get paid to read. All day long, I read, read, read other people's screenplays. My job is to crush other writers' dreams. But occasionally, just occasionally I find a gem I cannot in good conscience, send to the gallows.
As a Coverage Writer, my job is to do that. I'm supposed to be the passionless executioner.
But what happens when you read something that colors outside the lines so well, you have to risk putting your own neck on the chopping block?
For the first time in two years that happened to me this week. I read a screenplay that I am surprised even made it to my desk since it came in scary packaging and wasn't even formatted to industry standard.
Then there was the content. It is everything Hollywood hates.
Historical. Big no no.
No action or violence. What, are you kidding me?
The lead character is a woman. You're smoking crack. Right, AJ?
I opened this screenplay and from page one, I was hooked. It was about Mary Wollstonecraft, the world's first feminist writer and I was captivated by her passion and her huevos (yeah, women can have those).
Then there was the writer's period detail such as Mary W's refusal to wear a powdered wig to the opera.
I have read sci fi screenplays that have stupid things like people racing cars on the sun – how? – but this screenplay intrigued me with fantastic dialogue, famous poets, drunken writers. Man, she even describes the smell of London streets three hundred years ago...I'm thinking, Hello, Oscar.
How could I type: PASS on my cover sheet?
Since I had to go into battle for the writer - and my reputation at the studio - I assembled my arguments like chess pieces.
I came up with a list of top ten starlets who could play Mary W. Good thinking, AJ!
There's a sexy sub plot of a love story - Wollestonecraft's daughter Mary and her scandalous marriage with that roue Percy Bysshe Shelley. Another list for these characters. Ha! You got 'em now, AJ!
There was nudity! YEESSSS!
And wait! Mary W. covered the French revolution! King Louis's head actually tumbled onto her shoes. We love blood!
I championed this screenplay mightily just by typing CONSIDER in the appropriate box. I wrestled with my conscience over that one and felt I had to go one step further.
My best friend in the office, Charlie, begged me not to do it.
"Career suicide," he kept muttering. "You won't even get a job in the mail room after this."
But I did it. I put my ass on the chopping block and typed: RECOMMEND.
I sat and waited for the first bomb to drop.
I fretted for a day and kept plotting my insanity defense. I wanted to use the screenplay's attention to authenticity as my trump card. It didn’t take me long to find a Yahoo group with the niche interest of Wollstonecraft and a general post to the group sent back 50 responses in a mind-boggling avalanche of information.
Yep, the story was true and our gal defied tradition, going bare-headed to the opera. The scandal! The drama!
As predicted, my boss wasn't happy. I'm not supposed to interrupt his golf game with an actual, workable screenplay. I came back from a meeting with another writer and found a Post It on my desk lamp.
See Me.
Yeah, I knew I was about to get ripped a new one, a couple of them actually, so I assembled my arsenal of arguments, grabbed a donut out of somebody else's mouth and went to the front lines.
The result was this. My writer did not sell us her screenplay. But her gorgeous writing got her noticed and I will fight to the death to get her a pitch meeting.
I am not allowed to contact her and coach her but I hope one day she knows that a man sitting in his office in Hollywood read her baby and loved it.
I hope she never loses her passion. I hope no writer does, because it's a fucking hard business being a writer and it's awfully hard to keep hearing, NO.
I guess what I want to say is this.
I fully believe love finds a way and this screenplay was a love letter to a literary goddess. If there is a God, and there is really a heaven, the guardian angels of writers everywhere will help this screenplay find its Green Light.
And I will just reassemble my arguments, keep tilting at windmills and go back to the trenches for it.

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Keeping the Fires Hot

Recently, I ran across a class from the Rose Colored Glasses group I just had to take. It was titled, Write 50 Books in a Year. Wow, I thought to myself could I really write that many books in year? The women who ran the class, Elle James and Delilah Devlin are writing sisters and they are great fun. Best of all, this class was free. By the end of the class, I had completed two stories and had started my ‘bible’ on a series to send to Harlequin. I was on my way!

