Monday, January 31, 2011

LR Cafe's Official Winner List for Best of 2010 Reader Awards

Here is the complete and official winner list from the LR Cafe's Best of 2010 Reader Awards.

*Note-any winners/runner ups who want a button to sho off can contact Dawn at dawn_roberto@yahoo(dot)com. Honorable Mentions do not get a button.

Best Contemporary Book-2010

Winner: 'This Can't be Love' by Debra St John
Runner Up: Keeping Promise Rock by Amy Lane
Honorable Mention (no button): Hunting JC by Dominique Eastwick


Best Fantasy Book-2010

Winner: Glimpses by Lynn Flewelling
Runner Up: Omarati by DC Juris
Honorable Mention (no button): Branded by Clare London

Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Book-2010

Winner: Micah by Joyee Flynn
Runner Up: Witch's Fire by Tabitha Shay
Honorable Mention (no button): Motor City Fae by Cindy Spencer Pape

Best Historical Book-2010

Winner: Raeliksen by Renee Vincent
Runner Up: Laird of the Mist by Foery MacDonell
Honorable Mention (no button): Texas Promise by Celia Yeary

Best Thriller/Romantic Suspense/Mystery Book-2010

Winner: Fire and Ash by Anne Patrick
Runner Up: Blood Pond by DJ Manly
Honorable Mention (no button): Written In Blood by Elaina Lee

Best Paranormal author

Winner: Stormy Glenn
Runner Up: Joyee Flynn
Honorable Mention (no button): Adrianne Brennan

Best GBLTQ Author

Winner: Josh Lanyon
Runner Up: Stormy Glen
Honorable Mention (no button): Joyee Flynn

Best GBLTQ Book-2010

Winner: Lust and Fae by Joyee Flynn
Runner Up: Caught by Surprise, LD Madison
Honorable Mention (no button): Blaque/Bleu by Belinda McBride & A Taste of Love by Andrew Grey (TIE)

Best BDSM Book

Winner: Two Masters for Samantha by Michele Zurlo
Runner Up: Masters of the Shadowlands 4: Lean on Me by Cherise Sinclair
Honorable Mention (no button): A Matter of Trust by A.C. Katt


Best Anthology/Multi-Authors Book 2010

Winner: Chameleon Wolf by Stormy Glenn and Joyee Flynn
Runner up: His for the Holidays by Josh Lanyon, LB Gregg, ZA Maxfield & Harper Fox
Honorable Mention (no button): Doms of Dark Haven Anthology

Best Science Fiction/Futuristic Book-2010

Winner: Slave Auction by Stormy Glenn
Runner Up: The Starlight Rite by Cherise Sinclair
Honorable Mention (no button): Soothe the Burn by TA Chase

Best Book Cover

Winner: Raeliksen by Renee Vincent & Spencer's Secret by Joyee Flynn (TIE)
Runner Up: Oracle by RJ Scott
Honorable Mention (no button): Taste of Passion by Savannah Chase

Best Erotic Book

Winner: Keeping Promise Rock by Amy Lane
Runner Up: Taste of Passion by Savannah Chase
Honorable Mention (no button): The Distance between Us, L. A. Witt

Best E-publisher-2010

Winner: Silver Publishing
Runner up: Samhain Publishing
Honorable Mention (no button): Dreamspinner Press

Best Shape-shifter Book-2010

Winner: The Cat’s Meow by Stormy Glenn
Runner Up: Avoiding Hell's Gate by Joyee Flynn & Changing Their Wolfen Heritage by Missy Martine (TIE)
Honorable Mention (no button): Deadly Mates 2: Wings of Moonlight by Scarlet Hyacinth

Best book all around

Winner: Spell Kissed by Kari Thomas
Runner Up: Cowboy Boots and Unfinished Business by Natalie Acres
Honorable Mention (no button): Love Means…Freedom by Andrew Grey

Best Vampire Book

Winner: Love’s Indecision (Warrior Camp#2) by Joyee Flynn
Runner Up: Lover Mine by JR Ward
Honorable Mention (no button): The Vampire Hunters by Scott Baker & MIA Case Files: Blood Relations by KC Burn (TIE)

Best Series

Winner: Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward & Marius Brothers by Joyee Flynn (TIE)
Runner Up: Love Means… by Andrew Grey & Men of Smithfield Series by LB Gregg (TIE)
Honorable Mention (no button): Ancient Prophecy Series by Leiland Dale

Guest Author Day with Taige Crenshaw

To get us started can you tell us a little about what you are working on or have coming out?

Power of Attraction, book 1 in my Blackstone Haven series releases today.

Indigo Rain, book 1 in my Phoenix Intelligence Agency will be released on March 14, 2011.

