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.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Watching the Dead

By A.J. Llewellyn
This is my first blog as An Amber Quill Press author and I'm thrilled to be talking about my second book with them.
Firstly, I owe it to the dangerously talented (and sexy, too!) author Rick R. Reed for suggesting to our publisher Trace Edward Zaber that he should invite me to submit a story for his approval. He did, and I did...and my first book, Deeper Blue came out at Amber Allure last October.
I have loved my whole experience here with AQP and as I pondered what to write next, I had a weird and wonderful experience.
I had lunch with a group of friends as we got hair cuts at our old movie studio. Though we were all laid off, we are all still close and we go to the hair salon on the lot and make a half-day of it. Being close to bald, I require little in the cutting department. I'm there for the donuts and the bagels. And the smears. I am all about cream cheese.
But I digress.
One of our pals arrived late and confessed his new job was beginning to affect him. Since he works nights, we made fun, teasing him about being a go go dancer or a rent boy. Nope. He's watching the dead.
I said, "What?"
Turns out it's an actual job in a very Orthodox Jewish funeral parlor. He is called a shomerim and he must stay awake guarding the dead...or else, the dead man's spirit walks, releasing a dybbuk.
I said, "A what?"
Now, I took notes. I am a relentless taker of anecdotes. A thief of ideas...and hey presto, there was my idea for Fawnskin!
I roped my frequent writing partner, the brilliant and yummy D.J. Manly into writing it with me. I told him my idea.
He said, "A what?"
And here you have it. Fawnskin comes out on the 28th, the first in our new series set in this actual California town. I chose the name Fawnskin because I love the textured idea of it, plus it's a warm and friendly sounding name.
The town, however, like our story...hides much that isn't seen. Located in the mountains of Big Bear, a couple of hours north of L.A. Fawnskin has a rich history of being a stagecoach town back in the day. I was really haunted by this one-time artist's colony that is making a gradual comeback.
So often in gay erotic romance fiction, the locales are exotic or glamorous. I liked the idea of this story taking place in a town effected by the economy...but one in which there is also hope. Knox and Rallus are two lonely men who arrive to start new lives, meeting just as weird things start happening in Fawnskin.
Because in our book...the shomerim sleeps. And the dead they too, like their cream cheese.
For more information on Fawnskin, please visit Amber Quill Press:
Aloha oe,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Southwest, Kevin Smith & My Big Butt

I know you are all wondering just what that title has to do with writing. Well, it all started when I booked my flight on Southwest to the EPICon conference in New Orleans. See, I love doing the conference thing and it is one of the few guilty pleasures I do during the year for me the writer. My DH had free flights on Southwest, we decided to save our money and use them.

Then last week happened and the size of my butt came into play. I frantically called my DH, who happened to be in Vienna for business, with the latest news. I explained the whole thing to him and asked his opinion. In his usual diplomatic manner, he told me my butt wasn’t that big and I began wondering just what planet he had been living on lately. According to him, I should be fine.

I tell him again about Kevin Smith. After all, the man certainly has a little bit more clout than me. If they can embarrass him, they could do the same to me. I don’t do well in embarrassing situations. It really depends upon the day. I might just bite off their heads. I might just run away and go home because I don’t want to deal with them. I might just decide to drive the 1800 miles to New Orleans because they were asses. Or I might just pull out my credit card and purchase another ticket on the spot if forced to do so. After all, according to them, I can apply for a refund if the plane isn’t overbooked. How likely is that?

My butt has always been big even when I was thin. Yeah, big booty is in now but when I was younger, it wasn’t and the battle began. When I look back, I realize if I had only thought I was thin then, I wouldn’t be where I am today. And I’m on the right track, slowly losing weight. I mean it took years to accumulate and it might take me a couple to get it off...right? Or so I thought and I’m really proud of the 18 pounds I’ve lost so far. Each was a hard won battle and it helped me get my mind around the fact that I have to exercise as food has never been my problem, physical movement has.

Now back to Kevin and Southwest. I love Southwest and even own stock in their company. But I’m beginning to wonder what page most of those people are on because it certainly isn't the one I am. The world is getting bigger and things are getting smaller. Do they think that this will make people love them more, want to get on their planes? Whether we admit it or not, things will NOT change overnight for anyone who is overweight. So why aren’t airplane engineers, amusement ride makers or school desk builders looking at the big picture?

Fact is they aren’t. They aren’t looking at what is happening to the public but on the end prize...the money...the profit. How is that any way to live? Sure, they are accountable to the shareholders and the management but again, if the public can’t fit into seat, what makes them think the public is going to support their efforts?

