Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Wednesday writing - what I got up to in the States

I'm back from my 12 days in The States! And boy did I experience US weather from sultry hot days in South Carolina (well, sultry for UK people like me who have had the wettest summer for 100 years! My friends found it quite cool), to stunningly autumnal (sorry, FALL!) leaves in Cincinnati (I love this picture of my friend Tatum!) to flying out just ahead of a hurricane in New Jersey!! If I had left it one day later I would still be stranded there………

The trip was busy from beginning to end. In South Carolina I visited cotton fields (see left), swamps, plantations, colonial towns and Fort Sumter (below). This latter was terrific as I had visited Gettysburg on a previous visit so it was great to do the beginning as well as the end of the Civil War! I was very amused by the man giving a presentation in the Provost Museum in Charleston who said that the 250 or so British soldiers who deserted at the end of the War of Independence were ‘warmly welcomed by the ladies of South Carolina!’

In Cincinnati I seem to have had a gastronomic extravaganza as we went to the Cheesecake Factory where I had a chicken salad which was four times as much as I would have served myself at home (and I am NOT exaggerating for once!), a cupcake shop, and an ice cream parlour where I had a black raspberry chip ice cream (yum!). (Actually the whole trip was food orientated as I was served biscuits and pork gravy in S.C – which seemed very much like our dumplings only with a crust – and pumpkin pie in N.J!)

Food aside, I did visit fountains and markets and lots of shops in Cincinnati as well as the magnificent art nouveau Union Terminal which was something straight out of an episode of ‘Poirot’ the British TV series which has been running for years!

Moving onto NJ (where I stayed with an old friend who would have killed me if I had gone to stay with just my new writer friends in the States and not visited her!) we went to the amazing Fonthill Castle in PA which looked just like a castle for hobbits with higgledy piggledy rooms, corridors and staircases! Add to this the ghost hunting trip we went on and watching some pumpkin carving you could tell the time of year I was visiting!!

I had a terrific time getting to know my two writer friends, Angela Wray and Tatum Throne who I was meeting in the flesh for the first time. It's one thing to get to know someone over email, and quite another to meet them in real life. I wonder if I was what they were expecting? (We'll see if I get invited back or not!). (And why are they both so short - I'm really quite small myself!!!)

I had a laugh when I emailed Tatum to say that I could quite get used to being called 'Miz Jen' and 'Mam' as Angela's kids called me. The southern gentility was quite wonderful. Her response was that they are a grouchy lot in the north! *sigh* it was nice while it lasted. What was amusing was the amount of people who told me how much they liked my accent, even down to one waiter saying 'cheerio' as I left the restaurant!

On the bad side I got an infected insect bite in South Carolina which spread to 10ins x 7ins and I thought I was going to have blood poisoning and have my leg cut off! Thankfully I arrived home with all limbs intact and my thoughts go out to all those I left behind now experiencing the full force of hurricane Sandy.

Oh, and another thing that happend was on my journey from Cincinnati to NJ the airport security decided to cut my lock to check out my suitcase (I would have opened it if they had asked!) I wonder what it was they thought was so suspicious?? The only thing disturbed was my bag of souvenirs including a certain object I had bought in an 'adult' shop. It wasn't that big! Nothing like the 14" one I was so tempted to buy..................

Thanks to all my friends for looking after me so well and giving me a terrific holiday (this last pic was in Walnford in NJ) – I just now need a holiday to get over the holiday……………..


Monday, 29 October 2012

Inspirational Mondays

I’m back from the States – and I’ll tell you how the trip went on Wednesday. In the meantime, a quiz on famous American authors. Can you tell who these ten are from first names only (answers at the end) and an extra point if you can name one of their books (no answers – you’ll have to look them up on Wikipedia!!):

Ernest …….

Mark …..

Louisa May …..

Tennessee …..

Harriet Beecher ….

Ralph Waldo …..

Edgar Allan ….

James Fenimore …..

F. Scott….

Harper ….


(Hemingway, Twain, Alcott, Williams, Stowe, Emerson, Poe, Cooper, Fitzgerald, Lee)

Friday, 26 October 2012

Friday Funny

Two buddies were sharing drinks while discussing their wives. "Do you and your wife ever do it doggie style?" asked the one.

"Well, not exactly," his friend replied. "She's more into the trick dog aspect of it."

"Oh, I see, kinky, huh?"

"Well, not exactly. I sit up and beg and she rolls over and plays dead."

Have a nice weekend.


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Wednesday writing - In the USA

By the time you read this I am half way through my trip to meet friends in the States including two fellow Siren writers, Angela Wray and Tatum Throne.

