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Guest Post: Patricia Josephine’s New Release, Tempting Friendship

Today I’m turning the blog over to author Patricia Josephine, who’s discussing some of the real-life inspirations behind her new release, Tempting Friendship. Happy release day, Patricia!

Tempting Friendship HQReal Life Inspirations in Tempting Friendship

When it comes to my writing, I enjoy slipping little details from my real life into the story. It may be a name for a character mentioned in passing or somewhere the main character went that I’ve been to. They’re like little Easter eggs that people in my life may recognize. Here are seven that I slipped into Tempting Friendship.

Gerry the beer snob.

Okay, so my husband isn’t exactly a beer snob, but he likes to try different beers and judge them. He would get along with Gerry great because they could discuss the different flavors of beer and he could trust Gerry to give him a good recommendation. Also, it’s a joke between hubby and I that any spilled alcohol is alcohol abuse.

Grand Taqua Falls

GT Falls is a mash up of Grand Rapids, where I have family, and Tahquamenon Falls which is a huge waterfall and tourist trap near me. Other things in GT Falls that I pulled from real life is 28th Boulevard. There’s a street in Grand Rapids called 28th Street and it’s so busy that any construction has to be done at night. My grandma used to live on Hazel Street, and my last job was on Spruce Street.

The Crown’s Inn

The restaurant is based on one I worked at called Weber’s Rustic Inn, but Adira’s office is based on the office at my last job, Penny’s Kitchen. It was tiny and cramped with a filing cabinet that had stuff piled on it.

Rum and Light Coke

No, I’ve never heard of a customer saying this, but working in restaurants since I was 18 I have heard some pretty weird requests. Like the fish tastes to fishy. That did actually happen. Cajun spice is too spicy. A friend once asked for pasta primavera without the veggies. That’s the point of the dish. Otherwise, you’re just having alfredo. Then there’s the customers who order an item and when you bring it out say, “I didn’t order that.” That one happened a lot.

Quinn and Gerry wanting to kick customers out.

That happened to me a lot during summer time. Restaurants are crazy busy where I live then because of tourists, and after four hours of non-stop cooking, you just want them all to GO AWAY. More than once I begged waitresses to make it stop or to lock the door. If I was cranky, I’d swear about customers.

Keane not wanting to no-show.

You know what really sucks? When your coworker doesn’t show up for their freaking shift! Yeah, there’s a reason Keane doesn’t do it because I’ve had it happen to me countless times and would never dream of doing it to another person. You’d think this would just happen with slackers, but no, I once had a professionally trained chef no-show.

Quinn and Keane

I had real people in mind when I was imagining them. Youtubers, Liana Kerzer and Jeff Holiday where kind of who I pictured when writing. Of course, when it came to the cover, I couldn’t find a model with long dread locks and no shirt, so I had to make do.

Other Easter eggs are Geralt is a reference to The Witcher games, as is Witch Hunter 3, GTA, and Street Rage are references to real games.

I hoped you enjoyed learning about the Easter eggs I threw in the story.

About Tempting Friendship:

At first, Quinn isn’t impressed by Keane. He’s cocky and has sex on the brain. The polar opposite of her. Despite their differences, something blossoms between the two.

Never one to take things seriously, Keane is an incubus coasting through life without a care. When he meets Quinn, her lack of reaction to him piques his interest. No human has ever been able to resist him.

As Keane and Quinn struggle to understand what is going on between them, something sinister rocks their world. Young incubi are vanishing, and Keane’s friends go missing. Someone is after his kind. When Quinn is kidnapped, Keane must uncover who is behind the abductions and get to her before it’s too late.

Buy on



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Enter today!

About the Author

Patricia never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was more of an art and band geek. Some stories are meant to be told, and now she can’t stop writing.

She writes New Adult under the name Patricia Josephine and Young Adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

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My RPG Hobby is an Asset: Guest blog by Gloria Weber

GloriaWeberHobbies can be great assets to writers.  I spent the summer reading comics and watching ONCE UPON A TIME while I ran on the treadmill and that led me to writing my most recent book, UNMASKING: LEMON’S THESIS.  More on that later, but right now, hobbies!