I just submitted a few days ago Power of Instinct book 2 in the Blackstone Haven series. Started working on 3rd book in the Blackstone Haven series. And 2nd book in the Phoenix Intelligence Agency.  I’m working on some joint projects.  There are a few surprises I have in store for the series. I’m also self editing some books in my series that I have at various publishers. It is going to be a sizzling and busy year. LOL.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Yes I am an avid movie fan. Love all types of movies and make plans to go see them when they are coming out. 
What is the hardest scene you have had to write (published or not)? Why?
Wow that is hard. Hmm… well when I have to write a scene that makes people cry. I love to bring out all the emotions but I find myself crying as I write it and I have to stop before I can continue.
If you had a reporter follow you around for the day, what would the readers get to see in your daily schedule?
If I’m writing then they would see me growling when the phone rings then taking it off hook to not be disturbed. My family running knowing not to come near me when I am writing. And random moments of me dancing when I get a scene how I want it. LOL.
When you begin your stories, do you go with the flow, or go with an outline?
Flow all the way. I tried outlines and the stories don’t ever go like how I outline. So I’ve given up on outlines.

Is it hard coming up with titles or characters names?
No. I have a file with titles and characters name. I collect them. 
What does your workstation look like?
Notes on the world I’m working in and characters sketches. Research books that I need. And music and the TV playing in background for noise. 
When you're not writing, what do you like to do to just kick back and have fun?

I love to draw. I’m an avid seamstress. I can whip up an outfit quick if I have to go someplace special and have nothing to wear. I love to cook. I’m a voracious reader. My library in my house and on my computer is massive. That’s one of the first things you notice when you come to my house.  

Do you ever experience writer's block? If you do, how do you cope with it?

No. Thankfully. My mind is always racing with ideas.

Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?

Oh yes. I loved reading. And used to make up my own stories and perform them in front of my family.

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.

Peyton and Wesley are two complex characters who have so much to face.

Peyton Blackstone is a natural born witch who has to face her family legacy, destiny, and a prophecy that could mean her end. When she meets this man she is taken with him but he has some hidden shadows. He has some things he must face. When they find out what it complicates an already tenuous situation.

Wesley McCarty is a man on edge. He thinks he is losing his mind. With unexplained blackouts and mysterious absences he doesn’t know what is going on. Meeting Peyton he thinks she is an illusion but when he realizes she is very much real he won’t let anything stand in his way to make her his. No matter what he must face he will. But what happens when his own problems come front and center. He is shaken. His beliefs shattered. Can he look past all he learns before it is too late.

There is so much riding on the outcome of what they do.

I wrote the book because I love building worlds and Blackstone Haven came to me as I was working on another world and it was so fully formed I put aside what I was doing and went with it. 

Is there any books coming that you are itching to read (either electronic or print) from your favorite authors?
There are too much to list. I read a lot.

If you were to replenish your cabinets with one junk food, what would it be?
Marshmallow. I love them.

What is one thing scientists should invent?
A way that when I think of a story it writes as I think it. LOL. I could get so much done. 

Are you a morning person or a night person?
An all day person. I’ve been know to get up early to write then sit all day and write through the night to next morning. LOL. 

Where can readers find you on the ‘Net?
My Website:

My Blog -

Chat Group ~ Crenshaw Café -

To sign up for my Newsletter ~

Satin Notes (Free Reads):

Sneak Peek into Power of Attraction
Book one in the Blackstone Haven Series

A man will come to you in the darkest moon. The trees will shade and protect your union of the soul. Before the final step to merge your body is taken, a choice must be made.

Peyton Blackstone, a natural born witch, knew from the prophecy that accompanied her birth that a man would come to her. Yet, when the man who is set to be her’s arrives, Peyton isn’t ready for him or the ramifications his coming will cause. This man who deals with reality has a few secrets of his own - secrets that could very well destroy them both.

Wesley McCarty believes the woman he meets under the moonlight is not real. Suffering from unexplained blackouts, he believes he is losing his mind. When he sees her again, he realises not only is his fantasy woman real, but she is within his reach. He must have her, no matter the cost. Nothing will stop him. Not his blackouts, or any legacies or prophecies. He will have this woman who sets his blood on fire and completes his soul.

Legacies, destiny, and prophecy can not withstand this power of attraction.

Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series


Wesley was amused by the look of fury mixed with distress on Ian’s normally affable face. He turned, interested in seeing the person who caused such a reaction. Shocked emerald green eyes stared at him. His heart skipped a beat.

Wesley hungrily took in the woman from the forest. She was real. He wasn’t losing his mind. Unconsciously, he took a step towards her. She backed up a step.

Fury filled him. She had run from him once, and she wasn’t doing it again. With a determined stride, he closed the space between them and grabbed her arm. She tried to shrug him off. He changed his grip and yanked her against his body. A shudder racked him as their bodies touched. The scent of cinnamon and vanilla he had thought he imagined cloyed around them. He felt her shiver in reaction. Her eyes heated then went cool.