And as usual, their solution is money based. After all, everyone can just purchase another seat, can’t they? Again, I’m wondering what planet some people are living on. People don’t have money right now and those who do are holding on to it. But it was a dilemma I wrangled with a while myself. If I purchased another ticket, that would be taking away from my conference money. I do need to eat and can get by on very little but money is a must.
Now, I’m wondering if the personnel at Southwest are scoping everyone out to see if they will fit into their 17 inch wide seats. Yeah, you heard me...just 17 inches wide. At this point, I’m almost frantic as I try to figure out if my butt will even fit into the seat. And frankly, I don’t know as I haven’t been on a plane in a couple of years. I do think I was the same size then as I am now as it was a Southwest flight to New Mexico.

I’m getting a body suit that’s guaranteed to make me look 10-20 pounds lighter and praying. A lot. After all, as a writer, I need the motivation that a conference provides. I need to have like minds around me and participate in the classes, the impromptu dinners and seeing friends I haven’t seen in a year.

Unfortunately, the big butt goes where I go but I won’t be purchasing that extra seat unless forced. It’s a matter of principle as I am who I am and the airlines need to realize what they are doing isn’t right. For any of us. Non-tolerance shouldn’t be acceptable no what the issue. People are overweight, so I’m not alone in this dilemma. And I don’t need them to point it out to me. I know and am trying to rectify the problem. I’m sure I can’t say the same about them.

I just know I’ll be in New Orleans, enjoying a wonderful conference.

See you all next week and have a great one!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Writer's Bump

Yes, you read that correctly. Writer's bump. I refuse to call my situation writer's block. I desperately need to finish my manuscript. I've got the chapters plotted out to a point, and I have the previous scene up on the screne to refresh my memory of what I wrote earlier. So I sit there... and I stare... and I blink to bring my brain into focus. Why can't I write down that opening sentence? Why is this so dang difficult?

It's not that I can't write a scene or entire chapter once I've gotten the first sentence done, because every seems to flow smoothly from that point on. But it takes so long to get my brain over that speed bump of creativity. My writing car just keeps rocking, and gunning its engine. Vroom...vroom... okay lady take your foot off the brake. Vroom... and then the engine stalls. Yeah. sigh

Last night, however, I pushed past the hump and finished a chapter and actually wrote a bit for the next chapter (which was supposed to be the last chapter of the book until the hero decided he needed more camera time--camera hog!). I wanted to keep writing but was late for a meeting. So I'll get back at it during my lunch break today.

Can anyone else relate to this issue? If so, how do you get passed the bump? Or am I just certifiably insane?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Olympic Moments

I’ve been caught up in watching Olympic Curling and Hockey this past week. As I write this Team Canada is about to play against Team USA in hockey. Yea! Go Team USA! During the pre-coverage of the game, the announcers were talking about the “Miracle on Ice” and it made me think of memorable Olympic Moments. The two that came immediately to mind were the “Miracle on Ice” moment in 1980

and Torvill and Dean’s ice dance routine in 1984 (which still moves me and give me chills as it had when I first saw it)

Then in the ’96 Summer Olympics there was the moment when Kerri Strug still vaulted with her bum ankle.
The other evening while watching men's curling I thought it was special how the audience sang the Canadian national anthem during the Canada v. Great Britain match.
What are some memorable Olympic moments for you?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

This ones for the ladies

Hello Ladies,

Now, I know that it's not Breast Cancer Month, at least I think it's not. However, I wanted to share something with you that happened to me recently.

As usual, I went and had the dreaded Mammogram done, because it's just one of those horrid things we women need to endue. You know what I mean. Any ways, they found a lump. Yes, you know I worried about it. Who wouldn't?

It turns out that it was just a liquid filled cyst. Nothing to worry about, thank God! Now, many of you may not know that I was laid off and don't have insurance so the cost came out of my own pocket.

When unemployed, Mammograms can be expensive, and if you need extra tests done, like I did, it comes down to which bill will get put off to cover the tests needed. Believe me, I've been there and done that!

Here's the thing ladies, while doing some research I found out that there are numerous places available to help us, unemployed women cover the cost of these tests.

In my area there's two places that offer voucher's - Catholic Charities, and the Breast Cancer Center at Baylor. Check your local hospitals or better yet call the Susan G. Komen Center and ask them if there's a place around you that offers assistance.

No one in their right mind wants a Mammogram, but the excuse of not affording it, just flew out the window.

Now, there's no good reason not to keep up with your annual boobie check!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lessons in Erotica

By A.J. Llewellyn

I am often asked by readers and interviewers what I have learned as an author of gay erotic romances. I've learned a lot. So much in fact, I have assembled a top 10 list of Lessons in Erotica.

10. I am no longer shy using words like 'penis' in public. Yes, I walked into an adult boutique the other day to purchase penis cupcake pans as gifts for a couple of readers. The store assistant called them pecker pans. They're penis pans, woman. PENIS! It took me a long time to be comfortable with this. When I first started writing my books, I went to Circus of Books and felt like a deviate when I asked, "Do you have a movie called Fuck Holes?"