Angela was the first fellow Siren author I became friends with after joining them and we became very close when I helped mentor her on her second book, Collared: Ashton, which I am pleased to say came out in the Spring. It is so rewarding mentoring someone else and I regard her like a little sister now and therefore I am excited to visit her at her home in South Carolina. We are going to visit places like Charleston which, according to tourist info is a contemporary city with old-world charm, carriage rides and cobblestone streets.

As for Tatum, well she stalked me. Literally! (Her words!!) She started leaving comments on my blog, going in for competitions, emailed me, befriended me on facebook and even skypes me. However, I got my own back when I declared I was visiting the States and landing on her doorstep in Cincinnati! Actually, we get on extremely well and she is another friend I regard as a little sister, (particularly as she’s told me I can have full access to the mini-bar!)

Seriously, one of the things I am looking forward to is bouncing story ideas off of both of them. Angela and I both write BDSM, werewolf and ménage stories and Tatum and I both write contemporary MF stories – although Tatum’s latest (Stolen Moment) includes a very clever paranormal involving cursed objects, and she has also written her first MM (High Heat).


Monday, 22 October 2012

Erotic Writers' Lunch: a date with Janine Ashbless

This was actually tea in the afternoon a couple of weeks ago with Janine, one of my favourite writers of erotica who, when I met her at the Eroticon event earlier in the year, discovered that she actually lives near me! So we’ve met up a few times since then, but this was the first time I had visited her house.

Janine has three lovely dogs. Unfortunately when I got home I was persona non grata with my house rabbit – I had to bathe and change my clothes before she would let me through the front door!! But it was lovely to catch up with Janine who has been gadding around Europe all summer visiting places like Ravenna in Italy and Cyprus. Unfortunately that meant she’s had little time to get on with her writing L. We decided that life’s experiences helps with our writing so actually it was good. J

At the moment she is busy with her editing hat on working on the Geek Love anthology. Editing someone else’s work is a job in itself, but we both agreed that it can actually be easier than your own work because you don't have the attachment to it like you do to your own. On the downside she talked on her blog recently of the difficulties of choosing one person’s work over another in order to make sure you have variety in your anthology. (By the way I LOVE her blog, in particular her 'Eye Candy
Monday' pics are SO hot).

I was pleased to hear that she is working on another anthology of her own short stories, which I love – personally I think that’s where her strength lies. My all time fav is ‘Janissaries’ from Dark Enchantment. It is very dark and edgy. You feel guilty for being aroused by a story where the heroine appears abused but the tables are turned by the end. I can't say any more and that is probably giving too much away!

We talked about our writing being a second job as we are unlikely to ever make enough, or to be able to rely on it, to give up the day job, but it is more than a hobby as some people seem to regard our books.

How to promote your work, and how much time can you take away from your writing to do it, is a difficult one for writers. We both felt that ‘word of mouth’ is still the best promotion and building your readership. Also, having a good title like I did with ‘Submissive Training’ is good, particularly as it came out at the same time as Fifty Shades!

We giggled at the differences between British English and American English - in England we call it autumn but in America it is fall so, depending on where you set your story you may need to use the appropriate word. Brand names can flummox us British readers (and vice versa) if that brand is not known in the other's country. On the hand we felt we see so much American TV we understand a lot of American idioms, possibly more than the Americans do British ones.

Something else we laughed at was how, when we read other books, watch tv or see a play, we automatically find ourselves listening with the ear of a writer and critiquing it as such, thinking about how we would write it differently! They say at a doctor is the worst patient—well I think an author is the worst reader!

Do watch out for my blog at the beginning of December when Janine is my inspirational author of the month.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Wednesday Writing

By the time you read this I am on my way to the airport (or even in flight depending on which side of the Atlantic you are)!! If you have read my books you know I often like to include movie titles in my stories so with the theme of ‘romance while travelling’ in mind here are some scenarios:

Will I meet someone on a train who will ask me to do something bad (NO, not Strangers on a Train, I am talking romance…. Aka Brief Encounter. You’ll have to guess the rest yourself. Answers at the end). Is he the tall, dark and handsome guy who attempts to help me drive my speeding bus which has a bomb attached to it? Or will I meet the love of my love when I save his brother’s life on the train tracks? Alternatively will he be a little, but fun fellow involving a car with funny doors. Indeed he might be a Victorian gentleman whose machine takes me into the future. Or sticking with the same time period but swapping countries he might wheel me around on his handlebars to a song about rain.