A click sounded behind him. Absently, he looked away from her compelling gaze. He stilled at the sight of the gun trained on him. The wrath in the other woman’s amber gaze let him know she was waiting for an excuse to blow him away. Her features, so much like those of the woman he held, told him they were somehow related.

The woman in his arms moved against him. The feel of her soft breasts against his chest drove all sane thought from his mind. He turned and jerked her up into his arms.

“Wrap your legs around me,” Wesley growled.

The woman’s eyes narrowed, but she clamped her legs around his waist.

“Don’t order me around.” Her husky voice stroked along his senses.

He put his face close to hers. “Don’t give me reason to.”
She jerked back. He clamped his hands on her ass to hold her against him. She stilled. Wesley gritted his teeth at the feel of her jean-clad mound against him. His mind flashed to the forest and their kiss. He saw the answering flare in her green gaze.

Copyright © Taige Crenshaw, 2011.
All Rights Reserved, Total E Bound.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Book Review: Protect & Serve: Badge Bunny by Cynthia Sax

I heard so much about Badge Bunny on the loops and blogs that I had to read it, just to see what all the fuss was about. Needless to say, what I found had me hoping there was a sequel coming in the future. Author Cynthia Sax's contribution to the Protect & Serve multi-author series at Changeling Press that had me giggling one minute and the next squirming in my seat.

Now when I saw this cover I was drooling all over the dang keyboard. The cover alone had me eager to see if the story would match it in hotness and I am happy to say it did.

Now onto my review of Badge Bunny (Protect and Serve book) available at Changeling Press.

Officer Drake is human though you can say he also has a few modifications. He’s a genetically enhanced human and oh can’t forget…he is a cop as well. Designed to serve and protect, he gets more than he bargains for when he finds himself knee deep in a mystery with the sexy bunny shifter, Hunny Lapin. She is the one woman who has Drake’s number and before long, these two are engulfed in a passion that flairs into something much more. What is this super cop to do but do his job and love every passionate minute?

          BADGE BUNNY is one hilariously fun book to read on a cold winter’s afternoon. Officer Drake had me drooling all over the keyboard with his alpha male sexiness and the sparks that flew between Hunny and Drake had me checking the computer screen time and again to make sure there were no smoke coming from it. Author Cynthia Sax delivers a story that had me at times laughing out loud and then the next, squirming in my seat. All those sexy scenes had me wanting a cold shower to cool off. The writing was tight, the passion was so hot I almost ran outside into a snow bank and the characters were delicious. If there is an Officer Drake running around, can he please come by my house to protect me?

          Officer Drake is an enhanced human, one who can break werewolves in half and run faster than speeding car. He lives to serve and protect andh e has his job cut out for him when he is drawn into the world of Hunny Lupine. She is a bunny shifter who finds something going on with a vampire mob boss that puts her life in jeopardy. These two heat the pages up in BADGE BUNNY and I, for one, loved every minute of it. Drake is pure sex on two legs and his alpha male approach had me whimpering in delight. Hunny is a woman not afraid to go after what she wants and she wants Drake. The characters are well rounded and really kept my attention till the very end of the book. There were some wonderful secondary characters that had me giggling at times and kept the story flowing smoothly.

          BADGE BUNNY is a hot, fun tale that will keep you flipping the pages until the very end. With the right amount of sexiness, lust and characters that fairly brim with life, Ms. Sax delivers a story that will leave you breathless. I am really hoping this author returns to Officer Drake and Hunny Lupine in the future. If you are looking for a short, hot story to heat your day up, I highly recommend grabbing BADGE BUNNY.

Guest Author Day with Rachel Brimble/Excerpt

Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?

I live in the UK with my husband of thirteen years and our two daughters. We are lucky enough to live between the gorgeous Cotswold countryside and the Georgian City of Bath so we have the best Southwest England can offer! I write across the romance genres, everything from suspense, to contemporary to Victorian historical.

Please tell us about your latest book.  What can we expect from you in the future?
Getting It Right This Time is a contemporary romance set in the fictional town of Foxton, England, published by Lyrical Press. Here's the blurb:

She's back, but this time she’s a mother…intent on protecting her young.

Two years after her husband’s death, Kate Marshall returns home seeking security and stability for her three-year-old daughter. But when her path crosses with ‘the one who got away’…her husband’s best friend, she has to fight the desire to be with him for the sake of further heartbreak for her and her daughter.

A tough, straight talking theatrical agent, Mark Johnston is dangerously handsome, exceedingly rich, irresistibly charming – and branded by the tabloids as one of the UK’s most eligible bachelors. So even though Mark lost the girl of his dreams to his best friend, he finds no hardship in being single. Or so he thought.

Determined not to lose her a second time, Mark has to find a way to convince her they can work.  But can Kate cope with the media interest and ruthless, money-hungry clients surrounding him, being anywhere near her daughter?  Or accept that Mark Johnston is really the family man he claims to be?