9. I no longer wait until a store is half-empty to ask the clerks what gay movies are hot. I ask the customers. Although I still don't like the ones that rub up against me. Guys who rub up against you in adult book stores are not hot. They are usually creepy, smell and missing several teeth.

8. I feel quite comfortable discussing sex in public.

7. I am no longer shocked when readers email me with sex questions. I'm no therapist but I like to think I give good, I mean advice...

6. I am stoked when readers ask me about sex scenes and ask if I really tried the licorice rope ties in Shipwreck Bay or the Popsicle blow job lessons in Summer Love. The answer is yes to both.

5. I am not above a bit of shameless self promotion, such as mentioning book titles. See Number 5 above.

4. I love it when readers email me quirky sexual experiences they've had, especially when they tell me I can use them in my books. Quirkiest one yet? The reader who told me he came just by his lover licking his ear repeatedly. I haven't tried it yet but one of my characters did. He rather enjoyed it. I forget which book right now. Sorry. Missed opportunity for another bit of shameless self promotion, drat the luck!

3. I no longer get irate when church-abiding people who find out what I write make moral judgments about me and my books, especially when they haven't read them. I just feel sorry for them. I go to church too, but I don't tell them what to do in their bedrooms, but I can imagine fisting and water sports are part of their secret regimes...

2. I no longer get upset when I get bad reviews. That's what voodoo dolls are for. (Kidding)

And the number one thing I have learned...drum roll please!

1. I am in the fortunate position of being able to tell supermodel Adam Killian to please remove ALL his clothing. And he does!! Yeah, baby! Unfortunately only cover photography is involved, but still...what a thrill.

What have you all learned from writing and/or reading erotica?

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It’s All Good

I bet you’re wondering just what I’m talking about here. Well, I’ve decided to put a positive spin on life and everything. Hence the picture of a quite park in the middle of London where I enjoyed an afternoon of no stress. This is the reason I’m veering away from my usual and giving you all a little update.

Last month, we had a major roof leak, which necessitated in us calling our insurance because the darn thing was leaking from at least seven places. Now, you’re thinking that I live in the desert and right you are but in January 2010 during the week of the 21st, we had five days of rain. Count nearly blew my mind. I couldn’t even remember when we had that many days of steady rain. It had been years.

Since then, I’ve had the insurance adjuster out here and am very unhappy with the amount they gave us for damages. The fact is the roof is flat and over 40 years old. A flat roof in the desert is bad unless it’s made from natural products and not synthetic like this one was. And now it’s bowing. Sigh. But I’m taking the stance that it’s all good and it will because I will finally get the new roof I’ve always wanted. LOL!

Along with that, my youngest received some devastating news regarding his graduation. No, he’s going to graduate but just not where he thought because his counselor dropped the ball then blamed it on him. He was depressed for quite a few days until he could put it in perspective and he’s decided not to fight what happened even though my DH and I were willing to try and make it right. He just wants to get to college and play basketball if he’s lucky.

My computer got a virus the end of January which put a halt on me doing things like submitting finished products and critiques. Actually, it had two viruses and three trojans and the bad part is that I don’t know where they came from at all. So I turned it over to my computer guru and things are slowly returning to normal as I don’t yet have my standalone hard drive back. I should have something over the weekend.

My last thing is two-fold: One, I placed this year on the Preditors and Editors Poll. This is a coup since I didn’t really push for votes or anything. I mean, I knew I was on it but I really didn’t think much about it. At any rate, I placed #20 in the Erotica category for An Elf’s Love and #18 in the book art category for More Than Robotics. Rather on that last one, Martine Jardin placed as she’s the one who designed that lovely cover for me and I’m thankful for her doing so. Two, I’m up for Love Romances Cafe's "Best of 2009" Award Best Sci Fi/ Futuristic Book-2009 More than Robotics published by eXtasy Books. I also have some great friends up for other awards, C.R. Moss and A.J. Llewellyn, two fantastic authors. Check out the top of this blog for information on how to vote. You have no idea just how jazzed I am for these two little things.

So that’s the update on my life. All of us are healthy, we aren’t starving, my husband’s job is solid but we’re not sure about the oldest’s, who is expecting twins, still, life is good. And even though the DIL was in the hospital over the weekend, the twins are thriving...we can’t wait to meet them...LOL!

Let me know how you’re doing these first month and a half of 2010...I might just give you a book...LOL! I’ll see you all next week!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sleep Talking...Cat???

I have a blog I check out every morning call The Sleep Talking Man. Some of you may have heard of it, if not, I suggest you check it out because it's hysterical! A woman started recording her husband's sleep talking then posting his sayings on the blog. One of my favorites is: Don't put the duck there, it's totally irresponsible. Put it on the swing, it will have more fun.

Anyhoo... I know many people who talk in there sleep, even know those who walk in their sleep. I'm one who will talk, giggle, jump up in bed frantic over dream spiders, yell at my husband for eating all the donuts. Yep, I fully admit it.