Another hobby of mine is probably even geekier than comics.  (Nothing wrong with geeky, btw.  Geek proud right here!)  I play pen and paper (sometimes called tabletop) role playing games (or RPGs).  You might have heard of DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS, but I started with VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE (second edition).  Since starting, I’ve played many different games, from the super well known to small/indie publisher games made by a one-man band.

Before I continue, for those that are going, “I really don’t know what an RPG is,” allow me to quickly explain.  It’s cops and robbers with rules (because it isn’t cool for adults to be all, “I shot you!”  “No you didn’t, you missed!” “No, I didn’t!”).  People gather together, one person (Game Master) guides the story and voices the bit players, and the rest have their own “main characters.”  (More info here:

There are different ways to play this game.  You could super far removed, just guiding your character through like you would in a video game.  “I’ll have Bob greet the keep.”  That’s so not my (or my group’s) style.  I (we) play much more immersed.

Example Time! “I walk up to the barkeep and try faking an Elvish accent, I lean on the bar.” [And this is when I’d lean forward, propping my arm on the table or a make believe bar.  Then I’d say,] “‘Howdy, partner.  Ya’ll woulda not half an ale?’ and see how he reacts.”

Playing like this, I connect with my character.  I’ve gotten angry because she’s angry.  My character raises and eyebrow, and I try to do it (I can’t do it at all and I look silly).  I have been known to talk around imaginary food.  I do a lot of weird things and this has helped my writing.  (No seriously, it has!)

Maybe it’s just me, but when my fiction characters are angry I’m pounding the keys and snarling or glaring at the screen as I go.  I connect with my fiction character as I would with the game one.  And this is the best asset ever, because when they seem to just be standing there talking like a cardboard cutout with a speaker for a mouth, I check to see what I’m doing to give them more life.  Sometimes, I’m running my fingers through my hair or I’m tapping my finger impatiently.

This connection has also helped me feel when I’ve taken a wrong step.  If the character can’t forgive someone she’s supposed to later befriend, I may have gone too far.  If the character isn’t disgusted with a vile villain, maybe I’m not showing the bad guy’s side enough.

And, this connection?  Super important for keeping me invest and thrilled with the story.  If I find myself getting bored or distancing from the character, I know something has gone wrong.  (Or I’m over editing and I need to send the manuscript in!)

Gaming has taught me other things that I’ve applied through the years.  But, this mini-impromptu theater that takes place at my table every Saturday helped me make characters that were much more than cardboard cutouts with speaker mouths.  For that, I am thankful.

Now, back to that book.  In case you forgot, the name is UNMASKING: LEMON’S THESIS.  Here’s the blurb:

Welcome to Trowbridge City. It’s home to superheroes, maniacal villains, and everyday citizens. The stories here aren’t about good versus evil, but about hard choices, prejudices, and experiences complicated by superpowers.

LemonsThesis-CoverLemon “Em” Law is a super genius and she’s also the daughter of Trowbridge’s most infamous super villain, Yellow Fellow. After being fired, bullied by her professor, and dumped all in the same day there’s only one thing she can do! And that’s work on her thesis. Truth is, the last thing Em wants to be is evil. Unfortunately that thesis of hers is so revolutionary it could be dangerous. Is she ready to learn the secrets behind the masks?

Buy it on Amazon:

If you want, visit my website:

Many thanks to Denise for letting me prattle on!  I super appreciate the help and support.

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Writing is Like an Onion: Guest blogger Caren Rich

Today I turn the blog over to fellow writer Caren Rich, who writes mystery/suspense with a Southern flair. Caren, take it away…

An onion has a center, the shoot, and surrounding layers. Writing is a lot like an onion.

The shoot is the original idea. The spark that sets you down the path. The layers are the characters, back story, dialogue, and location. There are more elements that fall into the layer category, but this gives you an idea.

The “shoot” for Mystic Brew started at Starbucks. Yes, the chain coffee shop. I was sitting at this little table, drinking my mocha, and doodling on a napkin. Each time the door opened I looked up. Why? I’m a writer, it’s what I do. As I sat there, observing, a scene started to play out in my mind. An odd writer, too scared to live suddenly interrupted by a loud stranger. Hmmm. That’s a start. I looked around the room and imagined the lives of the patrons. Someone had to have an interesting story. If not, I can always make one up.