My next book has just been contracted by Lyrical Press. It's called Paying The Piper and it's another contemporary romance but with a darker more grittier feel and underlying subject matter. It is due for release in September and I can hardly wait!

 How do we find out about you and your books?
I am usually guest blogging somewhere but here are my links:
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
A lot - I think all writers consciously and unconsciously include their experiences/feelings within some parts of every piece of work. There might be something of your personality in every character on the page in some shape or form. The trick is not to let people who know you, recognize themselves or you!
When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
 I've always wanted to be a novelist but it was when my youngest daughter started school that I began to think, it's now or never. I knew if I didn't start a book when I had the house back to myself for a few hours every day, I never would.
Now I work part-time at an insurance brokers too but still manage to write at least 500 words a day - that's my absolute minimum.

What is your normal day like?
Up at 7am, kids sorted and out the door for school (I walk the youngest daughter with the dog!) and then back and write for an hour before getting ready for the day job. Day job 10-2pm. Hours writing. Walk dog back to school to pick up youngest. Hours writing. Dinner. Bath-time. An half hour writing. Family time (usually involving kids/TV and a sofa!)
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Eleven - I knew I wanted to be a journalist or novelist.

Where do you get most of the ideas for your stories?

Everywhere, but mostly TV shows or news stories. Something will catch my interest and I wonder what I would have done differently than the real or fictional characters did. And then my characters start talking to me and I'm off writing the next book.

What are some of your hobbies?
Reading, knitting, walking - I'm quite a quiet person until I go out with hubby and/or friends and then after one or two glasses of white wine, I am the complete opposite of quiet!

Who are some of your favorite authors, and if we were to visit your home, what books would we find on your bookshelf, end table, floor or e-reader?
Nora Roberts, Jodi Picoult, Phillipa Gregory, Jilly Cooper, Martina Cole, the list goes on. As for what you'd find, all of the above and probably fifty other authors as well. I read anything and everything.

If you could be any character of any book or movie, who would you be?

Ooh, that's a tough one! I like all of Nora Roberts heroines. I think she gives them great stories and fabulous leading men. I would happily live one of their lives and deal with all their problems and end up in bed with one of those lovely leading men!

You’re on a remote island with a handsome man, a computer, and a “mysterious” source of electricity to power your computer. What do you do?
Use him as research for my next book, of course - the question is whether I venture into the erotic romance genre or not…
Which do you prefer:
Denim or Leather on a man/woman/significant other?
Irish or Italian accent in a man?
Front seat or Back seat to make out in?
Back seat
Dark eyes or Light eyes?
Sleeping bag or Bed?
Dinner or Movie for a first date?
Coffee or Tea?
Chiseled jaw line or Chiseled abs?

Sneak Peek into Getting It Right This Time
Available at Lyrical Press
Contemporary Romance

She’s back, but this time she’s a mother…intent on protecting her young.

Two years after her husband’s death, Kate Marshall returns home seeking security and stability for her three-year-old daughter. But when her path crosses with ‘the one who got away’…her husband’s best friend, she has to fight the desire to be with him for the sake of further heartbreak for her and her daughter.

A tough, straight talking theatrical agent, Mark Johnston is dangerously handsome, exceedingly rich, irresistibly charming – and branded by the tabloids as one of the UK’s most eligible bachelors. So even though Mark lost the girl of his dreams to his best friend, he finds no hardship in being single. Or so he thought.

Determined not to lose her a second time, Mark has to find a way to convince her they can work.  But can Kate cope with the media interest and ruthless, money-hungry clients surrounding him, being anywhere near her daughter?  Or accept that Mark Johnston is really the family man he claims to be?


“You came.”
She lifted her eyes to his. “Didn’t you think I would?”
“Oh.” His gaze lingered over every inch of her face, and Kate’s cheeks warmed under the soft study in his eyes. “Aren’t you going to sit down?”
He started as though remembering where he was. “You look beautiful.”
Her heart lurched in her chest as Kate forced herself to keep her eyes on the clear hazel of his. “Thank you. You don’t look too bad yourself.”
He smiled and reached for the menu. Once he was sufficiently engrossed, Kate picked up her own menu and opened it like a shield. But she didn’t read the offerings, instead she used the advantage to surreptitiously check him out. Peering over the top of the leather-bound pages, her gaze wandered over the charcoal gray suit, the open neck collar of his snow-white shirt and the casual style of his newly washed hair. He looked up and she quickly looked at the menu.
“Do you know what you want?” she asked quickly.
“I knew exactly what I wanted years ago.”
She snapped her head up, the menu slipping from her hands. His unwavering gaze burned straight through her skin and flesh to her very center. An intense heat flared behind her breastbone and between her legs simultaneously. She opened her mouth but no words came, and the only sound stretching between them was her pathetically feminine struggling gasps of breath. She couldn’t take her eyes from his and knew he would recognize her shock, her confusion…and worst of all, her desire. His fingers lightly touched hers.
“Kate, I’ve wanted to see you for so long…”
“Yet you never contacted me for five years.”

