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Getting to know… Autumn Jones Lake

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Categories: book feature, Breathless Press Authors, Interview, New Releases, paranormal, Tags: , , , ,

feralescape_200x300After all the decadence and chocolate overflow of the past weekend, it’s very nearly a salmon and salad day… but then we’d end up wasting the last of the chocolate cream pie and that would be a sin. However, a delicious and totally healthy treat for you all is Feral Escape: Catnips and Cauldrons Book 3 by Autumn Jones Lake.

Autumn was born and raised in Upstate, New York. In addition to writing, she runs her own business from home. A big fan of horror movies and spooky books, it wasn’t until recently she realized all the tales she writes need to include a hunky hero and a happily ever after.

When she’s not writing, she spends time listening to music, going to concerts, reading, gardening, acting and collecting nail polish. While those things are fun, she’s happiest sitting in front of her computer into the wee hours of the night, weaving stories the characters in her head whisper to her.

She lives with her husband and their three rescue dogs in Upstate New York, where she is actively involved with several dog rescue groups and her local RWA chapter.

Hi Autumn and let me say that it’s wonderful to have you here with us today.  Domino and I do a lot of work with animal rescue groups too, so we had a grand fight over who would get to chat to you today!

Hi Dominic, that’s really funny.  I’m pleased to be here though.

I’m glad to hear it, so let’s start with an easy one… What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Telling my characters’ stories. I’ve got a lot of voices in my head!

Only an author would say that with a straight face… and in this environment it’s actually a bonus! This one is a bit harder.  Can you tell us what your favourite book is?

oo many to pick just one!

Fair enough.  I’d have trouble with that one too!  What do you do when you reach an impasse and need to do something besides write?  How do you clear your head?

I love to listen to music or take the dogs for a walk.  Great ways to clear my head every time.

Music is one of my favourite mind-wipes.  If that’s how you clear your head, how would you unwind at the end of a busy week?

That’s an easy one… happy hour with friends!

Love it!  Plain and simple – your favorite hero and why?

An intelligent alpha hero who isn’t afraid of a strong female.

Hmm…  Are you ready for the lightning round?

Of course!

Favorite song?
Changes every day. Today it’s Can You Feel My Heart by Bring Me the Horizon.

Band?
Of Mice & Men, Five Finger Death Punch

Genre of fiction?
Erotic Romance

Movie?
The Hunger Games

Color?
Blue

Food?
Pizza

Beverage?
Water with lime

Candy?
Chocolate

Television show?
I just got done gorging myself on five seasons of Sons of Anarchy, so I’m going to say that.

Book store?
Amazon

Ok… she mentioned chocolate, but other than that… this has been a candy free day and yet still super delicious!!  Now… go order yourself a copy by clicking on the cover above or visiting our website www.breathlesspress.com

Chat soon,

Dominic

Excerpt

 

Huddled in the corner of her tiny stone cell, Molly Goldfoot stared into the darkness. Were it not for the small crack between the rocks, she would have no idea if it was night or day. She wrapped her arms around her knees, pulling them tight to her chest. A shiver rippled through her body. She’d lost track of how long she’d been held captive. In the beginning, someone had brought food and water each day, but that had stopped.

She closed her eyes and visualized her friends, Martha, Kipp, Deacon, Oscar, and her new friend, Onyx. Were they searching for her? Why couldn’t Onyx’s wizard boyfriend conjure up some magic to find her? Maybe it wouldn’t matter. Wherever they had imprisoned her must be magically spelled. No matter how many times she tried, she could not shift into her cat form.

Ivan. The last person she’d been with before she’d been so rudely grabbed and shoved into the back of a dirty, smelly old van. Would Ivan search for her? He was older than her. Sexy. Dangerous. She wanted him bad. Why had she been so damn stupid and refused his offer to walk her home?