I thought about the differences between my two characters. Total opposites. Why would a stranger start talking to the weird writer in the corner? Didn’t her mother tell her not to talk to strangers? Hmmm. That’s when the story took a dark turn.

I pulled a handful of napkins from the dispenser and started frantically writing the basic story for Mystic Brew.   Yes, it was actually written on napkins. I should send Starbucks a thank you letter. I took it home and typed up the first rough draft. What about the layers?

There’s an important part of every story. It usually lurks in the background, quietly. Location. Just like real estate, location is important. Real or imagined. Tolkien could have set the location for LOTR anywhere. But I doubt it would have had the same impact if the location was England. Anne Rice could have picked any city to be the home of her famous Vampire series. But New Orleans adds extra layers other cities don’t have. I can’t see Lestat lurking around a Miami cemetery.

I wanted a distinctive location for Mystic Brew. I wanted Mobile to be the location and I wanted to bring in some of the more unusual aspects of the city. Like New Orleans, it has a rich French and Spanish history, and Mardi Gras. The large square downtown with manic squirrels, the trees dripping with Mardi Gras beads, the beautiful iron gates, all of those symbolize Mobile.

But what about the coffee shop? I didn’t want the primary location to be a chain. I went back to the feeling of the downtown area and created a coffee shop that would fit in perfectly next to Bienville Square. The Jester, was both a nod to Mardi Gras and an element of foreshadowing. They give me the creeps. I’m not sure, but I think he comes to life when the coffee shop closes.

Including little bits and pieces of the area, also adds a ring of truth. I could have created a city or used the downtown of any city, but I think using aspects of Mobile added texture to it.

The layers work with the shoot to create a world with flavor and depth- like an onion.

Mystic Brew

Mystic Brew - High Resolution(1)Don’t talk to strangers!

Mystic Brew is a dark and twisted tale of friendship, secrets, and coffee.
Jane, a socially awkward writer, watches the world from the safety of the back corner at the Mystic Brew Coffee Shop.
A chance meeting, with vivacious redhead Margo, forces Jane out of her shell and into the world around her.
What secret is Jane hiding? Will Margo succeed in bringing Jane into the light? Or will the ghosts reemerge?

Find Mystic Brew here.

About the Author

Caren Rich grew up in a small town in Alabama. The swamps and bayous have fueled her imagination and inspired her writing. Her short stories may cross genres but they are rooted in the history and culture of the South. Caren’s favorite holiday is Christmas, which has greatly influenced her writing. She enjoys reading mysteries, fantasy, and always makes time for a good fairy tale. Her favorite super hero is Rogue from the X-Men. She lives on the coast with her husband and two daughters. All three are a constant source of inspiration. She also has an imaginary pet gator named Roux.

Connect with Caren online:






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Creating complex characters with author Celine Jeanjean

Today, except for a brief ROW80 check-in at the end of this post, I’m turning the blog over to Celine Jeanjean, author of The Viper and the Urchin, for a discussion of character development. Celine’s book is full of well-drawn and memorable characters, and she offers some good tips below for how to make your characters shine as well.

And now, over to Celine…

When Denise asked me if I’d be up for writing a post about creating complex characters, I was so flattered! With that in mind, I’ve put together some of the things I did while building my characters, in the hope that it might be helpful. I focused specifically on two aspects: voice and dimensions.


assassin_fullThe Viper and the Urchin is told from both Rory and Longinus’ points of views. Rory is a scrappy urchin girl, while Longinus is a fastidious and snobbish assassin who’s afraid of blood. Since they’re very different, I had to make sure their voices were just as distinct.

The first thing I did was play around with their language by creating a list of curses, slangs, and general expressions for each of them. I find language can be really helpful in showing a character’s personality, as well as where they’re from and the world they live in.

Most of the expressions didn’t make it into the book in the end, because the right conversations didn’t crop up, or because I made up others on the spot, but I found it a very useful way to start developing each voice in my head.