Guest Author Day with L. K. Below

Almost since the moment I first put my pen to paper, I’ve been challenging myself to try something different, to try something new. I’ve explored different points of view, different methods of storytelling, all in search of something else I haven’t tried yet. It has, in fact, been my secret desire to complete something that no one has written yet.

Along the way, I broke into the regular genres, too. One of which is erotic romance. I currently have two releases out -- His Familiar Touch, a paranormal in the Paramourtal anthology, and Unveiling His Princess, a fairytale-like historical out with Liquid Silver Books. While I was writing these and the others currently under contract, I started to think to myself. What hasn’t been done? And it came to me.

When I first proposed an erotic romance written in verse to my critique partner and good friend, Gina Gordon, she told me to finish one of my many works in progress. When I turned to the other advisor in my life, my boyfriend Travis, he told me not to bother (but then, he despises poetry). For a long time, I kept the idea shrouded in the back of my mind, packed away in a dusty little box.

But one day, it sprang forward again, this time with a call I couldn’t resist. After a few days of furious writing, His Smoldering Eyes was born. I took a scene which I could have written as a short, quick story, and instead, I wrote it in verse. After all, falling in love is a poetic thing.

And now, without further ado, I’d like to offer it to you, absolutely FREE. To read this book or download it in PDF form, click this link.*

In return, I’d like you to do something for me. I’d like some feedback on this piece. Is erotic romance written in verse a genre that shouldn’t see the light of day? Or would you read (or buy) more books like this, written in the various subgenres? If you’ve read this book, please email me at lbelow(at) and tell me: Yea or Nay? Was this a success or should I continue to write more conventional romances (or both)?

L. K. Below writes romance and speculative fiction. Under her full name, Lindsay Below, she pens books suitable for the young reader in us all. Find her online at or on her blog at

*The link should lead to:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Guest Author Day with T. M. Hunter/Excerpt

Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?

I usually stick with writing science fiction short stories and novels, simply because I like the freedom that comes from creating my own worlds, my own species, all from scratch. Granted, there has to be enough realism so that people don’t toss a story aside, but from that point on, the sky (and beyond) is the limit.

Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?

I read a lot of books growing up, but I wouldn’t say I was an avid reader. I enjoyed science fiction, but I think the Hardy Boys series (both the original and the “Casefiles”) were my favorites. Character-driven stories were (and are) always big in my book, which likely explains how my own stories turned out the way they have.

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.

My latest, Seeker, involves my series character and space pirate Aston West facing off against a female mind-reader. Well, mind-reader is a bit of a misnomer. This woman can actually invade a person’s mind to find all of your inner-most secrets and demons. Aston’s been around a while, and has been part of plenty of nefarious schemes. For someone to be able to discover all the misdeeds he’s done, and turn him in for reward money, would be a disaster.

My inspiration for this story actually came from a publisher’s call for novellas. Unfortunately, they were looking for a bit more romance than I was able to provide, but ultimately, the story I’d developed was one that struck a chord with me and so I stuck with it. Now, I can share it with my fans and new readers alike.

Did your book require a lot of research? How long does it take to write a book for you?

As I mentioned, part of the beauty of writing the stories I do is the freedom to explore. There isn’t that much research that I need to do, other than maybe a refresher through my past material to avoid discrepancies and the like.

The time it takes for me to write a book varies. Seeker was actually one I finished in about six months or so (total working time). Some of my other pieces have taken a little longer. My third full-length Aston novel, for example, has been in the works for about six months, and is still just on the second draft. Life has a habit of getting in the way sometimes. Seeker was helped by having a deadline imposed upon me upfront. Maybe I need to find some way to have people impose a deadline on me for all of my material? *smile*

What do you see for the future of publishing and e-books?

I believe that publishing is going to be changing forever, with e-books becoming the prominent editions which most readers choose. I’ve been around long enough to remember when e-books were first coming onto the scene, and unfortunately, the publishing climate wasn’t ripe for them. Now, the entire landscape has changed. Miniaturized electronic devices are commonplace for our entertainment (movies, music, and now books), an entire generation has now grown up knowing nothing but the internet, and probably most importantly, we’re in the middle of an economic crisis that has impacted almost every person on the planet.

The fact that book readers are now comfortable with these electronic devices makes them a prime target to take off as the primary format for reading books. The fact that most e-books only cost a few dollars make it easy for readers to try even more books than they might have when a paperback would be three times as much (let alone hardbacks being even more).

What does this mean for authors such as myself? It means there’s going to be a boom in e-books being purchased, and those who have great books at prices readers are willing to pay are going to reap the benefits. Readers are going to be looking for material to fill their Nooks and Kindles and other e-reading devices (heck, I have a short-story collection available as an app for the iPad and iPhone, who would have figured?). It’s going to be a great time, and I can’t wait to see it all come about.

Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her/it/him when she/it / he refuses to inspire you?

I generally have a decent relationship with my muse. On those rare occasions when the inspiration falls short, though, I usually end up doing one of several activities. Either I go and do some editing (or submission paperwork) that needs to be done, or I put together a list of submission locations that I need to send material to. If nothing else works, I then go and let my mind vegetate through movies, television or video games.

Do you have another book in the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?

I do in fact have several projects coming out in the future, and in work both. I’m currently working on edits of my third (in the series) Aston novel. Hoping to have that done and ready to submit sometime this year, after which I’ll go to work on the first draft of the fourth. In the queue already, my short story collection DEAD OR ALIVE is coming out in a print version shortly (and you can see the first glimpse of the cover art here -- the first time anywhere!). On the burners of the stove, I’m actually working with some folks on some comic book scripts from the Aston West universe (which is ready-made for comic and other visual media formats). Hopefully that will come to fruition soon, but we’ll see what happens.

Have you ever experience weird cravings while you write? If so, what kind?

Can’t think of any. Mostly I seem to crave distractions, at least it seems so. Any time I write, I find myself getting on the internet, watching television, or balancing my checkbook. This may explain why it takes so long for me to finish up manuscripts.

Which do you prefer:
Denim or Leather on a man/woman/significant other?
Really depends on the person. I love seeing my wife in denim, even if she thoroughly hates wearing it. She has the figure that denim seems to accentuate. However, there are some people I know whose figures I would prefer seeing in leather. But let’s go with denim, because trying to explain that last sentence to my wife might make for a long, cold and lonely night on the couch. 

Front seat or Back seat to make out in?
Depends on the car, I’d say. I’m a big fan of manual transmissions, and despite what some particular websites out there might lead a person to believe, there’s really nothing sexy about attempting to navigate around a stick shift. So, one would think the back seat would be a big winner. Unfortunately, I’ve had several cars that say they have a back seat, only to reveal the fact the manufacturer made the wrong choice between giving us extra trunk space or claiming a passenger capacity of four. Even back in the old days, trying to make out in those back seats made for terrible leg cramps and skull contusions. I vote for the back seat, but only if the car gets single-digit gas mileage.

Coffee or Tea?
I can’t stand coffee unless it’s thoroughly drowned in cream, sugar, and other artificial flavors, so I’m going to have to go with tea. We used to have an excellent tea shop here in town that we would frequent twice a week (the only days it was open). Sadly, they decided to close up the storefront and switch to their internet business full-time. I really miss that place, but I still love their tea. Make sure to visit them at

 Sneak Peek into Seeker by T. M. Hunter
Buy at Amazon HERE

Space pirate Aston West has been in trouble with the law before, so thinks nothing of a random cargo check. That is, until the authorities reveal their ace-in-the-hole, a female mind-reader they call the Seeker. She could unravel every illegal deed he's ever committed, putting him in risk of losing his freedom or even his life.


My senses were assaulted with an overwhelming aroma of honey. The mixture was a rare delicacy out here in the depths of space, something I’d only had a few times in life. I looked off to my left as the lieutenant started off in the opposite direction. A woman faced me, shimmering black dress brushing along the floor, her breasts jutting out against the fabric. A hand-crafted shawl was draped across her shoulders, the same color as her fire-like tresses, making it hard to tell where the garment ended and her hair began. Her eyes were two milky white globes against a face of smooth, pale skin. Her petite frame seemed as though it would break just by looking at her.

And look I did.

It wasn’t often I stood this close to such beauty, let alone caught a woman’s stare. At least I assumed she was looking at me. Those milky globes haunted me, somehow conveying warmth despite their cold, empty appearance. It was a shame she was so out of place standing between her escorts, a pair of tall, armor-clad monsters.

A bright flash blinded me. Quick glimpses, images, random visual fragments bombarded my vision. Two bodies, intertwined, slowly came into focus.

Then, blackness collapsed it all.

Massive pain radiated through my skull. My sight slowly returned to normal, and I found myself chest-down on top of the cushioned floor panels. I was back on-board the assault ship.

“Move, scum,” a familiar voice spat above me.

I climbed to all-fours and looked back at the red-haired vixen, fear in my eyes. What just happened? The woman’s forehead creased as I stood.

The armored guard gave off a deep belly laugh. “She’s already in your head, isn’t she?”

It finally made sense. This was the seeker the lieutenant had mentioned.

The bastard kept up with his jubilation, speaking to his comrades behind him. “She’ll crucify him.”