So intrigued by that class, I decided to take their plotting class and again, I’m pleasantly surprised. I consider myself a pantser and most of the time I can say that is true. I can just sit down with a vague premise and write the story till the end with little or no thought process toward the plotting because I do it all in my head. It’s easy to do if you’re not building elaborate worlds.

However, I know from experience you must plan for series books. By series I mean books that are intertwined, have a large than life story line and consist of two or more books minimum. This one I’m working on has 4 big books of around 72K and some smaller 15K books to keep the interest up in the series.

Because you have to keep all this straight, it is usually prudent to do some plotting. With this course, I’ve titled all the books except the last. I’ve come up with basic character sketches for all of the main characters and minor ones as well. I’ve come up with internal and external conflict, I’ve come up with the setting and even look more into the villains of my story line.

Yes, I have my work cut out for me. The first one is complete at 15K and I’ve already started first big book. It has been a wonderful journey to discover all these new people I need to know. But the journey won’t be over until I have written the final word for the final book.

Now you may ask yourself why I did this. Every once in a while, I find my motivation for writing lagging behind. Suddenly, the thing I love the most next to my family and friends has made my life miserable for some reason. Sometimes, I can snap out of it and know I’ll get back on track. Occasionally, I find myself needing a class to put the zing back in my writing step. So I go searching the internet for classes which will help me in some way.

I go to writer’s meetings for the same reason. Just being around a group of other writers can keep you focused enough to start a new project or finish and old on. The bottom line is that we support each other and that’s just like it should be. Writers need to support each other in the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.

Believe me, ugly happens. There are very few writers where ugly doesn’t happen on a first draft. That’s why we have a support system to help each other through the first to the final draft.

This week my main desktop crashed taking much of my beloved writing with it. If it weren’t for good writing friends and a few other folks, I would be crying into my cups right now because most of my WIPs would have been gone. I back up weekly on Friday’s so I’m not losing much but the things I am losing, hurt.

But that is not going to stop me from the goals I have set out for myself in these next few months. I have a Christmas book to complete and a NYC submission to get out. Hopefully, these will be two things that you the reader will enjoy in the near future. Thanks to everyone who helped me to overcome the computer crash. I greatly appreciate it.

Let me ask all you fans and readers out there…just what gets your creative juices flowing? How do you face a day filled with adversity? Don’t hesitate to send me an answer at You may just be in next week’s column! LOL!

Have a great week everyone! See you next time!

Lynn Crain
Experience the Magic

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Writer’s Thoughts on Writing ~ C.R. Moss

I’m currently reading my way through Frank Herbert’s Dune series and in the beginning of Heretics of Dune he has a commentary on when he was working on Dune – “When I was writing Dune there was no room in my mind for concerns about the book’s success or failure. I was concerned only with the writing.” He goes on to tell about the series, the aspects of life the books would explore, and how the books slowly gained momentum and ultimate success. Toward the end he talks of success and says “Looking back on it, I realize I did the right thing instinctively. You don’t write for success. That takes part of your attention away from the writing. If you’re really doing it, that’s all you’re doing: writing.”
When I read that, it struck a chord in me. Granted, deep down all authors would love to become the next big name on the charts, but Herbert was right, when you’re truly into your story and working your craft, you aren’t thinking of much else. I know I don’t. I write because I love to craft pieces of art with the written word. There are times when I’m consumed in writing a story, sometimes to the exclusion of all else. Yes, you may think that can be lonely or might not be much of a life, sitting at the computer and typing for hours on end with no significant social interaction. But it’s what makes me happy. If through a story I can divert a reader’s mind from reality, help them forget life for awhile and make that person happy or at least feel different than they had before, then it’s worth it.
At the end of Herbert’s introduction he also writes, “There’s an unwritten compact between you and the reader. If someone enters a bookstore and sets down hard earned money (energy) for your book, you owe that person some entertainment and as much more as you can give. That was really my intention all along.” Like Herbert, my intention is to entertain people, suspend their disbelief, spark their emotions and imaginations, even if it’s only for a little while. And, in hopes of showing you that I’m not full of hot air or blowing my own horn (ah, gotta love the cliché!) I’ve included comments of others. In a reader’s review of my first book Deliverance, they had this to say, “Any emotion is good emotion and those you elicited from me were heart stopping and heart wrenching. My compliments to you in not only stirring them, but inciting them so strongly. Do not change your ability to affect readers in that spectacular manner. That's a gift, and a valuable one. I loved Deliverance and am looking forward to the next part of the series.” Then in a professional review for Deliverance from reviewer WitchGiggles said, “I found this an interesting read that gave pause to the theory that woman is the weaker sex. I found the characters realistic (in some cases too much so) and believable. It was an overall good read.”
Deliverance, Book One of the Si’Ludo Sisters trilogy can be found, along with Salvation – Book 2 and Atonement – Book 3 at In the next few weeks my first print book, The Mystics, a compilation of the Sisters trilogy and a fourth story only to be found in the print version, will be released. On Halloween Dirty Little Secret a short Fantasy Games horror story will be available. For a look at more books feel free to visit my website: and/or join my MySpace page:
Come, let me entertain you in my world, if only for a little while…