Once I had a bit of a feel for their voices, I wrote a synopsis of the story as if each character was sitting down and relating the story to a friend. This was a great way to ‘practice’ each voice, and it also enabled me to get to know their personalities a little better. Would they tell the story in a few sentences or go into blow by blow detail? Would they take creative license and play down certain aspects and highlight others? (Longinus’ creative license turned out to be pretty extensive!)


I found the three dimensions of a character as outlined in Story Engineering by Larry Brooks incredibly useful as a base from which to develop Rory and Longinus. For anyone who hasn’t read the book, the dimensions are as follows:

1st Dimension: the surface and appearance of a character (they way she dresses, quirks, the way she talks, opinions, tastes, etc. Basically anything that can be perceived by an outsider)

2nd Dimension: the reason behind the choices and behaviours that define a character’s appearance – or the reason behind the character’s efforts to control her appearance. Backstory, agenda, etc, fall into that dimension.

3rd Dimension: what the character is like deep down, beneath it all (their moral compass, their soul.) The third dimension is usually revealed when the stakes and pressure are high and it doesn’t necessarily align with the first two.

Thinking about the layers of a personality in that way was really helpful in finding places to add conflict. A classic way to do this is to have the third and first dimension clash: the cad who turns out to have a heart of gold, or someone with the appearance of a hero/good guy who turns out to be a coward or a traitor.

Another way of introducing contrast within a character is by looking at the idea that appearance is driven by a combination of what a character thinks about herself and what she wants others to see. Those two things can be aligned, or they can be in contradiction. Especially if said character holds conflicting views about herself (as a lot – most? – of us do.)

For example in my case, Longinus is incredibly ashamed of his fear of blood, and deep down doesn’t feel like a good enough assassin – so he overcompensates by trying very hard to come across as the perfect gentleman assassin. He’s arrogant and superior, partly because he genuinely believes himself to be the best alchemist in town, as well as the best-dressed man, but also because it’s a comfort zone for him. It’s easier for him to be arrogant than to face his failings.

I found that adding contrast and delving into the why behind the quirks and outer traits helps makes them more than just a superficial, amusing details – it helps make them part of a more complete personality. Especially in the case of a humorous character like Longinus – spending time working out the reasons behind his many personality quirks stopped him (I hope!) from veering into the ridiculous, and made him a bit more complex.

So there you have it — I hope it’s been helpful. I don’t pretend this is the best way to go about creating characters but it certainly helped me with mine. If you disagree or if you use different methods when working on characters, I’d love to hear!

About Celine:

Celine Jeanjean PhotoCeline Jeanjean is French, grew up in the UK and now lives in Hong Kong. That makes her a tad confused about where she is from. During her time in Asia she’s watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat, lost her shoes in Vietnam, and fallen off a bamboo raft in China.

Celine writes stories that feature quirky characters and misfits, and her books are a mixture of steampunk, fantasy and humour.

To find out more about Celine or just to chat, visit her on:





Lastly, here’s my midweek ROW80 check-in

Writing: Wrote 4,008 words in Called by Magic. Did 45 pages of critique. Started a character voice journal for Called by Magic.

Reading: Finished reading Roz Morris’s Writing Characters Who’ll Keep Your Readers Captivated. Finished reading Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. Just bought The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani, so I might start that one today or continue reading The 10th Kingdom by Kathryn Wesley.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop!

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Guest blog post: Patricia Josephine talks about the archangel Michael and her new release

Today I’m turning the blog reins over to author Patricia Josephine to discuss her new release, “Michael,” Path of Angels book one. She shares some info about the book and some interesting facts about Michael’s name.


There is only one path.

Born mortal along with his three brothers, Michael is an Archangel with a specific role: hunt fallen angels and send them back to Hell. He is determined in his mission, never straying from his appointed path, until he meets Lake Divine, and discovers there may be more to his beliefs than blind duty.

But Lake is not who he seems. Offspring of a human and a fallen angel, a Nephilim, Lake must choose his own destiny: give in to the coldness and embrace the dark, or seek the light and rise above the sins of his father.

Two paths lay before them, but only one has the potential to destroy them both.

Amazon Link:

Goodreads Link:

About the Author:

PatriciaLynneAuthorPicPatricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn’t regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who.







What’s in a name?

A character’s name can be important. It’s not always random. Sometimes there has to be a meaning behind it. While Michael is the common name to pick when writing about archangels, there is a reason behind it.