I kept my eyes on the woman and my mood turned from bad to worse. I had no idea what she was capable of, but she could get inside my head, and that scared me to death. I was privy to a lot of information not meant for anyone to know, much of it illegal activities. I’d mistakenly thought my present innocence would lead to freedom. Now, it seemed past misdeeds might be my downfall.
Fear building, I followed the officer, who watched with a subtle laugh under his breath. He hadn’t reprimanded his subordinate this time, which meant I’d used up my one get-out-of-being-assaulted-free card.

He let loose his chuckle. “Afraid of a pretty woman?”

I didn’t bother to answer, instead figuring out my options. I couldn’t fend off another mental invasion.

In other words, I was screwed.

Visit T. M. Hunter at his website HERE

Friday, January 28, 2011

Guest Author Day with Xavier Axelson/Ex

Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?
I’m Xavier, some guy who has managed to carve a crazy career in the adult industry that has lasted over 15 years.  I have worked as a female phone sex operator, dungeon master, porn star talent agent, and as the assistant to an infamous Hollywood Madame.  Now I write a sex advice column on, work for a leader in sexual technology as a product educator and write for m/m erotica for Silver Publishing.  It’s a long way from the cornfields in Connecticut

Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?
I was a voracious reader as a child…I am told I pulled books through the bars on my crib!  I would simply die if I couldn’t read.

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.
My latest book is called “A Valentine for Evrain” and I was inspired to write it truly because I am reading The Mists of Avalon and LOVE Arthurian legend and wanted to write something where my main character had an Arthurian style name, hence the name Evrain.

Did your book require a lot of research? How long does it take to write a book for you?
Can I be honest?  I did no research…I actually wrote the entire thing in one sitting, well that’s a lie, I did do a little research into Arthurian names.

If you could have any vice without repercussions, what would it be?
What do you mean?  Vices HAVE repercussions?  I’m screwed…

If you could have been the servant to any famous person in history, who would that be and why?
Anne Boleyn because she was the ultimate rule-breaker; she loved and lived how she wanted and challenged not only people but government and religion. 

What so you see for the future of publishing and e-books?
I think the future IS e-publishing, sadly, as I am a HUGE book lover, but for environmental reasons I see the necessary transition and am slowly but surely coming around to it.

Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?
I love all the men I have written since I have started writing Romance/Erotica. They are like friends that are lined up outside my house waiting to come in.  I am always surprised when they arrive and always sad when they leave.

Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her/it/him when she/it.he refuses to inspire you?
My muse is temperamental…so we are well suited.  She is NOT however above confronting me when I am being wishy washy with the writing.   She just says, “write or don’t write…but don’t fuck with me.”

Do you have another book in the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects
I have completed 2 novels.  One is a psychological horror piece called “The Succumbing” and the other is called “The Elementals” which is a Gay-Horror-Romance.  I am also working on a “men in uniform” short story and also trying to figure out where to submit this cowboy short story I have begging for attention.

Have you ever experience weird cravings while you write? If so, what kind? 
I have cravings ALL the time…writing or not, I am a compulsive craver

For Fun, pick three to five questions to answer:

Which do you prefer:
Irish or Italian accent in a man?  Irish

Dark eyes or Light eyes?  Dark

Sleeping bag or Bed?  Bed

Dinner or Movie for a first date?  Dinner

Coffee or Tea?  Tea

If you got three wishes from a genie, what would they be? (They can be silly, serious or in between).
1.      World Peace
2.      Money without consequence
3.     More wishes

If you could spend a day with one actor/actress, who would it be and what would you do together?
Sharon Stone and we’d probably shop for ice picks.

What is on your bucket list to do before you pass from this earthly plain?
To go to Sweden and write a bestseller…short list…

 Sneak Peek Excerpt into A Valentine For Evrain
Silver Publishing
Coming in the Never Say Never Anthology

 There was this assistant principal: sweet-lipped, early thirties, whose unconscious habit of wearing tight pants caught not only the interest of the town’s conservative population but mine as well, both for entirely different reasons. But I knew I'd bend him and, boy did I. He came in searching for something one night after school. He looked wild-eyed, caged; I know what a man wants when he looks that way. He said he was originally from the city, his eyes shifting hungrily, as if consuming the exotic spread of the store. I watched him inhale the sweet caramel smell of chocolate, cinnamon, lavender, and me. He did not know he wanted it, didn't know what it was that made his hands grip the counter, but I knew.
"I'm heading over to see this girl." His eyes scanned the counter top, the various chocolates underneath teasing him. "I thought she'd like something, thought it'd be gentlemanly."
I remember nodding, thinking, yeah, yeah I have heard it before, drop and give me 20. Instead I just smiled, cut two slices of dark-chocolate ginger bark and handed one to him. Ginger makes one think hard about heat, lust, fucking. I ate my piece and watched for his reaction. We both started to sweat. I wiped the back of my neck, and he grabbed a napkin from a stack on the counter and swiped it across his forehead. There is nothing hotter than watching a man submit to the unknown. I have heard that the thrill of skydiving is not so much in the jump, but in the fall.
"You ever skydive?" I asked him, as he began pacing my tiny sugar-infused domain. He didn't answer just kept sucking on the bark, his teeth gnawing at the confection as if it held the answer to the question I had just asked; the tight khakis revealed his erection. I could see the confusion in his face. He didn't know why he was hard. He looked down, betrayed by his body’s reaction. He knew I was staring and turned away; this only gave me a better view of what I wanted most. His ass was round, full, sensual for a man's body. I knew he’d never had anyone do anything to it. I spit a piece of ginger into the trash, reached down, and felt my own stiffening monster. I knew I'd fuck him the minute I laid eyes on him months before. He could pretend, pace, sweat—it was all gonna come down to one fateful moment: one push over the edge, falling, spiraling downward into a delicious oblivion. He would move back to the city, of course. He would learn he could not get what he really wanted from this place. I remember laughing at that moment, and his angry reaction.
"You think it's funny?" He spat, the ginger was working. "You think I like working in this shit hole. Small towns, small-minded backwards…"
"Hey there, this is my home you're talking about," I arched an eyebrow and reached for another piece of the bittersweet, dark-chocolate, ginger bark, "small minds, and all."

