asian boy with long hairGuest blog by A.J. Llewellyn, author of ‘Ailani

This is a subject I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I am perhaps, an overly superstitious person, but I am almost obsessive when it comes to my superstitions as an author.

I grew up in Australia to Greek parents. My father was from the country in Greece, and I mean, real country. My paternal grandmother had weird beliefs and a total, pathological fear of the evil eye. She once told me when I was very young that the evil eye can visit you in any form. Even a compliment. The only way to ward off this trauma is to spit on the victim. I sometimes got through my days looking rain-soaked. She was that bad. She spat on me if a black cat crossed my path, or a light turned red too soon.

You name it, she saw doom, gloom and other nasty things in it.

I’m pleased to say I am not that bad. I have always loved black cats and have one right now. I have one major superstition I adhere to: I don’t wear red on Fridays. Blame this on my history as a journalist. The newspaper I worked for had some of the best, most incredible writers I’ve ever met. I had a sub-editor called C.J. McKenzine (sadly, long gone) who walked around his desk three times  – clockwise – before he sat at his desk.

Within my first week on staff at this newspaper, one of the reporters got fired. My mentor there, the late, great, Geraldine Pascall, a senior female reporter whispered, “Oh, God, he’s wearing a red shirt!”

Everyone was up in arms. Geraldine told me many times in case I was too young, too stupid, or too drunk to forget that you never wear red on Fridays because you get fired when you do.

Trust me, her warnings were like my yaya’s spitting. I didn’t need for it to rain on me to get it. I’ve never worn red on Fridays since. Especially when I sit down to write.

Every writer I know has superstitions. I know authors who fall to pieces if something befalls their lucky coffee/tea cup. I once spent an hour on eBay helping my friend Vivienne search for a new Roy Kirkham cup to replace the one that she swears got her a book deal. We couldn’t find it and the ones that came close were not good enough. She ended up spending over $200 sending the broken cup to some porcelain repair guy back east to fix it. It sure looks okay, but I was with her one day and I could hear this strange squeaking sound. It turned out to be the cup. I guess some superstitions must be adhered to, even if they produce strange results.

I once interviewed actress Joan Collins, and she told me she always wrote long hand on a legal yellow pad as she lay on her bed. I figured, if it was good enough for her, it was plenty good for me. Except my legs cramped and I’d forgotten that I hate writing longhand. I couldn’t even read back my scrawl when I was done.

Author/actress Harley Jane Kozak must write with chocolate on hand. I didn’t ask her what happens if she doesn’t.

I read a blog some months ago by a columnist for The Writer magazine who wears different hats for each book she writes, to put her into the mood. Honestly, I am too lazy to go to all that trouble for the record, I have a preference for writing in my underwear.

Author Ryan Field, a lovely, talented M/M author, won’t start a new book on any day but a Friday. How interesting!

Another author friend, the amazing and wonderful Tracy Rowan likes to find a talisman for each new book she starts writing. She told me, “When I wrote “Rough Trade” (Oz fanfic) I found a pair of elf salt and pepper shakers, and actually used them in the story as Christmas ornaments. For “Suffer the Little Children” Glinda and Jim gave me a print of a London street from that era. “White Rabbit” (also fanfic) had a coin from the era of Charles II Stuart. I don’t always find my talisman, but I always feel better when I have one.”

I know how she feels. I have my own little quirks, and I feel better for them.

Aren’t we writers a wild and wonderful bunch? How about you? What superstitions do you have? Please comment to win to enter the draw to win a free PDF ebook copy of my new book, ‘Ailani: The Last Warrior, which is being published by Breathless Press on September 19.

Synopsis:

After a bad breakup, Lio rents a cheap house with magical views. It seems the perfect solution, but the house has a haunted connection with an ancient statue. Once unearthed, it gives Lio the power of…THE LAST WARRIOR…

When Lio’s lover cheats on him, he’s forced to give up what he thought was the idyllic romance he’s lived with Maks, including their stunning, scenic Waikiki apartment. He rents a cheap house with magical views on the other side of the island. So why is it so cheap?