Angel of Miracles

Michael is an archangel who strengthens the spirit during difficult times or dangerous situations. His name means “he who is like God” and he is the chief over the dominion order of virtues, angel of repentance, righteousness, ruler of the fourth heaven and conquerer of Satan. It is commonly believed that Michael was the angel that Moses communicated with in the burning bush and that he also saved Daniel from the lion’s den. He inspires truth, patience and love in the human heart. In Roman Catholic tradition, Michael is considered to be the patron angel of policemen, guiding and guarding them as they protect us. He is also thought to be the one who gently leads our souls to heaven. (source:

In Path of Angels Michael is the leader of his brothers and the one who took Lucifer to Hell after the rebellion.

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Tia Bach cover reveal, “Chasing Shadows”

Today, I’m handing the blog reins over to Tia Bach, for a cover reveal of her book Chasing Shadows. Without further ado, here is the cover reveal (lovely, isn’t it?) and the details:


About Chasing Shadows (Tala Prophecy, Book 2)

Reagan thought one night changed her life forever, but her fate was written long ago.

Merging creature and white blood,
One of flame, one of night,
At eighteen years it will commence,
Spiritual warrior and power,
Will bring an end to the lawless ones.

A war looms: One that pits brother against brother for werewolf supremacy. Angels and demons will each have a say before a victor is chosen.

With her eighteenth birthday only six months away, time is running out. Reagan must find a way to harness the two powerful, ancient bloodlines coursing through her: Werewolf and Wiccan. Then, she has to figure out her role in the century-old prophecy foretold by her great-grandmother.

However, if Reagan can’t save her family from her most vicious rival, Rafe, the forces of Hell will be unleashed and the war will be over before it starts.


Add Chasing Shadows on GoodReads.
Cover Design by Jo Michaels.

About the Author

Chasing Memories Tia author picTia Silverthorne Bach is an avid reader, sometimes runner, involved wife and mother, and rabid grammar hound in addition to being a multi-genre writer. Her three daughters were born in Chicago, San Diego, and Baltimore; and she feels fortunate to have called many places home.

She’s the award-winning co-author of Depression Cookies, a coming of age story written with her mother. Tia’s office is wherever her laptop takes her and any place that’s conducive to allowing a wild imagination like hers to flourish.

Connect with Tia

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! Have a great day. 🙂

guest blogs, publishing, Uncategorized

Going it without an agent? What you should consider before you sign on the dotted line.

Today, author and “recovering lawyer” Diane Capri is joining me on the blog to offer some advice for writers considering going it without an agent.

Much as I would love to think that it’s all cotton candy and roses out there, the writing biz, like any industry, does not work that way. Contracts are complex legal documents not to be taken lightly. The industry is changing, and it’s easier to find editors who are willing to accept unagented manuscripts. Many writers are now willing to go it without an agent, at least at first. Making the decision to publish without an agent means that the author will have to learn a new skill–or hire someone with expertise in publishing contracts.

Bottom line, we should understand the terms of the contract before we sign on the dotted line. Diane is lending us her legal expertise to point unagented authors in the right direction. Feel free to ask questions!

Q: As writers, we hear so many scary stories about authors who signed contracts without realizing what they were signing. It’s hard to tell what’s exaggerated urban myth and what’s an issue for genuine concern. For writers who go it without an agent, what should their main concerns be? Any red flags or big no-no’s?

A: There are many clauses in a publishing contract, and any writer who represents herself in negotiations should be aware of the most common ones. Copyright, royalties, advances, acceptance of manuscript, subsidiary rights, special sales, manuscript revisions, warranties, indemnification, termination of rights, options, and so on.  Pay particular attention to how unexpected events will be handled. What if the publisher goes out of business? When and under what circumstances can you retrieve your rights to this project and what must happen to get the rights back to you? A good primer is “Negotiating a Book Contract: A Guide for Authors, Agents and Lawyers” by Mark L. Levine.

Q: A publishing contract is a legal document–and a very complicated one. What are some resources for writers who want to learn more about the legalese of contracts? Are there any key terms we should know?