Cause she hadn’t wanted the others to know she went to meet him on the sly. For the millionth time, she wanted to kick herself. She and Oscar were friends. Sure, they’d kissed a little, but it wasn’t serious. There shouldn’t have been a problem with Ivan walking her home.

Molly shook her head, and a sad chuckle trickled past her lips. This was her punishment for her trampy behavior. She altered her position on the hard stone floor, wriggling her left foot which had fallen asleep. At some point she’d lost both her sneakers, so only thin, dirty socks protected her feet. Her butt hurt. This captivity thing became old quick.

Had her family orchestrated this? As she did every day, several times a day, she stood up and shuffled the few steps to the front of her prison.

 

 

 

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Mothers and Heroes

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Categories: Fresh Blog, Writing, Tags: , , ,

Have you seen that video that’s going around on Facebook? The one about the hardest job in the world? The job description was a dead giveaway to every Mom in the world and I know more than one person who had their eyes opened by that video. Crazy right? Surely by now we’ve all realized just how hard a Mom works… Haven’t we?

Well, it got me thinking about authors and how hard they work to balance their work commitments and home commitments. As a teenage reader, I don’t know why, but I think I imagined that all authors worked from wonderful studies, had their days to themselves and had very little to worry about other than writing their next best seller. What can I say, I was young and that was how my writing went, so surely everyone had it that easy… I had my Mom to look after the day to day work after all.

Then, as I hit my early twenties and life became a crazy, spinning wheel of work and social commitments, writing largely fell by the wayside. After all, I was out if the house from 06:15 to gone 17:30 and then there was cooking, cleaning and hanging out with friends to fit in too. Of course, it wasn’t a very good reason not to write, but sometimes you just cling to any reason… After all, you’ll have loads of time in the future.

Then, a strange thing happens. Before you know it, you’re surrounded by friends who are married with babies and you realize that these women are doing more than you are and still finding time to be creative and follow their dreams. Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I won’t tell you how old Dominic and I are, but I’m still young enough to have my Facebook newsfeed filled with marriages and births. In this crowded field of commitment and love made manifest, there are just as many posts about newly signed publishing contracts, cover reveals and blog tours.

How do they do it? I don’t have a husband or kids, I work from home and I spend many hours a day writing. I also find time to visit with friends, read and relax. I’m almost 100% sure that if I had to add a husband or a child something else would have to give, so how do they do it?

The secret is, they’re superheroes. Really. Not all heroes wear capes you know. Ok, fair enough, superheroes may be laying it on a bit thick. My own mom laughed and said that to her, a hero is someone who does something beyond their own skill set, for example a teacher running into a burning building… Firemen are trained for that, a teacher isn’t. So by her logic, a Mom isn’t a hero… Just a unique expert in her field!! What sets your average married, Mom, author apart is this… A desire to achieve her dream, a passion for writing that cannot be denied, a sense of balance to make sure that nothing suffers for her creativity and the willingness to sacrifice sleep if necessary to make time to write.

You see, a Mom may have the hardest job in the world, but she’s also uniquely trained in the art of compromise, prioritizing, budgeting, time management, focus and creativity… To name just a few pertinent skills.

So… The next time you read a book you love, think about the fact that the author may have worked even harder than you imagined to capture that story for you. Take the time to review, comment and tell people about it.

Another day, we’ll examine the struggles for men who write romance and erotic fiction.

Until next time…

Domino xx

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Happy Easter!

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Categories: Fresh Blog, Tags: , ,

Happy Easter. Regardless of our religious beliefs, most of us celebrate Easter. For some, it’s the resurrection of Jesus, for some, the sheer indulgence of chocolate (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack!) and for others it’s the joy of time off work. No matter why you love the Easter weekend, the point is that we take the time to find something to be happy about.

For us, it’s a combination of all three of those reasons and let me tell you, we’ve tried to see if there’s a point over a period of 4 days when you can be totally sick of chocolate, but in all the years, we’ve never found one… And not for lack of trying! So, instead of talking about something serious today, Dominic and I thought we would share one of our favourite family recipes with you all today…. We hope that it will become a tradition in your home as much as it has in ours!

CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE

Ingredients
- 150g marshmallows
- 1 cup (250ml) milk
- 200g milk chocolate
- 1 packet chocolate coconut biscuits
- 75g butter (melted)
- 1 cup (250ml) cream
- Chocolate for decoration (grated or flaked)

Method
- Combine marshmallows and milk in a saucepan. Stir until marshmallows have melted.
- Add chocolate and stir until melted and mixture is smooth. Allow to cool.
- Crush the biscuits and stir in the melted butter.
- Press crumb mix into greased pie dish. Chill.
- Whip the cream and fold into cooled chocolate mixture.
- Pour into the prepared crust. Decorate with chocolate.

If you have – heaven forbid – reached your chocolate threshold, then you should check out our new super hero anthology call… I’m sure you have something that will thrill or intrigue us!

Now, there’s a bunny with my name on it and I’m an ears first kind of girl…

Until next time…

Domino xx

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The End

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Categories: Fresh Blog, Tags: , , ,

The End. It’s a very satisfying thing to write at the end of your book, it’s an awful thing to read at the end of a great book and it’s a heartbreaking thing to hear when a relationship goes south. Two simple words and yet they have so many meanings and they can cause so many different reactions.

When you’ve been working on a story, the sense of satisfaction when you get to type “The End” is unlike any other. You have this amazing sense of achievement and the relief of having reached a goal you set for yourself is unbelievable. It may as we’ll be “The Beginning” though as you embark on the next stage of this writing adventure and head towards publication.

When you’re reading a book which has wrapped itself around your heart, reaching The End of the story can leave you with a real sense of sadness, feeling bereft if you like. All the jokes and memes in the world don’t really begin to cover how bad a real “book hangover” can be for a devoted reader. The end of the story can feel as devastating as the loss of a good friend.

The hardest end though is when the one you love, the one you thought loved you, decides without you that it’s over. This is the end. You have no way to fight back at this point, their mind is made up and the only option open to you is to decide if you’re going to fight for this relationship regardless of the hurt and humiliation… Or let it go with dignity.

Our stories are full of characters who have fought and lost… Or those that have walked away. In almost all cases they find something more real in the future, a better love. The problem is this, how do you know what is the right path? How can you know there is something in your future that will make up for this hurt?

Faith.

The only way we get through most things, we have faith. Faith that this will not be the only book we write. Faith that we will fall in love with hundreds of books in our lifetimes. Faith that no matter how much we love this person, right now… There is something better for us in the future. It may be a reconnection with this person in the future or it may be something new. Either way, we have to keep the faith.

Until next time,

Domino xx

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Flawless

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Categories: Fresh Blog, Uncategorized, Tags: , ,

“OMG… Thor is sooooo hot”

Yes, I found myself sitting in front of a bunch of giggling girls in the coffee shop again today.  Sigh.  They were sitting there, smart phones in hand, taking advantage of the wi-fi while they sipped on whatever sickly sweet “coffee” they had ordered before my arrival.  I was trying to ignore the giggles and sighs, but there really was no ignoring the heartfelt sigh that preceded this grand announcement.  Don’t get me wrong.  I understand why women around the world are fantasizing about Thor and Loki…. but do I have to listen to it?

I confess, my reaction wasn’t my best work.  I finished the last of my cappucino, gathered my notebook, pen and phone up and then turned to them and said… “You know, if you married him you’d have to wash his stinky underpants and deal with that sweaty armour of his.  Oh, and I bet he has bad dandruff.”  They were still sitting there with their mouths open when I left.  I know.  It was awful of me to burst their bubble like that.  After all, Thor doesn’t claim to be flawless….