He soon becomes haunted by dreams in which a fearsome yet sexy Hawaiian man begs him to rescue him. Lio is certain he’s going nuts until one night in the midst of a tropical rainstorm he follows the man’s urgings and digs a hole in a church graveyard. He finds a gigantic, ancient stone statue with scary eyes…that soon gives Lio the power of…THE LAST WARRIOR…

Buy: ‘Ailani

Excerpt: We shared a slice of the pie I’d never tried before. It was like eating a giant orange Creamsicle. That’s when I remembered why Hau’ula was familiar. I’d come here many, many years ago on a school excursion.

“Isn’t there a great trail into the rainforest around here?” I asked him.

“Why, yes.” He grinned at me.

I recalled quite clearly going with my class. We’d bought ice creams from a portable ice cream stand as we were leaving. Orange Creamsicles.

“Do you hike much?” I asked.

“Every chance I get.”

“Wow, that’s great.”

“You like to hike?” he asked, pushing the last bite of pie toward me.

“Yeah, my ex hated it, though.”

“I’m always up for a hike,” he said. “Give me a shout some time.”

Speaking of shouting, the volume rose considerably with some newcomers so we gave up our table. Outside, I inhaled a mouthful of sweet night air.

He was giving me so many mixed signals, or so I thought. Sometimes he reached out to me, then pulled his hand away. I was certain he was staring at my mouth in a hungry way. I sure as hell wanted him to kiss me. He smiled at me a lot. Maybe he was being kind, but I felt certain we were on a date. When he took me to his own home, I didn’t think I was wrong. His beach cottage sat right on the reef, and I was stunned by his uninterrupted view of the ocean.

Kord’s life seemed to be straight out of my childhood. Everything on the walls and sideboards was found art. He’d discovered gigantic shells, sea glass balls, bleached pieces of driftwood that almost looked like antlers. He’d even made a hammock out of an old fisherman’s net.

He showed me his home office, which took up most of the space. He pointed to the garage. “That’s where I build stuff.”

I had a sense he didn’t bring many people here. I almost felt glad I didn’t see any chick stuff. His home spoke of a solitary existence.

“Take a seat.” He pointed outside. I swung in one of the aged rocking chairs on the lanai as he brought me a beer. Longboard. My favorite.

“You had a recent breakup too,” I said. “Isn’t that what you told Marcella?”

“Sure. It never works out for me with women.” He scowled.

“Why’s that? You’re a great guy. Handsome, hard-working—”

“Thanks. That’s part of the problem. I love to work.”

The words swayed between us like a coconut palm. “I have a hard time with women because…because…”

He didn’t finish the sentence. He didn’t want me to know he was bi. I sensed he didn’t want to give me ideas. It was okay. I didn’t need any. I was too busy licking my own wounds and couldn’t have handled any confusion.

When he dropped me home and kissed me on the lips, I felt my spirit and my body reacting.

“Have a great night,” he said, then watched as I let myself inside Dad’s house.

As I closed and locked the door behind me, I felt something shifting. I couldn’t explain it as I leaned with my back against the blue stained-glass mermaid and felt her coolness seep into my hot skin.

Aaaahhh…something had changed. Something good. I touched my lips. We’d had a great date. No, not a date. He was being kind.

So why did he kiss me?

We’d had a swell time. A gentle time. I hadn’t had such a sweet evening with a man in a very long time. When I’d cleaned my teeth, I fell into bed. I could almost feel his dark hair on my face, his lips on mine. I tasted salty tears. Yeah…something was changing. I didn’t know what.

I dreamed of fishermen’s nets, mad laughter, and mud.

At around three o’clock in the morning, I awoke from a strange dream.

No. They were not coming back. I wouldn’t allow them to come back. Not the dreams. Not those ones. I closed my ears to the voices whispering…

Remember…remember…

I worked very hard to forget. To think of nothing but the soft press of Kord’s lips, wishing for more. So much more.

Buy: ‘Ailani

A.J. Llewellyn  is an author whose obsession with myth, magic, love and romance might have led to serious to serious stalking charges had it not been for the ability to write. Thanks to the existence of some very patient publishers, A.J.’s days are spent writing, reading and dreaming up new worlds. AJ has definitely stopped Google-searching former boyfriends and given up all ambition to taste-test every cup cake in the universe to produce over 150 published gay erotic romance novels.