A: In addition to Mark L. Levine’s book, you might want to review “The Writer’s Legal Companion,” by Brad Bunnin and Peter Beren. Writers organizations such as Mystery Writers of America and Romance Writers of America and the Author’s Guild are also good resources for contract questions. You can find the answers to most common questions online, but beware of the source of information. Understand that the law varies and is very fact specific, meaning that changing even one small fact in a question can make a difference in the outcome.

Q: Do you recommend that first-timers (or even experienced authors) hire a lawyer to review their contracts? If so, how can writers find lawyers who specialize in publishing contracts? What should they expect to pay for these services?

A: The  easy answer is that I am a lawyer and I hire a lawyer to review my contracts. Realize that no one can anticipate everything and a fresh eye is often helpful. Unexpected stuff happens. All you can do is apply the best of your knowledge under the circumstances. Understand that the deal could go south and before you sign, always ask yourself what you’ll do if this deal does fall apart. Everyone needs a “plan B.”

If you have a reputable and knowledgeable agent, s/he should be able to negotiate your publishing contract. But it never hurts to hire aknowledgeable lawyer to advise you privately. Just be sure the lawyer you hire has current experience in publishing contracts from the type of publisher you’re considering because the business changes constantly.

Lawyers charge either a flat fee or an hourly fee. For a first publishing contract, a flat fee is probably the way to go. Prices vary based on location (everything costs more in New York than, say, Iowa), expertise (the more expert the lawyer, the more expensive she’ll be), and jurisdiction, among other things.

When navigating uncharted legal territory, generally it’s good to ask yourself whether the fee is worth paying under your specific circumstances. A $500 legal fee may not be the best idea for a royalty-only book deal with no advance. Only you can put a price on your project. No one knows the work and its value like the author herself.

About Diane:

Bestselling author Diane Capri is a recovering lawyer. She’s a snowbird who divides her time between Florida and Michigan. An active member of Mystery Writers of America, Author’s Guild, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime, she loves to hear from readers and is hard at work on her next novel. Diane’s books, including “Annabelle’s Attack” and “Carly’s Conspiracy,” are available wherever e-books are sold. See her Amazon author page for more info.

Connect with her online:


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The Kink Factor: Author Shara Lanel dishes on the difference between sweet and erotic romance


Today, I’m turning the blog over to award-winning romance author Shara Lanel. Romance is a complex genre, ranging from the chaste to the downright naughty. Shara’s post helps shed some light on the distinctions between “sweet” and erotic romance.

Shara’a latest book, Blame it on the Night, will be available for purchase on Nov. 15–be sure to check out the link to a free excerpt below!


Do you want to follow the hero and heroine into the bedroom? Or would you rather stop at the door and give them some privacy? This is generally how I think of the difference between “sweet” romance and most popular romance today. But “sweet” doesn’t mean there’s no sexual tension. Pride and Prejudice is loaded with sexual tension culminating in one sweet kiss. Many romances have incredible sexual tension with very few love scenes.

However, I would say most popular romance today ventures inside the bedroom. This ranges from somewhat flowery, rather vague, one-page love scenes—which I tend to skip—to the several-paged, we’re-right-in-the-bedroom-with-you love scenes. To me, the line between these romances, generally not labeled erotic, and those that are labeled erotic comes down to word choice. One particular word that my mom disapproved of when she read my first novel, ENLIGHTENED LOVE. In erotic romance the sex needs to be descriptive (fuck, cock, pussy, etc.—can you guess which word Mom didn’t approve of?), raw, maybe some kink, frequent, and each scene should last several pages. And you still need to have that sexual tension.

My erotic romance books TELEKINETIC KISSES and FINDING MR. RIGHT IS MURDER aren’t really structured different than “traditional” romances, but the sex scenes take it up a notch.

Then there are the stories my mom hasn’t read. For these the sexual premise becomes very important. If your hero/heroine just met and don’t particularly like each other (conflict), why would they have sex in the first couple of chapters? Even if they have the classic “mistake” of a one-night-stand, what’s going to make them have sex in chapter three and so on? You can’t just throw a sex scene in there if your plot doesn’t call for it.