It got me thinking.  Why is it that we love some heroes more than others?  Why is Han Solo more popular than Luke Skywalker? I think it comes down to this.  We need our heroes to be flawed.  Human in some way.  We need them to be someone we can picture being.  I know we’ve touched on this before, but I find myself wondering if what I said to those girls today was unfair or if I did the right thing?

After all, we’re in the business of romance.  We’re here to write almost impossible dream scenarios, happily ever afters, romance and roses.  We don’t write about dirty underwear, the fact that Prince Charming snores or farts.  Are we setting up the younger readers for an unrealistic expectation of the future of their love affairs?  Perhaps.  But then again, we grew up reading romance that was even more sickly sweet and set impossible standards and we turned out ok.

THOR-2_RETURNING-CAST_LOKISo there we go… Thor is soooooo hot.  And I’m sure they have a laundry service on such an advanced world anyway…

Happy Easter everyone.

Chat soon,

Dominic

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Meet the Character… Sara Barnsby from A Race for Love

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Categories: Breathless Press Authors, Interview, romance, Tags: , , , , ,

araceforlove_200x300I’m so excited about the Easter weekend.  It’s not just the chocolate… although, in fairness, the chocolate is a big part of it.  The real excitement lies in spending quality time with family, hanging out, lazy mornings, long leisurely lunches that stretch through the afternoons and for times when we all need to just have some alone time, there are the delicious new releases from Breathless Press this week!
Speaking of which, I was chatting to Ann Black about her new book, A Race for Love and we decided that it would be a lot of fun for you to meet the heroine of the book, Sara Barnsby, so without further ado… let’s find out what makes Sara tick!
Hi Sara and welcome to the Breathless Blog!  Why don’t you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you came to the attention of your author?
Hi Domino, thanks for having me here.  Hmm… what brought me to Ann’s attention?  I’d have to say my independence and strong will!

Sounds like you’re my kind of girl.  Feisty and independent! So what was it that drew you to your mate?
That’s easily answered… His strength and it doesn’t hurt that he’s really good looking *grin*

Nothing wrong with that!  So here’s a bit of naughty fun, we’d love to know where was the wildest place you seduced your partner?

I’m not sure I should be telling, but it can’t hurt… it was in the stable.

I have to confess, I find there’s usually way too much hay for me to really enjoy a stable, not that I’ve ever tried it… oh, um, so… Boxers, briefs or commando on a man?
Are you blushing Domino??  I’d have to say briefs
I wasn’t blushing, it’s just a bit warm here *grin*  Moving along, if your partner wants to seduce you, what’s one sure fire trick they can play?

Sigh… Kissing my neck.

I love that one too… Ok, fair’s fair, touching what part of your partner’s body do you know would drive them partner wild (in or out of bed)?
I run my fingers across his chest…

Hmm… Here’s a great chance for you to rat Ann out.  What was one of the most embarrassing things your author did to you in this story?
en she had Sheik Akir hit on me!

That sounds intriguing… I can’t wait to find out more.  Finally, before you go, is there anything else you would like to add?

I’d just like to encourage you women everywhere to follow their dreams – even ones that are in a man’s world!
A huge thanks to Ann for allowing her heroine to come out and chat to us today.  Now is the time to go and order your copy… simply click on the cover above or visit www.breathlesspress.com
Until next time…
Domino xx
Blurb
Sara struggles to find her place in the fast-paced world of Thoroughbred horse racing, but
will the arrival of a new trainer cost her everything she’s worked for?

Fast horses, strong personalities, and the thrill of mixing business with pleasure fill Sara’s
world as an exercise rider. Her real desire, though, is to ride her favorite stallion, Cat, to victory
in a race. There are two problems with this dream. The first lies in the fact she is a woman who
wants to be a jockey. The second is a new, sexy horse trainer named Carter.
While Sara struggles to stay focused on her dream, Carter fights to prove his past doesn’t
define his present. Will a tornado, a wounded jockey, a rich rival, and a horrible accident ruin
everything, or can Sara cross the finish line in A Race for Love?