And then there's the snoring. I don't snore I occassionally snort. My husband snores periodically, as does my cat. But just recently, we discovered that my cat Susie has a new talent. She talks in her sleep.

I know, you're scratching your head trying to figure out how a cat can talk in her sleep. Well, okay, so she's not quoting from the encyclopedia, but she meows and murmurs and grumbles. And she doesn't do it in hushed kitty tones. Heck no, she belts those yowls midnight! I thought the talking was reserved to early morning. However, yesterday she was sleeping on my lap as I worked on my newest novel, and she started whimpering. I thought she was in pain so I started petting her. Then she started chattering/chirping and kicking her back foot. She was totally asleep. Weird!!

Ah, if I only had a kitty-dialect translator... I'd start my own Sleep Talking Kitty blog.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Many Shades of Kadian Tracey Romance

Hello Everyone!

First I'd like to thank my lovely host(esss)(e)s C.R Moss and all the other authors here at the Many Shades of Life and Love for having me. I promise to try and be good--hopefully they won't come back to having the joint smoldering *crosses fingers behind back*.

Happy belated Valentine's Day and to everyone who celebrate the Chinese New Year I have to say "Gong Hei Fat Choi!" --the Chinese New Year Gala was yesterday so yeah--anyways. A little about me. My name is Kadian Tracey but some of you may know me as Kendra Mei Chailyn. No matter what name I write under though I write predominately interracial romance and as you may have seen I ADORE mixing cultures to the max. I have an associates in Radio Broadcasting and I am currently finishing up my university career then I have to actually become a real adult *sobs* I have about two and a half month to go before I graduate with my B.A! I am published with Devine Destinies, Red Rose Publishing and DCL Publications as Kadian Tracey--Anyways--

Today I shall be speaking about the Many Shades of Romance that I write. I believe strongly in the saying "if the good lord didn't want us all to mix he wouldn't have created us all" got that one from a friend of mine when I was in high school. I do not understand why people always say to me "you should stick to your own." What in the hell does that even mean? My Own? I mean--what is that? I think love is as my website says--true love is colour blind. It shouldn't have anything to do with the colour of your skin or your background. I always try to find cultures that you probably wouldn't normally see in a romance and kinda just stick em in. I am trying to find cultures that normally fight with each other, stick em together and sit before my computer with that smarmy look on my face, arms folded, eyes twinkling thinking "HA! Now you're in love--lemme see you fight! muahahahaha!" Yes I do get carried away at times but that's being creative---right? -------right?

So a few years ago I wrote a christmas story titled "Coming Home for Christmas" and submitted it to this one publisher. I was quickly told to change the main male character from Indian (India) to Native Indian because the way it was written it wouldn't sell. Colour me shocked! I am still so hurt that I am still sitting on the story. Needless to say, I haven't submitted anything else to them because let's face it, I take offence to a reasoning like that. If the story didn't fit their category all they had to say was that it didn't fit. Anyways, I've never published with them and won't in the future for that one reason. Ok--so here are some of my main Shades so far--

Shade One - Black
So my first Kadian Tracey release with Red Rose Publishing is titled "Desert Protector" and I think I sorta had the fans of "Sheikhs, desert Princes etc" having heart-attacks all over the joint--why? Instead of making the story like every other Sheikh story I've ever ready with the Sheikh kidnapping the Caucasian, blond woman, taking her back to his castle and making mad, passionate love to her I flipped the script. My Desert Prince is sexy--yes but the female is a kick ass sistah with a couple of guns and a short fuse! Talk about a complete departure from the norm!

Shade Two - Chinese
My latest release, A Lover's Wish--has an African American female and a Chinese Male--*gasp* let me tell you how shocked some of my 'friends' were when they saw the cover! I released it first on my private facebook and boy-howdy were they shocked! With that story I aimed to kinda step smack dab in the middle of the myths that 'Asian males do not like black girls" or that "Asian male has small---" well, you know *blush*. I mean who came up with those bull? A good man is a good man.

Future Shades
This is where I add all the characters I want to use in the coming future:
Indian (not Native Indian but Indian as in Indian etc)
And I'm pretty sure I'll add to this list in the future...Ok, so below is my trailer for a Lover's Wish

Oh before that: My Links
When Doves Cry (my blog):
My website -
Facebook: Kendra Mei Chailyn

Well, I must go--Don't want to keep ranting--thanks again and remember, True Love is colour Blind!

Kadian Tracey

Doing a happy dance! ~ part 2

Last week I mentioned my nomination in the following category: Best Series 2009: Si’Ludo Prophesy Series for the LRC awards and that I’d share voting information with you today. Here are the details:
Voting for the LRC's "Best of 2009" Awards begins today FEBRUARY 15th and
ends on FEBRUARY 22nd. To vote, email Dawn at dawn_roberto AT yahoo DOT com ( with "LRC's "BEST OF 2009" Awards" in subject. If this is not in the subject it will not be counted. In the body of the email please state you are voting for the Si'Ludo Prophesy series by C.R. Moss for the ‘Best Series 2009’ category. All entries are to be in by 2/23/2010.
Your vote is much appreciated!