But no I can see this rougish charmer in a galaxy far far away saving me from the dark lord in his spaceship. But talking of dark lords who wears rings will he instead be a tall, thin fellow of great majesty who will whisk me away on his horse? Maybe instead we will chug along in his boat overcoming rapids along the mighty African rivers? Or will he save me from the fires of Atlanta and drive me home in horse and cart telling me ‘he never gave a damn’ (bad quote! That makes it sound negative…..) as he takes me in his arms against a vivid red sunset (that’s better and my fav movie of all time).

So Angela Wray and Tatum Throne if I don’t turn up at the airport you’ll know I’ve abandoned you in favour of a guy (preferably a good looking hunk under the age of 40) who has whisked me away in some form of transportation ……………….


Answers: Brief Encounter, Speed, While You Were Sleeping, Back to the Future, The Time Machine, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, The African Queen, Gone with the Wind.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Inspirational Mondays - Extract for The Last Werewolf

The Last Werewolf is out and available to buy from Evernight Publishing!

For those wanting more inspiration – here is an extract:

The next item was an envelope. A very yellowed envelope, indicating it had been there a long time. It wasn’t that which surprised her, but the fact that it was addressed to her.
Why on earth would her father have a letter in his box for her? And why hadn’t he ever given it to her? Her brain flooded with questions she couldn’t answer. She shook her head. Well, there was only one way to find out. She had to open the letter, so she lay the glass down on the nearby chest of drawers.

To my darling tyttärentytär (granddaughter) Summer,

I am so sad that I cannot be there to hold you in my arms. My Emma sent me valokuva, photograph I think that word is. You are so beautiful, just like Emma when she was baby. She is so happy you are born. Never did I think she would take husband. And now she has lovely daughter.

“Granddaughter? This is from my grandmother?”
Utterly surprised, Summer glanced up at the address on the letter, having skimmed straight past it to read the body of the letter, and suddenly her legs gave way, and she slumped onto the chair. The address was in Finland.
“I have a Finnish grandmother? Wha—” Her jaw dropped in amazement. “Oh my God, that means my mother was Finnish too. Shit. Hell. Why didn’t Dad ever tell me?” She puzzled, and then laughed out loud. “Well, that explains my—our—fair coloring!”
Returning to the letter, her heart beat faster at the thought of having relatives again. Her father had been an only child, and his parents had died before she was born. She knew that her father had been about twenty years older than her mother.

I cry that you are so far away, but there are reasons why Emma will not come home. However, I think of you every day.

Summer frowned wondering what on earth the reason was that her mother had been unable to return to home, to Finland. There were so many possibilities. Perhaps she had run out of money and left for another country to find her fortune there. Or perhaps she had left her motherland for a man, falling in love and romantically abandoning her former life. Or maybe she had been in some kind of trouble, like protesting against firearm companies or fighting against global warming, or robbing a bank, or what if she was an international spy being hunted by James Bond and his ilk? She chuckled. There were indeed so many potential options, it was extremely intriguing.

But I am sure that my daughter can teach you ways of our life. To be ihmissusi —I had to stop and read letter from your mother. She uses the word werewolf. Such funny word. What I mean to say is it can be difficult for child to be one. However, when you turn into your susi, your wolf, for first time, nothing can be more exciting.

“What?” She sat stunned, her head spinning as she read that last paragraph in the letter over and over, and then when she could voice her thoughts it came out as a whisper, “My mother was a werewolf. My mother was the werewolf. The—” she stopped and read the word again slowly, enunciating it like a child sounding out a new bit of vocabulary just learned. “Ih-mis-su-si.”
Her father had rarely talked about the life of a shapeshifter, but one thing he had been clear about was that Summer was half human and half wolf shifter—a werewolf—not that there were other types of animal that a human could turn into, as that was only the stuff of stories as far as she knew. So that meant he must have been the human. No wonder he didn’t talk about being a shifter, since he couldn’t. Then something else struck her. “That means that I might not be the last werewolf. There could be others out there, in Finland.” Her jaw was practically on the floor in astonishment at this revelation. Her mind was a whirl of images, questions, sensations, all fighting for dominance, all threatening to overwhelm her already overladen emotions.
For several minutes she couldn’t do anything more than sit and let it wash over her. When she could compose her thoughts into some sensibility she looked again at the letter and saw that she had nearly finished reading it.

Your valokuva is by my bedside, and I kiss you every night. One day I hope to see you. But know, darling Summer, your grandmother loves you.