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Categories: Fresh Blog, romance, Tags: , ,

Sometimes, if I’m really well-behaved, Domino lets me hang out with some of our authors just for fun!  Ok, I kid, we love to hang out with them regardless of how well-behaved we’ve been.  However, earlier this week, I was really pleased to be able to catch up with Sheri Velarde and she told me a really heart-warming story.  I felt it only right that she be allowed to share it with you all herself and so I asked her to write it up.  It’s stories like these that make us even prouder of what we do than we usually are.  So, without further ado, here is Sheri…

As romance writers I am sure most of us have had someone scoff at us and put down our particular genre of writing. I personally don’t let it bother me, I just think to myself how little said person knows about writing or the romance genre. If you know anything you know that this is a darn hard genre to write, especially love scenes, those things need to be choreographed better than a war scene! That is why I was thrilled to hear this next story about how powerful romance writing is as a whole while I was working ye ole day job at my local art and history museum.

I was having a rather bland and tough day at work when I struck up a conversation about books with a museum guest in our gift shop. I mentioned that I personally owned half of them it seemed since I have a book addiction, but that I rationalized it since some of them I used for research being a writer myself. She asked what I wrote and said predominately romance novels, explaining that I love being able to write fantasy, paranormal, historical, etc. all in one genre. As it turned out she is an English professor at our local community college and she decided to tell me the following story.

C2405One of the assignments she gives in her classes is to write about your own literacy, how reading and literature personally affects you. Recently she had an Iraqi War veteran in her class who asked if he could write his paper on why he liked to read romance novels. This was the summary of what he had to say. When he was stationed in the Gulf he tried to get his hands on anything and everything he possibly could to read. Eventually he ran out of books and one of his nurse friends offered him some of her romance novels to read. At first he scoffed, he was a manly man in the army, but having nothing else to read he consented. He found that not only did the books provide him with a way to pass the time, but that he actually enjoyed them immensely. He said that he liked how there were conflicts, but that they were mostly resolved toward the end and that everything ended on a happy note. This made him feel better and less stressed than other genres he had been reading during the war. For the rest of his tour he only read romance novels to keep his moral up and he still reads them to this day.

I, for one, found that to be one of the most life altering stories I have heard about the power of books in general and the power of romance in particular. It made me feel even better about myself as a romance writer and it made my bad day at my job brighter. It solidified for me that our writing really touches people, making their days better because of our words. Reading, and writing for me, is a form of escapism and I for one am proud to write stories with love and happy endings in them.

Sheri Velarde/Kelly Ryan

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Raising the Curtain on Spencer Dryden

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Categories: Breathless Press Authors, Interview, New Releases, Tags: , , , , ,

BLISS_200x300I love to be around at the beginning of things and there’s nothing quite like being there when a first time author and so it makes me very happy to introduce ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Spencer Dryden, author of ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Bliss, to you all today.  So let me tell you a bit more about him.

Some men are born great, others strive for greatness; still others have greatness thrust upon them. Spencer Dryden is none of these men. In fact, he is so unimpressive, he leaves no footprints on newly fallen snow. He was trained in fiction writing on the job with the many sales reports he produced for his managers, winning the coveted “keep your job contest” three years running. His expense reports are still considered masterpieces of forgery by the bankruptcy trustee of his former employer. He lives an unremarkable life in a suburb of a northern city. His friends and family would drop dead in horror if they knew of his secret life as a writer of erotica. He hates the family cat but still loves to pet his wife.

You see… I knew you’d LOVE him!!!  Spencer, thanks so much for joining us.

Hi Domino, thank you for having me here.  It’s all very exciting.

I’m so glad to hear that!  So tell us, what’s your favorite thing about writing?

I can sleep with any woman I want and my wife doesn’t mind. Pretty good for an old guy.

That’s not a bad deal to have and I can certainly see the appeal. Here’s a tricky one… would you be able to tell us what your favourite book is?