The Si'Ludo Prophesy books are available at
~ Postponing Eternity ~ Book 1
Facing one's past, present and future along with discovering the use of supernatural powers can be challenging
~ Prelude to Eternity ~ Book 2
Only she knows what the past means for the future.
~ Into Eternity ~ Book 3
If she fails, it will be the death of her love and maybe of them all.

Hugs and love to all my fans/readers! Thank you all for your support!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Love Story

The other day during dinner, my daughter announced, “I have a boyfriend.”

Even though she’s only eight, my husband immediately got a panicked look on his face. “What do you mean a boyfriend.”

Daughter rolled her eyes. Funny how at third grade she already has this move perfected. “You know, Daddy. A boy who loves me.”

“I’m sure you don’t mean he loves you,” I told her.

“Oh, but he does. You see I was running on recess and he was running too. We ran into each and fell on the ground. As soon as we got up, we looked at each and...” she paused for drama as she put a hand to her heart”…it was true love.”

I should point out that my daughter has a speech delay so it came out as “Trew lub.”

By this point my husband was so worked up I thought he was going to piss kittens. “You’re too young for true love,” he argued.

“Oh, but Daddy it is,” she sighed.

“What’s his name?” I asked, as I got up to pour my husband a strong drink.

Daughter scrunched up her face. “I don’t know his name. I just call him Bad Boy because he’s always in trouble. That’s okay though, because all girls like the bad boys.”

I poured my husband a double.

The love affair lasted a whole week before there was trouble. Daughter came home from school, threw her backpack down, then fell back on the couch in a dramatic fashion that would have made Scarlett O’Hara proud. “I had the most terrible of days.”

“Really, what happened? Did they run out of your favorite ice cream bars again?” I barely looked up from my computer, because quite frankly there is always tragedy where she is concerned. I’d be worried if she didn’t come home with tale of woe.

“Bad Boy and I broke up!”

Now that did get attention. After all it’s not every day “trew lub” is thwarted. “Why? How? When?”

“We both got in trouble in recess line for talking. I told him it was his fault. He told me it was mine. Then we got mad and broke up.”

Now I was the one panicking. How should I help her get over this loss? Do I get her ice cream? Chocolate? A sappy chick flick? “Are you okay?”

She shrugged. “I think so. After all, there are way more boys in my class than girls. I think I’ll start searching for a new boyfriend tomorrow.”

“Another bad boy?”

“Nah, I think maybe this time, I’ll pick someone who is more quiet and doesn’t get in trouble all the time.”

True to her word, the next day she had a new boy in her life. I met him at the class Valentine’s Day party. She was right, he is nice, quiet and totally under her control. I wonder how long this love affair will last?

-Stephani Hecht

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I arrived in Pasco yesterday afternoon for Radcon 2010, a science fiction/fantasy convention. This is the second time I have attended one, and although I quite enjoyed the first one better, so far, it is still a fun time. I love to see all the people who get really into it, which is most of them, in their extreme costumes and such. I even saw one woman carrying a huge live snake, YUCK, I slid past her quickly and down the hall. I am not a snake fan.
One great thing I have found about these events is that most everyone is so friendly and helpful. I have run into very few people who are not happy to be here and happy to talk with whoever they happen to be around. Everyone is brought together for a common interest, and they are excited to share that with others.
I have had the good fortune to attend these as a pro and able to sit on panels and do readings and such. I love it. Especially because with my books being e-books it is hard to find opportunities to advertise yourself in person. This is a great way to interact with readers and get your name out there. Let people know you exist, it is something I struggle with finding new ways to do this from my computer at home.
Short post this morning, because I must get ready for my panel this morning. Have a wonderful weekend everyone and a happy Valentine's Day tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

First Lines, Last Lines

Last year I did a talk for my local RWA chapter on first lines and last lines and how important they are for your story. Here’s a copy of that talk. Hope you enjoy!

Great First Lines, Thought Provoking Last Lines

What makes a first line great? What ending line does a novel need to have you thinking about it six months after you have read it?

Let’s explore what an author needs to have those unforgettable first and last lines.

Great First Lines

Here are some great first lines.