The overriding thought that was going through her head was that she knew beyond a doubt that she had to go to Finland. Her grandmother, her mummu she guessed would be the translation, may no longer be alive. Summer winced as she considered this, and a pang of sorrow hit her that she may have lost her only other relative before she had even met her. But there may be others in her family she could find, and that gave her hope, excitement.
She turned to a photo of her late father, which she had laid on his pillow next to her mother’s. “Hey, Dad. You know I have to go, don’t you? This was our home,” she said, waving an arm around the room. “But without you it isn’t the same. I need to find my family. I need to find more people like me.” Knowing that part of her was using this as an excuse to get away from her immense sadness, she still felt the urge to do this, almost an impulse. Other feelings like intrigue and anticipation were dampening down the rawer emotions.
Taking a look at the new picture of her mother, on the corner of which she had attached the ribbon, Summer added more quietly, “And I need to find out what happened to my mother and why she left Finland, her home.”

Also pop over to Sizzling Hot Books where Susan and I have written a blog about our collaboration on this book.


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Evernight Birthday Blog Hop winner

Thanks to everyone who took part on the birthday blog hop. It was a huge success and I nearly doubled the followers to this blog!

The winner is Kathryn Merkel. Everyone else's names have been forwarded to Evernight for the grand prize drawers so I hope you are successful there, if not on other authors' blogs.

If you liked the look of any of my books they are all available at Bookstrand - but if you particularly liked the look of 'The Last Werewolf' it is still at half price on All Romance Books website until tomorrow!

Thanks once again.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Evernight Publishing birthday blog hop

Welcome to the Evernight Publishing birthday blog hop!
Evernight Publishing opened its doors two years ago. In those two years we’ve signed over one hundred and sixty authors and published over three hundred books. From paranormal to contemporary, we’ve had more best sellers than we can count and made thousands of people smile, sigh and gasp. So, as a thank you to all our readers and everyone who has supported us, we’re holding this blog hop and we have a whole lot of prizes to offer you.

Here's how it works... the more blogs you hop to starting tomorrow 8 October, see below, the more chance you have of winning prizes. Each author on the hop is offering a prize and Evernight is offering the following grand prizes, a Kindle, a $100 Amazon gift certificate, two Evernight swag bags (which includes a tote, a tee, vouchers, a mug and other coolness) and a personalized Facebook banner. To be in with a chance of winning the author prize simply follow the blog you're visiting and leave a comment which includes your email address. Each entry on each blog is then counted towards the grand prize draw. The more entries you have, the better your chance of winning a grand prize! You also get extra points for liking the Evernight Facebook page!/evernightpublishing. Just make sure you let us know in the comments that you've done so.
Good luck and happy hopping!

Hi, I'm Jen - welcome to my blog. I will be giving away one e-copy of my new book due out on 12 Oct ('The Last Werewolf' co-written with fellow writer, Susan Laine). This is a contemporary paranormal story, a menage a trois (MMF).

Summer Harrison has just lost her father, and now believes she is the last werewolf in the world, or England at least. Going through his papers, however, she discovers an old letter from Finland which suggests there's more to the family story than that. Taking the initiative, Summer travels to Finalnd on a whim. She meets a Finnish man, Rikhard Linna, and the two are drawn to each other like magnets. Even though Rik confesses to still having feelings for his ex-boyfriend, Leevi Valo, their passion burns hot. Soon there won't be just one, but two gorgeous men hot on her trail across foreign soil.

During her journey of exploration far and wide through rural Finland, Summer discovers that uncovering the truth about her wolf heritage is fraught with peril. Abducted by a group of violent separatists and imprisoned in an old fort in the wilderness, Summer learns that perhaps it might have been safer for her to stay in England as the last werewolf.

Tell me which two countries our story is set in. Leave your comment and I will pick one winner at random on the 13th. Good luck! (and don't forget to check back to see if you have won!)

Friday, 5 October 2012

Friday Funny

The funny is wondering exactly how much I would actually have written this last year if I had to write the old fashioned away………………??

Have a nice weekend


PS there will be no Wednesday Writing or Friday funny next week but look out for amazing blog hop on Monday’s post as part of Evernight Publishing’s 2nd birthday celebrations.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Wednesday Writing

My next book is out next week – on 12 October - from Evernight Publishing. This is The Last Werewolf written in collaboration with Finnish writer, Susan Laine.

Summer Harrison has lost her father, and believes she is the last werewolf in the world. Going through his papers, however, she discovers an old letter from Finland suggesting there’s more to the story.

Taking the initiative, Summer travels to Finland. She meets a Finnish man, Rikhard Linna. The two are drawn together like magnets. Even though Rik confesses to still having feelings for his ex-boyfriend, Leevi Valo, their passion burns hot. But could one man alone satisfy a ravenous wolf like her?