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Monster Spray

The day started off normal enough for me. I took my eight-year old son to school and came home to put my baby daughter down for her nap. Then my husband called me and told me to turn on the news. The date, September 11, 2001.

For several months leading up to that horrible day, my son had been suffering from nightmares. He was convinced that monsters were lurking everywhere, under his bed, in his closet, even outside his window.

“I know they are there, Mommy,” he would whisper, his big brown eyes peeking out from the covers he pulled over his head.

“They won’t get in,” I assured him.

The covers lowered ever so slightly. “How do you know that?”

I pulled out a bottle. “I have Monster Spray. There is no way they can get through this.”

Of course the bottle really didn’t contain Monster Spray. It was water with a couple drops of essential oil, but my son bought it. A huge sigh of relief came from his tiny body as I sprayed the entire room. He slept soundly for the first time in months.

As I watched the footage of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers, I realized my son was right. There were monsters and damned if they hadn’t got in. Huge sobs racked through my body as I watched the horror unfold in front of me. I had fooled myself as surely as I had fooled my son with that spray. I never thought that anything like that could happen to America. I believed that we were big kid on the block that no one would dare touch.

I had to pick my son up early that day because he had a dentist appointment. As I walked into the office to sign him out, I noted they had a small TV on and the staff were watching, their own heartbreak evident on their faces.

“Have you told the children?” I asked.

“No, we thought it would be better if their parents did.”

So as soon as I got my son in the car I did the hardest thing I ever had to do, I told him the truth. I knew there was no way to hide it from him and he deserved to hear it from me. It was hard to get the words out because I was so choked with grief. I had lost a bit of my innocence that day and now had to watch as he did too. He gave me a look that was a mixture of confusion, fear, and sadness.

“Why would they want to hurt us, Mommy?” His hand darted out toward his sister, who was sleeping in her car seat. He grabbed her hand in a protective gesture.

“I don’t know, honey,” I replied honestly.

There were a few moments of silence. “I guess we will have to use extra Monster Spray tonight,” he finally said.

“I guess we will, sweetie.”

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Writing and books

Hello Readers,

We have been extremely busy these past few months and I must apologize for not getting back to those of you who have sent me heart warming emails. Deadlines are so tedious and seem never ending. Our BDSM book, "Management Training" ( I know you are itching) will make its debut on September 15th. Following that on October 31st, will be "When Evil Rises." (Yes, Mordachi will be rising.)

I am trying to finish "All Hallows Eve" for Devine Destinies for our second Halloween release but can't make any promises at this time.

Beyond the Looking Glass and Lone Huntress are still available at Extasy Books so don't forget to order your copies. To all our fans, thank you. You all know who you are...We send huge hugs...Book two for Lone Huntress will be ready by the Spring 2009 so we ask that you remain patient as always.

I will keep you posted with our latest releases as time goes by so please check here frequently. Stay well...