1. Call me Ishmael.
2. 124 was spiteful.
3. A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.
4. It was love at first sight.
5. You better not never tell nobody but God.
6. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
7. Last Night I dreamt I went to Manderly again. All children, except one, grow up.
8. Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
9. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
10. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
11. 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.
12. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
13. The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.
14. It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York.
15. Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were - Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter.
16. Harry Potter was a very unusual boy in many ways.
17. We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall.
18. Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.
19. Damn, I’m going to lose another one, MacKenzie thought as she beat the steering wheel with her first.
20. Grandma Bennett looked at her granddaughter, Abbie Kincaid, and wondered where she went wrong.
21. No one knows where we came from really.
22. He had always been in this cage in one way or another.
23. What the hell was I doing on this off-planet hell hole?
24. “So…you really don’t know where your underwear might be?”

Why are first lines so important?

The first line sets the tone of the novel, everything else of the story will follow from it. If the first line isn’t something an author can feel in their gut, it’s probably wrong.

The things a first line must or should do are:

• They tend to state something unusual
• They tend to show someone under stress (If you’re planning to write about a nun who has a sudden crisis of faith, don’t start with a barrage of gunfire. Start with something religious. If one of your main characters is going to kill someone, that death will shape their lives forever. If one of your characters is a time traveler, how they handle what they see and experience will decide the course of the story.)
• They must be appropriate to the story
• The first line of a novel should describe the moment when the rest of the novel becomes inevitable. Anything less is just a hook.
• If you really know where you're going as an author, the first line will sum up the whole story.
• They must make the reader want to read line two.
• First lines should be, clever, thought-provoking, draw the reader into an unfamiliar world, bring a smile to the readers face, poignant, setup a mystery, use words in a beautiful or wonderful way, introduce a character, or any other number of things.

Thought Provoking Last Lines

Here are some great last lines:

1. ‘It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.’
2. Are there any questions?
3. Go, my book, and help destroy the world as it is.
4. After all, tomorrow is another day.
5. He waited for someone to tell him who to be next.
6. He loved big brother.
7. While I knew I would miss things about Earth, this was where I belonged, exploring things with those I loved and with whom I would spend the rest of my life.
8. “Remember me,” he whispered and gently kissed her before her eyes closed.
9. “Problem is, I think she’s kidnapped me.”
10. So that, in the end, there was no end.
11. While our origins may remain a mystery, our need for companionship isn’t. We need each other to continue fighting, to complement our weakness, to provide that which we cannot provide ourselves. And still we watch and wait but with each other, protecting those innocent worlds from an evil they cannot conceive. An evil only we can combat, together.
12. All this has happened before and all this will happen again.
13. The door is closed.
14. In those final moments, we loved a lifetime.

Why are last lines so important?

• If you’re writing a series, it’s the platform for going onto the next book i.e. cliffhanger.
• The last line is meant to wrap up the novel or short story.
• Last lines make people think.
• If your last line is for a mystery, the mystery must be solved.
• If your last line is for a romance, there must be a happily ever after.
• A great ending ties all the loose ties together into a neat and concise finale.
• It makes your readers want more

Here’s a little exercise for you all to do.


Write a great first line for each of the following scenarios:

A woman realizes her child is missing.
A family realizes they have missed their plane.
A woman is thrown into the impossible situation of playing someone’s fiancĂ©.
A man’s wife, who he didn’t love any more, has died.
Someone realizes that they don’t have long to live.
The first time a person sees the universe from outer space.

Write an ending for the following:


Bibliography and Websites

LeGuin, Ursula K. Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew. The Eighth Mountain Press, Portland 1998. ISBN 0-933377-46-0

Now, the person who can identify correctly the most first and last lines will get a copy of my latest ebook or a book of their choice. Or if you finish the lesson, I’ll do the same. Good luck...see you next week!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Is That How You See Me?

Have you ever heard someone give you a personality description of yourself that surprises you? What about describing yourself to someone and they are adamant you aren't like that? Who really knows you better, you or your friends/family?

I have had conversations where I said I am antisocial and don't play well with others. This personal feeling has been refuted by multiple people who say I'm outgoing and superfriendly and funny.

Yes, when I'm in a group I can act like an idiot, make people laugh, include those wall flowers in the festivities. Weird/random people approach me on the street/in the parking lots/at work/at casinoes just to talk. Apparently, I give off an "I'm really friendly to puppies" vibe that I have no idea I'm projecting. Waiters tend to look to me as if I'm the decision maker of the group.

Here's my thoughts. For me, people see what I think I'm letting them see, and not what I truly feel. I see myself as a homebody, a hermit. If I had the choice I would hide away in my house with my husband and cat and never venture out into the world to be social. Why? Well because my husband has seen me at my absolute best and my absolute worst. He still loves me even after watching me throw up all night, or being the target of PMS rantings. He knows all my secrets and still stays married to me.

There are very few people I feel I can totally relax around, and even fewer I feel I can trust with my inner thoughts.

What I really want to know is who is right about me? Am I the happy person who can always make a joke, or am I the antisocial hermit-girl? I know, I can be both. I guess what tweaks me is when people tell me I don't know what's in my own head. "No, you're not antisocial, you're a people person." I'm a people person because I have to be at times. But trust me, given the opportunity to be a people person or stay hidden in my cubicle playing Bejeweled during lunch, darn right I'm playing my game. Door is closed, don't poke the bear.