In BLAME IT ON THE MOON, Kitty can read minds. Therefore, she’s immersed in Haden’s erotic thoughts before they even speak to each other. In THE MEN ON MARS, Nate walks in on Helena in a threesome, and Helena is highly motivated to do whatever it takes to get a ride to Earth. Other examples: maybe your hero’s a stripper or a voyeur or your heroine’s an FBI agent undercover in a BDSM club. Maybe your heroine’s curious about the BDSM lifestyle and your hero is very happy to teach her. In other words, there are other sexual forces at work, not just random hopping-into-bed-together. In one story I’m working on, the hero finds out about the heroine’s very sexy backstory.

When I entered PRIMITIVE PASSION into contests or pitched it to agents before published, there were drastic differences in opinion (scores) because some people didn’t see Heath as heroic. Sylvia needs his help to get out of the jungle, but he has a price: three days of obeying his carnal demands. But without Heath’s demands, Sylvia wouldn’t have discovered new things about herself and the story wouldn’t have been erotic.

As a writer, you learn to target different publishers by researching books similar to yours and seeing who published them. Then you may cater a story toward the requirements of that specific publisher. This is the same when it comes to erotic romance. A publisher may want male/male, interracial, or ménage-a-many. A certain amount of kink may be expected or a certain familiarity with the lifestyle. The nice thing about the publishers I’ve worked with is that they’ve helped me up the heat level if I didn’t quite hit it in my manuscript.

So what’s the difference between erotic romance and erotica and porn? Well, first and foremost, we always have a happy ending, but the erotica I’ve read seemed literary or thought-provoking rather than sensual. Many movies labeled “erotic” do nothing for me. Meanwhile, porn seems to me male-centric and based on plot-less fantasy. “A sexy woman comes up to me in a bar, says she wants to do me in the bathroom, and then calls her friend to join us…” A lot more explicit, of course, but totally lacking in motivation.

Feel free to post questions or comments!

Here’s an erotic romance excerpt from my upcoming release, BLAME IT ON THE NIGHT, coming to Nov. 15!

About Shara:

At age 10, research to Shara Lanel meant hopping aboard the local steam engine and writing the equivalent of The Great Train Robbery.  Nowadays, she gets hands-on research at the Writers’ Police Academy. Give her a gun and she might hit the target…or a pedestrian. She swears her characters are much better shots, hitting the bulls-eye with the villains and the heart.

BLAME IT ON THE MOON, winner of the HOLT Medallion, delves into the life of a werewolf wanted for murder, while FINDING MR. RIGHT IS MURDER introduces you to the girl-next-door who, in the middle of an adult slumber party, finds a body in the freezer. Shara’s novels are always full of suspense and hot romance, whether set on the moon or in a Mexican jungle.

Shara resides in Richmond, Va., with a clingy dog, an action-oriented son, and a handsome hubby. Don’t put her in the kitchen, unless you want to burn it down, and her green-thumb is hit-or-miss, but she excels as a bibliophile, hoping she never has to pack up and move, since her hubby might see just how many volumes she really has.

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How to Escape a Vampire Assassin: A few survival tips for Halloween from guest-blogger Samantha Warren

Please join me in welcoming my first guest-blogger, the lovely fantasy and sci-fi author Samantha Warren. Today, Samantha’s character Jane is offering us a few survival tips in case we ever find ourselves face-to-face with a vampire assassin. (Hey, it’s Halloween; anything can happen.)

So, I hope everyone has a great day stuffing themselves with candy corn and other assorted goodies. Happy Halloween! (Or, if you walk the Wiccan way, blessed Samhain.) The surprisingly chilly last few days, complete with sleet on Friday, have pretty much dampened the last blast of fall color that remained on the leaves, but those cold, rainy days are perfect for dreaming up mystery, I suppose…

And now, I’m handing the blog over to Samantha’s leading lady, Jane.


Hi folks! I’m Jane, your resident vampire assassin, here to give you a few tips for surviving the Halloween season. Ah, Halloween. The time of year when you carve pumpkins, eat way too much candy (or is that Christmas?), and dress up like scary movie villains. Ghouls, goblins, werewolves, and blood-sucking vampires are all popular choices. Luckily for you, it’s unlikely you’ll ever really be mistaken for one of those creatures and hunted by someone like me. But what do you do if you draw the ire of a vampire? Well, if I’m the one hunting you, you may as well give up. I always get my man (or woman, or big bad evil thing). The tips below should help you escape the clutches of the lesser assassins of the vampire ilk and allow you to wreak havoc on the world for another day. If you’re a werewolf or other baddie, please look away now. Save us both some trouble and head to the nearest church to turn yourself in.