During her journey through rural Finland, Summer discovers that uncovering the truth about her wolf heritage is fraught with peril. Abducted by a group of violent separatists and imprisoned in an old fort in the wilderness, Summer learns that it might have been safer for her to stay in England as the last werewolf.

Look out for an extract soon!


Monday, 1 October 2012

Monthly Inspirational Author Interview

I would like to welcome Marie E Blossom to my blog today. You may know Marie best as Erin Leaf under which name she writes ménage stories. She has chosen a new pen name for MF stories and I love the fact that she wrote her first one due out later this month specifically for her mom! (If my late mother had been alive she would also have read all my stories, after all, it was from her I got my love of romance stories!).

So this is for all the mom’s out there. Over to you Marie:

I can give you the boring bio: I’m an erotic romance devotee, the steamier the better. After years of devouring romance novels, I decided it was time to write one or two or a few, because I love that whole happily-ever-after thing. I also write erotic romance novels (ménage) under the pen name Erin M. Leaf.

… or I can give you the fun bio: The first time I set foot in Manhattan I never went above ground. I took a bus to the Port Authority then walked through a tunnel to Penn Station where I hopped a train to Connecticut. I was eighteen. Last year I experienced a hurricane, an earthquake, and blizzard within a month’s time (complete with power outages and crazy evacuations). I once set a calculus textbook on fire. I wear five earrings in each ear.

Tell us about your latest book.

Oh, I’m really excited about this one! It releases October 23, 2012 from Evernight Publishing. I adore my hero and his girl. Here is the “official” blurb for Devotion:

Queen Ximena is devoted to her people and will gladly sacrifice herself for them, even if it means her death. Her bodyg
uard, Zefirino, is devoted to her and will gladly sacrifice himself to keep her alive.

When a terrible enemy suddenly attacks their planet, how will they protect those they love without losing each other? Together they survive an assassination attempt, invasion, and capture, but they both know that their duty may eventually tear them apart.

How can Ximena give her life for her people when she knows that Zefirino will die trying to save her? Who does she put first: her planet, or the lover she isn’t even supposed to have?

What makes a great hero?

The heroes I love are strong, intelligent, and able to take care of themselves. They need to be courageous and when they fall in love, they must do so wholeheartedly. I love a man who is completely devoted to his woman. Oh, and also? A guy who will kill spiders for you is a wonderful thing.

Do you have anything in common with your characters?

Uh… No? Maybe? I have no clue. J Certainly my skin isn’t as radiant and toned as the heroines in my books. My hair is ok, I guess. To be honest, I think I identify with the heroes more than the heroines. If we get to have more lives than this one, I want to come back as a dude. I want muscles and the ability to open jars easily and I want to never, ever have to wear a bra again.

Is there any trivia about your latest/forthcoming story that you can share with us (eg, the name of a real life pet that you used in the story)?

The weirdest thing about Devotion is that I did not plan to write it—no outline, no characters, not even the glimmer of an idea. I had an entirely different book outlined and I was supposed to start working on that one, and then one morning I had the most ridiculously vivid dream. I wrote it down. That’s where Devotion came from. I love when my subconscious does all the work for me.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

So many! I can’t list them all here, but a few are: Tracy Cooper-Posey, Emma Holly, Gail Dayton, Tere Michaels, Samantha Wayland…

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

I don’t really do guilt. It seems exhausting. Pleasure? Well, chocolate is always at the top of my list. I also love to watch disaster movies. I suppose I should feel guilty about both of those, but … whatever. Oh wait! I know! When I blow off an entire day (or week) and sit around reading instead of writing, cooking, cleaning, etc. That’s my guiltiest pleasure.

What are you currently working on, or what’s on the horizon?

I just started a new novel and I’m still in the I’m totally in love with this amazing wonderful awesome idea stage. I’m writing the obligatory vampire/paranormal book. In this one, the hero gets to kick some serious ass and I love him. Every time he rips a bad guy apart I giggle like an idiot.

I’m also expecting a new short novella out in November (writing as Erin M. Leaf): Love, Desperately (Romance on the Go, Evernight Publishing).

If you had one item to take into the bedroom with you what would it be?

Lube. I mean, it’s not always necessary, but when it is, it’s usually DESPERATELY needed. ;-)

How can you fans find you on the internet?

Marie’s website:
Marie’s Facebook page:
Marie’s Twitter: @erinmleaf

Thanks for being interviewed, Marie. I can’t wait to read your book since it is a crazy sci-fi adventure and I LOVE my sci-fi romance. My author interview next month is Lori King.