Happy reading,

AP Miller

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hawai'i's Most Beautiful Man

Hi Everyone,

I'm still in Waikiki and my friend Tony is still in a dilemma after kissing another man the other night over whether or not he is gay. I don't think he is to be honest, but I've enjoyed watching him wrestle with the idea. I mean, he was dead drunk when he kissed the guy in question and if he ever got a glimpse of the guy he manhandled the other night at Hula's Bar and Lei Stand I might have to bury him. He would just not want to live anymore. Anyhoo, last night over virgin Hawaiian iced tea, we watched the news and there was a report on the Hawaii's Most Beautiful Man Contest.
Tony started jumping up and down because not one of the five finalists gave him 'wood.'
"That doesn't mean anything," I told him. "I'm gay and I am not particularly turned on by any of them, except…if the guy on the far left turned up in my bedroom, I wouldn't make him sleep on the sofa."
"Geez, AJ. You mean….I might still be gay?"
I was about to tell him to relax. It's been four days since his girl walked out on him. Mind you, I think she had a point. He is a fabulous guy but he could get a little friendlier with the idea of fiscal responsibility and things like doing dishes and…changing his socks occasionally.
"We have to go to another gay bar," he insisted, picking up his Gay Hawaii brochure – wait, where did he find that?? – and flipped through it. "Let's go to Angles, AJ."
"The hottest gay bar in Honolulu, AJ. Look, it says right here. Where cool breezes and hot bodies come together in the heart of gay Waikiki."
How does he find out this stuff? "Er…you might want to change, Tony."
"What's wrong with this?"
"You're wearing underpants and a wife beater."
"The guys might like it, AJ."
"The guys would love it if you looked like Steve Cruz -"
"A very hot gay porn star."
"I could look like a gay porn star if I worked out a bit. Is there much money in gay porn, AJ?"
Ye Gods.
"Get dressed, Tony," I snapped. And he did. I don't think he was very comfortable. I can't remember the last time he put on pants that didn't have Velcro snaps. He waddled up Kuhio Avenue.
"My panties are in a bunch," he whined. Oh geez, he is gay! "And my shoes hurt."
We stopped on the street and I looked down. "You've got your shoes on the wrong feet."
"That explains it." He sat on the pavement like a little kid, swapped shoes, stood up and his entire pants split up the back.
"That'll make things…easier once we get in there," I grinned, once I stopped laughing.
"Wait. I'm not going in there like this."
"Why not? Aren't you comfortable?"
"They can see my tighty whities, AJ."
"Not so tight there, Tony. "
"So, they're a few years old…" he shrugged.
We walked on up and the music flooded out and within a minute, Tony was hunched on a stool, his back to the wall and I was buying the Mai Tais. I sidled back to him.
"Think anyone can see my underwear?" he fretted. I checked. It crossed my mind to freak him out and lie, but I assured him his er…assets were safe from prying eyes.
"There's a guy across the room staring at me," he whispered. "Is that the guy I kissed the other night?"
I looked over. He was an Adonis. Talk about wishful thinking. "No, Tony, that's not him."
"Was he cute?"
I hesitated telling him the truth when a guy in chaps, his bare, naked ass hanging out of his pants blew past us.
"That looks mighty comfortable." Tony leaned over the table for a closer look. I saw the drinks slide, saw his stool topple over and before I could stop him, Tony hurled head first into the arms of another leather daddy walking by.
"Hey big guy," the leather daddy grinned.
"Wanna kiss me?" Tony asked and the leather daddy laughed.
"Not particularly."
"Geez," Tony said when I bought us a fresh round and he was back against the wall, hiding his underpants. "I get rejected by everybody. Men and women."
"I'm thinking he was looking for younger, skinnier fare, Tony."
"Hmmph. " He scratched his chin and a funny look came over his face. "Well, fuck me!"
"Look, Tony. I thought we already had this discussion."
"No, not you…look. There's two chicks over there giving me the eye!"
I turned to look.
"Why did you do that?" he hissed.
"You told me to look!" I was surprised to find these two chicks really did seem to be giving Tony "the eye" and the women joined us for cocktails. And just like that, Tony discovered he wasn't gay after all and I, AJ Llewellyn returned to Tony's place alone. Just me and my computer. I turned on the late news and surfed the news broadcasts in search of repeats of the Hawaii's Most Beautiful Man Contest.
Even in Paradise, beggars cannot be choosers.
Aloha oe,

Currently listening : E Essential By Noiseworks Release date: 2007-04-30

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Writers' and Readers' Internet Tag

By AJ Llewellyn

Hi Everyone,
I am excited to be one of the new bloggers here and today we're playing Writers' and Readers' Internet Tag! If you read this, it's YOUR turn to post the following questionnaire on YOUR blog!