Separate the myth from the truth.

There are numerous vampire myths out there that have been perpetuated by one Mr. Bram Stoker. Why would he do such a thing? Well, he was a vampire himself. It was in his best interest to mislead the masses about what could and couldn’t hurt a vampire. I’ll address a few of the more popular misconceptions.

Garlic: While I would love to let you all run around wearing garlic necklaces like they’re the next fashion, I have to dissuade you from doing something so ridiculous. It will just make you look silly and smell horrible. Garlic does nothing but add flavor, and if you don’t want to be sucked on, don’t make yourself more tasty.

Crosses: Another falsehood. A large portion of the vampire population actually works for the church in some form. Many of them can even be found on the pulpit. If you’re being hunted by a vampire assassin, there’s a good chance it’s because a church elder hired one. Yeah, a cross isn’t going to help you there.

Holy Water: See above.

Silver: *looks at silver rings* Nope. Not effective. It does work against a werewolf if you can get it in their bloodstream or under their skin. I always keep some handy.

Running Water: Vampires like a good shower as much as anyone. Getting one wet will do little aside from make them madder. I advise against making a vampire angry if they’re already hunting you.

Wooden Stakes: Stakes are great, and not just for vampires. They hurt like the dickens and will take out almost anyone if used properly. The biggest problem is keeping the stake in the heart long enough to cause serious damage and blood loss.

Fire: Like stakes, fire is fantastic for defending against anything but a fire faery. Fire hurts, but, more importantly, fire destroys. Once you’ve got your vampire attacker staked, pull out some gasoline and a match and set that baby aflame.

Sunlight: Yes, we are allergic to sunlight, but it has to be direct sunlight. And we don’t fall asleep once it rises. Full vampires will develop a nasty sunburn within moments of direct exposure and if forced to stay in the sun too long, blisters will form and expand, our skin will smoke, and eventually we become a raw mass of roasted flesh. It’s really disgusting and a very cruel thing to do to even your worst enemy.

Decapitation: Along with stakes and fire, decapitation works on almost anyone or anything. Very few beings have the ability to regrow the loss of something so important as their head.

Coffee: Mmm… coffee… Coffee is a drug to vampires. We love it. The stronger, the better. Almost all of us drink coffee. But we have to drink it very slowly and in small amounts, or it can incapacitate us. No venti quadruple-shot lattes for us. Once we’re incapacitated, any of the other methods will be a lot easier to apply and that will be the end of the line. It is also possible to take down a vampire by dousing them in the stuff, but it requires a lot more of it and if you don’t do it quickly, you’ll just have an irate killer on your hands.

So there you have it. Some of the myths are just that—myths. But there is truth buried in the lies, as always. Now I’ll give you the No. 1 foolproof way to avoid being taken out by a vampire assassin:

Don’t be a bad guy.

Simple, right? And surprisingly easy. Be a decent person and you won’t have to worry about me breathing down your neck at any point. But if you decide to try to take over the world, know this: I will find you, and I will destroy you.

Have a lovely day!


Want to know more about how I became a vampire assassin? The first book in my aptly-titled memoir series is free everywhere, and books 2-4 are 1/2 price on Kindle. I’m working on book 5 (Til Death) right now and it should be out in December, so keep your eyes peeled!

Vampire Assassin (Available on Amazon.)
Jane (Books 2-4) (Available on Amazon.)

Samantha Warren is a fantasy and science-fiction author who spends her days immersed in dragons, spaceships, and vampires. With her pet dragon, Anethesis, she ventured to the ends of the universe, but the cost of space travel cut into her sock fetish fund, so she sold her ship and returned home. When she isn’t writing, she’s milking cows or trying to feed them Pop-Tarts. She spends a lot of time in her weed patch (aka: garden), watching any show featuring Gordon Ramsay, or posting random things on her blog.