Unless you're giving that bear chocolate. Ooh, or wine. Ooh, ooh, how about chocolate AND wine? Give me chocolate and wine and I'll be as peoplely-persony as you want me to be. LOL

Monday, February 8, 2010

Doing a happy dance!

Having hit a few lulls this past week and experiencing a case of Writer’s Doubt, I had been at a loss on what to write about for my blog. Then I received an email from LR CafĂ© stating, “Congratulations, you have been nominated in the following category: Best Series 2009: Si’Ludo Prophesy Series.”
I was stunned and excited and all sorts of things. I wanted to shout woo-hoo at the top of my lungs but didn’t think my hubby or cat would have been appreciative of the noise. What a joy it is to know someone thinks highly of my work and wanted to include it in the running for an award this year. I’m thrilled to have received the nomination. A big thank you to Dawn and the others at LRC!
Voting will begin next Monday (2/15) & I’ll send out details then, but for now I wanted to share the great news.

The Si'Ludo Prophesy books are available at
~ Postponing Eternity ~ Book 1
Facing one's past, present and future along with discovering the use of supernatural powers can be challenging
~ Prelude to Eternity ~ Book 2
Only she knows what the past means for the future.
~ Into Eternity ~ Book 3
If she fails, it will be the death of her love and maybe of them all.

Hugs and love to all my fans/readers! Thank you all for your support!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Will Work For...Saucepans

By A.J. Llewellyn

So with the economic slump still in force (no matter what the TV pundits claim) I took a catering job this week and found it was grueling but fun work. I am a food whore so this was also a side benefit, free eats.
I was amazed at the array of catering staff. There were four writers, five actors, a poet, a musician, a war vet...but I was particularly tickled by a woman I shall name Zelda who is a hooker. Not just any hooker. Zelda has a niche field.
She whores out her titties (her words, not mine) and for around $100 allows guys to come over and jerk off into her er...massive assets. Zelda is proud of her ability to eke out a living with her breasts, but now that she too is experiencing a 'slight financial crisis' she refuses to corrupt her niche by having actual sex with her clients.
Business isn't bad she told me, except that some guys have been finding it difficult to come up with cash. So Zelda, being another food whore, will work for saucepans. Yep, saucepans. She told us that she's given discounts to regulars (a nice thing to do when you work in customer service) but newcomers who ask her to reduce her rate are scolded. One guy told her he had a brand new ten-piece saucepan set he'd give her in exchange for her services.
She asked him to email her a pic and he did. The entire wait staff at this big Hollywood shindig stopped working to examine the pic as she showed it to us on her camera phone.
The pans looked good to me but then what do I know? I'm much more interested in what is going on inside a pot than outside of it.
She told us the client went to her house and had his fun and she kept her eye on the prize: the saucepans. He's going back next week with a George Foreman grill - not really, I just made that up, but really, it got me thinking.
The saucepans cost way more than a hundred bucks and were unopened. Where did he get them? Did he pinch them from his wife? A store? Did they 'fall off the back of a truck?'
"I gave them a good washing," Zelda said. "Not that I cook much, but they look so pretty in my kitchen."
This didn't make sense to me. "Why didn't you sell them on Ebay if they're new and worth good money?"
She looked embarrassed. "I took them into one of those Ebay shops. they wanted 30% of the sale and they told me they probably wouldn't sell too good because of the shipping charges."
She became upset when other people mentioned Craigslist and Pennysaver.
"I made a good deal," she shouted. "I got expensive saucepans."
Yes, that to her are apparently completely useless.
"Is there any cooking utensil you wouldn't work for?" Our boss asked her. He said it jokingly but she took it seriously.
"Potato peelers," she said. "I already got way too many of those."

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Planning and the Writer

This week I want to talk a little bit about planning. I’ve been in RWA some twenty years and I have learned all ways to plan and scheme and put it down on paper.

I’ll be honest, I’m a pantser by trade and I usually like it this way. Lots of writers are, so I know I’m in good company. But in all honesty, there are times when I do have to plan whether it be a story to fit an anthology or a much longer series.

Most of my plans start with a germ of an idea. Sometimes it will start with the title or the characters themselves. I almost never start with what is going to happen in the story except I know I want the characters together. Otherwise, there is very little plotting going on here. This is where I’m starting and no more.

There are tons of great places to learn how to plan. Most are called bootcamps and they can be great. The one I took through Rose Colored Glasses was fantastic and I happened to use their technique on a series I was planning at the time I took the class. Their technique involves a lot of spreadsheets and really digging into the characters. You look at all sorts of motivation of each character and make sure you have it down before even putting one word down on paper. It was one of the best yet hardest writing classes you’ll ever find. And inexpensive to boot! Here’s the website for you to look it up:

One of my favorite planning techniques is to write down what is to happen in each chapter. This is a very easy and simple but effective way to plan without really planning. I use this technique most often and just love it but it satisfies the pantser in me. When I’m writing a story, I do occassionally get stuck and don’t know just where I want to go. At that point, I think about just how many chapters I plan to have in that particular story then I make a page in the story file for each of those chapters.