What are you reading right now?
A History of Spanking. No, not really…I am a pathological liar.

Longest book you’ve ever read: Tough question, there, cookie. I can Hoover through an 800 page Harry Potter book in 24 hours, yet I wanted to kill everybody then myself, trying to read Anne Rice’s painful tome Christ, the Lord out of Egypt.

Strangest title of a book that you’ve read:
Bombproof Your Horse: Teach Your Horse to be Confident, Obedient and Safe No Matter What You Encounter…
Despite my penchant for invention, this is a true and incredibly stupid title. I mean, think about it. Let’s say you’re sitting astride a horse and same gun-toting weirdo runs up and sticks a grenade up the horse’s ass.
Let me know how confident and obedient he turns out to be. Yeah…good luck with that.

Stupidest ending of a book you’ve read:
And then, I died…
Yep, that was the ending.

Which literary character have you related to the most?
Adrian Mole

Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction?
Non fiction – because the truth is so often so bloody weird!

Did you have a series of children’s/young adult books that you once enjoyed? *Blushing* Yes. I loved The Fat Slags. Actually, this is a British comic strip in Viz magazine. Um…I still collect them and get quite a kick out of those cheap, boozy whores!

Can you enjoy reading the source book after seeing the screen adaptation?
Unfortunately, I have to because of my day job. I do screenplay coverage for a movie studio. I believe most authors will tell you their work was vandalized. I strongly disagree. It was hung, drawn, quartered then burned at the bloody stake.

Have you ever read a novelization of a movie or TV show?
Yes, unfortunately. My brain still hurts.

Book that "turned you on" the most, erotically speaking:
The Wit and Wisdom of George W. Bush. No, not really, I’m telling fibs again.

Is there a real-life person that you’ve read more than one book about?
Yes, I am a research ho. But the person who continues to fascinate me is the Black Dahlia, (Elizabeth Short). There are tons of books out there and I’ve read ‘em all. I’m amazed that three of them are written by people ALL claiming their own fathers did it. Christmas dinner must sure be fun at their houses!

Book that everyone’s read but you:
The Story of O.

Favorite "classic" writer/novelist:
George Eliot

Favorite contemporary novelist (let's say 1950s on):Maxine Hong Kingston

Favorite short story writer:
Felice Picano

Favorite columnist/journalistic writer:
Jilly Cooper

Favorite poet:
Nat Whitcomb a wonderful Australian poet. My favorite of hers goes: Dirty Politics, dirty wars…make the dirt in my garden seem so clean.

Favorite guilty pleasure book or series:
Spanking magazines. No, not really. I’m telling lies again.

Favorite book by written by a famous actor or musician:
Get in the Van by Henry Rollins (my future ex husband). He could tie me up and do whatever he wanted to me…er…except shove a grenade up my bottom.

Author whose work you once enjoyed but no longer do:
Patricia Cornwell – poor research and same, regurgitated storylines. She needs to get a good spanking by Rick R. Reed – no, wait, that would make me jealous – but she needs to be edited by a proper editor, not a fan.

Favorite comics/graphic fiction author:
Gene Luen Yang…I love his YA stuff…no bombs, no horses…plenty of Geekdom.

Did you read this? Then -- TAG!! You're it!