Thursday, January 27, 2011



Ah ha! Bet you are thinking this article is all about coffee or cream or even the juxtaposition of the usual into the unusual.

Z: Huh?
A: Go with it...
Z: Ooookay!

Well, we're actually going to discuss a book's backstory. Think of your novel as coffee and your backstory as cream. You usually add just a bit of cream to your coffee not the other way around, except for Zi, but that's a pot of another kettle.

Z: Huh?
A: Go with it...
Z: Ooookay!

Anywho, many novice writers are so anxious to share their research and development, they bog down the opening with as much information as they can.

Z: By the way don't you drink tea?
A: That's not the point...
Z: But....
A: Do you want to write this?
Z: Thought you'd never ask. (With a hip bump moves Angelica's chair aside until he is settled before the keyboard.)

The backstory is a vital part of plotting. It stimulates the story, and gives the characters motivation. After all, each character has a past and present, and a certain amount of that has to be conveyed. And, even though you might know the characters inside, backwards and upside down, the reader doesn't need to hear about the protagonist's fifth grade science project that blew up spewing purple dye all over Mrs. Greenspan. Unless, of course, it is vital to the story's conflict.

A: Hey wait, that wasn't a backstory but an actual event. You were in sixth grade when that happened, weren't you?"
Z: lawyers have adviced me not to discuss the case. It's still under investigation.
A: (Gives him that look that suggests insanity)

So, here are a few key factors to K I S S (Keep It Simply Simple) your way to the perfect amount of backstory.

While creating your character, make their history rich. Make certain you write down everything from your characters' most embarrassing moments to who they took to the senior prom and if they prefer chocolate to mud pie crimple ice cream, and then, don't use anything but that which is pertinent to the story. Plus, only go back in time as far as is necessary. The opulence of your character will come through just because you know them so well. It will shine in their speech, their mannerisms, and the way they think.

IT -
There is always that IT factor in every story, the thing that is the crux of the story. For the present conflict to exist there must be something in the backstory that is relevant and must be told, and sometimes in great depth. Still, sprinkle it in, slowly, a bit at a time. It's like adding sugar to that ole coffee. Too sweet and people will make a face, or in a narrative just get bored and put the book down.

There are simply some great places you can add backstory that work better than others. The prologue is usually a good spot to drop a few spicy tidbits like cinnamon in your brew. Here you can tell rather than show more easily than anywhere else in the story. Using the character's memory is another great tool. Something current can trigger a recollection. Also, a flashback is a great method of allowing the reader to see what had happened to create the present circumstance. One of the most basic conduits for the backstory is dialogue. Characters can reflect, explain, and address basic aspects of the plotline all while sitting across from each other having, well, a cup of coffee or climbing Mt. Everest, all depends on your story.

Remember simple is better. Don't be so enamored with your backstory that you distract from the action. Too much of it hinders the flow of the story. What had happened to set the plot in motion needs to be streamlined. Pare down your paragraphs and pages of information to a single line. Sum it up and place it strategically in the prose.

The backstory is the stimuli and the foundation of the book, but it is not the totality of the story, nor is it the pure action that keeps the readers moving along. So, when you ask yourself if you want a little plot with your backstory, remember to tell yourself to hold the cream.

A: Huh?
Z: I'm just tying it in to the beginning.
A: But...
Z: Hey, how about a cuppa?
A: You buyin'?
Z: Don't I always.

We'd love to hear from anyone interested in what we do. Anyone who writes us at and leaves an s-mail address, we will send you a gift and add you to any future mailings.

Angelica Hart and Zi
Champagne Books can be purchased at

Cover Reveal and Giveaway~ The Guardian by Sarah Fine