Next, I look at where I am and I already know I want to accomplish a great ending. Then I start making the logical steps from the point I’m at in the story to the end I want. Sometimes there are five items per chapter, sometimes twenty. But what I’ve done is much, much more because I’ve basically given myself a roadmap to the end of the story.

Those are the two techniques I use when writing and there are thousands more. Here’s a few websites I’ve found useful:

One other thing I’d like to mention. While planning and plotting do go hand in hand, I see them as mutually exclusive in this case. I can plan novels without all the plotting detail that some writers require. It really depends upon your style. I’m a pantser and my planning is minimal where if I was a plotter, my planning/plotting would be intense.

Hope that helps some new writers out there. Let me all know just how your planning sessions are going as I'd really be interested! See you all next week!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Instant Gratification

No, I'm not talking sex. Not today, anyway.

At my critique group last night we talked briefly about being impatient and wanting instant gratification. One would think since I had to work for things, and actually had to wait for Christmas/birthday for that one special at-the-time-desired item, that I would have learned patience and the value of waiting for something. Right... No, I grew up, got a job with my own money and was able to start buying what I wanted, when I wanted. Instant gratification.

Why am I babbling about this? Well, after the meeting last night I pondered all the way home this need for IG. Why in heaven's name did I become a writer if I want/need/demand IG? For the torture? Sadistic tendencies? Who the heck knows. If you figure it out let me know, okay?

Honestly, it's not like we can blink and have a finished story in our hands over night. Writing a full length takes months, or even years depending on how diligently we work on them. And after the writing is done, there is the editing process. Yeah, there's another over night process. Snort! Then we've got to write the dreaded synopsis and query letter, and the submissions! Oh, Lord, the submissions! We suck up the courage to put our babies out there for an editor or agent, and (GASP!) have to wait WEEKS for a response. How dare they not take one peep at our query and not know instantly that it is the next big seller. Again, SNORT! (insert sarcasm here!)

Recently I found there are some houses who will not respond at all if they aren't interested. And I completely understand this practice and wish I could use it. But, here is the problem. What if the submitting author is a complete neurotic (raising hand and waving). That author may take the abject silence and think 'what if they didn't actually received that manuscript' not, 'oh, they must be rejecting the story.' And then they submit the same story again. This could go on and on and on, with never a response. Does said author take the hint? Heck no, they pick up the phone and call the agency wanting to know if said manuscript was received, effectively severing their writing career before it even starts the engine.

And before you ask, while I confess to be neurotic, I'm not psychotic enough to repeatedly email the agent/editor the same query over and over, nor am I career-suicidal enough to call the agency/house for status on the query.

My neurosis blooms more in the path of "I sent out my query. Oh, crap, it's been two days. They must hate the story. And I'm rejected." Then I look at the email submission and realize I have a misplaced comma in the GREETING of said query. GAAAH!!! Farewell, writing career, I shall miss thee...

Hey, I admit I'm neurotic... I just didn't tell you I was insane as well. But then, if I didn't have a touch of insanity, how could I ever hope to survive the world of writing?

Monday, February 1, 2010

I'm in love

With my newest book cover for an upcoming release. The artwork for Beautiful People was done by Angie Waters and I think she did a tremendous job with it. I love all the different layers in the pic, especially the eyes under the title.

This psychological suspense erotica story is slated for release on March 1. Contains m/f & m/f/m scenes.
Here's a sneak peek:

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing
From William Shakespeare’s Macbeth


“What’s on your mind?”
The gentle words floated on the air behind him. He turned from the window and looked at the beautiful woman standing a few feet away. Sunlight streamed in through the open panes and played on her hair, turning the long wavy locks to flowing golden honey. Her pert nose on her heart shaped face crinkled when she grinned. It was an endearing sight and he considered himself lucky to have such a beautiful and kind person in his life.
“Out there,” his dry voice cracked from overuse. He titled his head toward the window, then presented his back to her, not wanting to talk about anything any longer. The past several days had been rough, horrible to tell the truth. The truth. Now that’s a laugh. No one wanted to hear the truth or tell the truth. It was all so tiresome.
“Come now. You know you can talk to me.”
He snorted. Talk. That’s all they ever did anymore. He wanted more. He closed his eyes against the blue sky, the park across the street where beautiful people strolled along manicured paths and sat on benches feeding the birds. Closed his eyes against humankind. Life would be so much better if it had been different. Many times he wished it had been. He opened his eyes and went back to studying the world beyond.

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