Aloha oe,

Friday, September 5, 2008

Author Interview: Romancing the Edge with CR Moss

Author Interview by A.J. Llewellyn

1. CR, I noticed on your bio you talk about how you grew up in a place with no kids around and little to do that was fun. You said that you wrote stories to entertain yourself…what kind were they? I grew up in a rural section of New Jersey, back when farms were the norm and the word Condo referred to a place in the city. The first place I lived in was nestled between a river and a farm, and the stories I created were fairy tale in nature – the great prince coming to rescue his love. I loved the stories of Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast as a child.As an adult, I still love the story of Sleeping Beauty but it’s the one by Anne Rice now. :-) Then as I grew older and we moved to a dead end street, again with no kids my age and a river at the end of the road, the stories morphed into romantic adventure tales. In my teens, I went to what I call the dark side. Romance? What’s that? Horror baby all the way. I wrote horror in to my adult years and didn’t go back to romance till a friend turned me on to A Knight In Shining Armor by Jude Devereaux.Now I write a mix. In fact the first horror story I’ve written in ages will be released on Halloween. Dirty Little Secret, a story for eXtasy Books’ Fantasy Games line, goes back to my horror roots, and I’m really looking forward to the book’s release! Then for the 2009 Valentine holiday season, my m/m story, Dirty Little Lie, the sequel to Dirty Little Secret, will follow suit.
2. Tell me about the inspiration behind the Si’Ludo Sisters trilogy? And will you really stop at three books? Stop at three books? Nope! (chuckles) The Si’Ludo Sisters trilogy is actually a spinoff of a longer, mainstream series I’m working on, which will consist of several books within two series so far: Si’Ludo Prophesy & Si’Ludo Rising. And I’m working on a sequel story to the Sisters trilogy, where the bad guy gets his due. The inspiration for the first Si’Ludo Prophesy story (Postponing Eternity) came from a dream I had. Then the spin off of the Sisters’ stories came from something my muse spun last fall. So I ran with that idea and incorporated it all together. Atonement, the third book in the trilogy – out September 1st – is a far cry from what I originally thought it would be. The characters took on lives of their own and partake in f/f and m/m scenes due to the ‘religion’ they practice.
3. Hawk-man is a compelling creation. Where did he come from? His 'character' just came to me. I don't know how or from where. The figure appeared and I wrote what I saw. ‘Tis the work of a writer's mind. Hawk-man is actually the war head-dress/mask of the Sufs, so when the men have to confront the heroine for the first time they’re in the official mask to hide their identities. I’m not quite sure where it came from. Maybe I saw something on the web or television. But for the most part Hawk-man is Cor’s dream version of himself when he tries to seduce the heroine. He uses the moon of his true home world as the setting since he feels powerful there.
4. I know you are a practicing Wiccan. How does this influence your writing? I use aspects of it in my writing, but it doesn’t fully influence it.
5. What is your favorite Wiccan holiday? Samhain (pronounced: Sow-win) Celebrated Oct. 31: Witches' New Year, marks the death of the God and his the arrival in the Land of Youth, where he opens the gates so the souls can revisit their loved ones. It is said to be the day when the walls between the worlds are to be the thinnest and when contact with one's ancestors can take place. It is celebrated with the Festival of the Dead. This is a time of reflection on the year and a celebration of our ancestors. Happy New Year! & Happy Halloween!
6. What is your work routine like? Do you write every day? I wish I had the energy/time to write everyday! In the morning I’ll check email, do the promotion tasks listed for the day on my database, then if it’s Tuesday thru Friday I head to my job. There are days on my lunch break I’ll write, or do promo and participate in chats. Other days I’ll critique my crit partner’s work or I’ll edit my own stories. A lot of my writing takes place Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the days I have off from my job.
7. Who are your favorite authors? I know you love Anne Rice…who else? You have such an interesting mix of sci fi horror and erotica…would you say she influences this the most? Yeah, I’m big on Anne Rice, but I don’t think any particular author’s work influences mine. I like to think I have my own voice. I believe my mix comes from the huge range of genres I’ve read over the years and the horror/sci-fi films & shows I’ve seen. With an English background in college I was exposed to a lot of different writing. But when it comes to my own tastes, authors I’ve bought on a regular basis over the years… Stephen King, Clive Barker (met him in person and got his autograph on a book), Jude Devereaux, Fern Michaels. I’m into Frank Herbert right now.