A.J. wants you to read them all.

You can find this author lurking on Facebook and Twitter – part-time class clown being another occupation. When not writing or reading, A.J.’s other passions include juggling, kite-boarding and spending a fortune buying upgrade apps for Diner Dash.

A.J.’s links:
www.ajllewellyn.com
www.twitter.com/ajllewellyn.com

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better date than neverReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Boxed Set (Books 1 – 6)

All Books are written are in the first person.

Book One:  Love at First Date

Ellen is trying to find love that will end in marriage.  In doing a favor for a friend, she has to make an emergency trip.  It’s a story where you need to be open for anything – you may just surprise yourself.  It’s a cute story where if you have a four-legged friend you might want to cuddle and it will also have you chuckling.  Susan gives you a sweet ending.  This is a great first story to start off this bundle and it’s done without any sex scenes.  It takes on the idea of online dating and shows that sometimes another option is better – so keep your mind open.

Book Two:  Truth or Date

Gina is Ellen’s friend and this is her story.  They’re getting ready for a wedding and Gina’s getting ready to move on with her life.  She’s like most of us that worry about weight and how it looks to others – even though personally I wouldn’t mind being her size.  This author has a devious mind – she puts Gina into a situation that some women wouldn’t mind having.  It may even take you back in time to what you did with your own girlfriends.

Book Three:  My Last Blind Date

This story is about Rachel, another friend of Ellen’s.  The setting for this story is Valentine’s Day.  Rachel is a woman that owns a dog that was introduced in book one.  She is a woman that’s striking out when it comes to blind dates.  This story looks at work connections – it shows that instant attraction can work.  Book three seems to be the shortest, which makes it perfect for being in the middle of the set.

Book Four:  Save the Date

Kristen is taking a vacation away from her job.  Her story seems to be about friends taking it to the next level.  She also has a hard time letting go of the past – so much so that she obsesses over it.  Book four shows that it’s not easy to turn off who you are – sometimes your job is just part of who you are and vice versa.  This author has me wondering if she actually knows women like these friends – if not she has a great imagination.

Book Five:  A Twist of Date

Mel is a woman who is full of energy.  This book is not seeing what’s right in front of you.  It shows that jumping to conclusions can hurt people.  And do you really know your friends or just what you see on the surface.  Mel’s life seems so very hectic – and I thought mine was bad.  Trying to find love under those circumstances can be very hard.  Her story seems to be the craziest out of all of them.

Book Six:  License to Date

Kaitlin is trying to start over but she can’t seem to shake her well-meaning friends.  She has an agenda but plans can change when love comes knocking.  This story teaches you that your name and your job do not define who you are.  What a great way to end this boxed set.

Each story flows seamlessly from book to book, which makes it perfect if you only have a little time and need just the right spot in which to stop.  It’s a set that can be read at any time of year and to read over and over.  Just like true friends, you’ll find that the friends don’t disappear – they continue to appear in the other books.  If you’ve enjoyed this set as much as I did, you may want to continue by reading book seven entitled Driven to Date.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Better Date than Never Boxed Set (Books 1-6)

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My name is Ember Leigh, and even though I write erotic romance and love it, I’ll be the first to admit it can be a little awkward sometimes. My current release Carlos and Casey features two ex-lovers seeing each other for the first time after four years. The short story features a very uncomfortable, awkward […]

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Guest post by Amber Page, author of All’s Fair in Lust & War Impossible, you say? Not at all. Insane, yes. But not impossible. I did it…and the manuscript sold (no one was more surprised than me). Of course, in my case, there were extenuating circumstances. I entered my first chapter in a contest put […]

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Hi! I’m Crystal Perkins. My good friend, Tera Lynn Childs and I are taking over the blog today as part of our Sassy and Sexy Romance Tour! Tera is the “Sassy” part of our equation. Her City Chicks books feature behind closed door, or in the case of Trying Texas, behind closed bushes action. I’m […]

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My writing space. (Well – spaces.)

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Guest blog by Lisa A Adams, author of Fire on Ice Through the course of several book releases, I usually get the same questions from different blog hosts. One common one, that I usually skip, is “What does your writing space look like?” So, this post… this blog… you will see my writing space, and see […]

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