8. That’s funny, I met Clive Barker at a book festival and bought his book and he autographed it. I was astonished how normal he was. How nice. What was your experience like with him? It was great. He was a real nice guy. Answered my nervous, silly questions and drew us some pictures in our books to go with his autograph.
9. I know your favorite all-time band is Rush. Do you play Rush when you’re writing or do you prefer silence? Love Rush! Several years ago I saw them three times during one concert tour, twice in Jersey (we were living there at the time) and once in Las Vegas. Yep, took a weekend trip to catch them at the MGM. The first show we caught in NJ we had 12th row seats. It was heaven. Interestingly enough I don’t listen to Rush when I’m writing. Side note: They just did their first American TV appearance in 33 years. Thank god I have Tivo! Music by Rush is great to drive to.Okay, back on track… music while I write, right? I have satellite television so depending upon my mood and what I’m writing determines the channel I turn on, either Audio Visions (music that you’d hear in a massage therapy session/spa environment) or Squizz-XL (plays a lot of Alternative). Though, if I’m having trouble with a piece, I’ll work in silence until I get through the rough patch.
10. Are you cats jealous of your computer? Do they try and kill the keyboard? Nope. Calvin and Marius leave me alone because I’ve designated my work area as a Kitty Free Zone. So my keyboard and wires are safe from their furry little paws. Calvin was of the Calvin and Hobbes duo, named fourteen years ago after my favorite comic strip. When we knew Hobbes, our husky/lab pooch, wasn’t doing well health wise, we brought our second cat into the house to give Calvin a companion. A week later Hobbes went over the rainbow bridge. That was in October 2007. He was almost fourteen years old and had been born on the day we got married. Marius, our second cat, was a rescue, as were Calvin and Hobbes. Marius is named after the character in Anne Rice’s novels and acts as I always expected a cat to act. Calvin is very reserved and most times you don’t even realize he’s in the house.
11. Is your husband supportive, even enjoy your books? Does he read them? We’re pretty supportive of each others’ goals. He likes to run and is currently training for a marathon, which is not as time constraining (which is nice) as when he was training for the iron distance Silverman triathlon here in town. So I support him in his races and his reacquired golfing goals, and now that I’ve boosted my writing schedule he’s good with giving me space to do what I need to do. He even came to a book signing event I hosted with other eXtasy Books authors.
12. What was that like? And did you sell a lot of books? It was an interesting experience. We held it in a small venue (wine store/boutique) so it’s not like we had droves of people flocking through, but still, I sold a few books and the eXtasy Books’ anthologies (Violet Visions & Atlantis Allure) the other authors had available sold like hot-cakes. I told people “I’ve been to enough of his events that he can finally come to one of mine.” Good thing I can entertain myself with my stories, though, when it comes to his gigs, standing around for 3 to 4 hours while he’s out running a race would be boring otherwise. Yes, he’s read my first two books and I asked him to read the third in the trilogy to give me some reader insight, which he was happy to do. He says he enjoyed them.
13. How do you like living in Las Vegas? I went there almost every weekend for several years covering boxing and it has changed drastically…how do you feel about the grand old hotel casinos being demolished and big expensive ones replacing them? There’re casinos here? Just kidding. We rarely go to the Strip, only when people visit from out of state for the first time or if we’re down there for the LV marathon (look for the marathon and a threesome in my December 1st release Holiday Spirits), and we barely gamble anymore, so when it comes to the old buildings replaced by the new and improved it doesn’t bother me.For the most part I love living here, the heat, the sun, the blue sky. The original reason we moved here was for the weather so he could train for the Ironman in HI.
14. Hawaii? *Perks* My favorite place…did you love it? Sadly, we haven’t been to HI yet. Having been in two bike accidents, my husband has stopped training for triathlons, so the goal of qualifying for Kona is no longer a priority. Hopefully he and I will be able to visit the islands one day, whether it’s for a race or not.
15. Stephen King…who is fond of walking, turns up at your door…all the way from Bangor, Maine (he resists being hit by a car). He asks you to take him to your favorite hangout. Where do you take him and if you could ask him three things, what would it be? I take him to Steiner’s for a great burger and some Death Valley Chips. I thank him for the Dark Tower books and the ending of that series which I was pleased with. Then ask -- Question 1: Dude, what were you thinking at the end of It? 2: What was the deal with Tommyknockers? 3: Could we collaborate? :D
AJ: I’ll bet Mr. King would collaborate! Thanks to CR for her time and her talent…Find out more about C.R. Moss at her website Check out her myspace page at Her books are available at
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