Catch-22.  One strange thing about my writing career is that I have never been a reader, not even comic books as a kid. I also slept thought English Composition. My editor worked overtime scrubbing the stains on the fabric of the English language in my manuscript.

Oh dear, Spencer, are you serious??  No reading?  I may have to have a serious hot chocolate to get over that *grin*. Ok, how about we move on to the next question… what do you do to clear your head when you need to get away from writing for a while?

In real life I am a handyman for hire. I love DIY stuff. In fact, many of my short stories are about handymen seduced on the job—something that has never happened to me, thank goodness. I’m also a foodie. I love cooking and eating.

Thank goodness?  I like the idea of having a handy man for hire… but I digress.  Now that we know how you clear your head, how about you tell us what you do on a Friday night to unwind after a long week?

Cocktails and pleasant conversation with my wife. We have been married for 25 years, and we are still lovers and friends. She is kind enough to let me play in this litter box of fiction, provided I wash my hands when I’m finished.

I think I’m liking your wife quite a bit!!  Here’s an interesting question, your favorite hero and why?

The late Steve McQueen. He radiated cool, calm confidence especially in the movie Bullit (You can tell I’m an old guy by that choice.)

Steve McQueen is an awesome hero to have!  I’m not sure that it’s an old guy choice, I think it’s a good taste choice.  So are you ready for the lightning round “old guy”?

Watch yourself Domino, I was born ready!!

Favorite song?
“Money Changes Everything”-Cyndi Lauper

Band?
The Beach Boys (Jeez, now I’ve really dated myself)

Genre of fiction?
Erotic Romance

Movie?
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. In one of my unpublished novellas, I pay tribute to this masterpiece by redoing two memorable scenes using the dialogue nearly word for word.

Color?
Blue as in denim. Almost any day you can find me in my Canadian tux .

Food?
Anything on the grill except liver.

Beverage?
Jack Daniels on the rocks.

Candy?
M&Ms

Television show?
I know I’m going to date myself here. Have Gun, Will Travel. In more modern times it is the kids cartoon “Beast Wars” that I watched with my boys every day.

Book store?
Are there any left? Barnes and Noble.

I want to thank Spencer for taking the time to join us today.  He’s a real delight to hang out with and there was way more to our chat than I could possibly include here… including a reference to sheep, but my lips are sealed.  Now it’s time for you to go and pre-order your copy now to help Spencer to have a great first book.  Simply click on the cover above or visit our site www.breathlesspress.com

Until next time…

Domino xx

Excerpt

Dr. Rachel Morissey touched Christina’s arm gently and handed her another tissue.

“Mrs. McArdle, I’m a sex therapist and not a family doctor. I find that I need to speak about sex bluntly in order to get through people’s resistance.” She searched Christina’s eyes to see if she was tracking. It had been a hard first session. Taking the first steps in breaking down resistance, confronting demons, bringing up painful personal memories always brought tears.

“Sexuality is a hard discussion topic for couples. I don’t mean to diminish your pain, but so far it’s like so many others. When you’re young, sex may be clumsy, but quantity is a quality all its own. So is time. Now you’re thirty-five, a working professional mother of young twins, with an at-home husband. You’re both living in a different world from your parents, and there are a lot of demands on your time that sap sexual energy. In this phase of life, you have to be much more intentional about sex.” Dr. Morissey paused again, waiting for Christina to process. “Lying in bed in the dark, waiting for your husband to initiate sex, isn’t a good strategy for fostering intimacy.”

Christina wiped away another nagging tear.

“But there’s something else I need to explore,” said Dr. Morissey. “I am wondering if you were ever raped or sexually abused?”

“Why? Is that important?” asked Christina.

“Very. It often creates problems with intimacy years later. You seem almost fearful of sex.”

Christina hung her head. “I was nearly raped once,” she whispered.

“So you were assaulted.”

“I guess.”

“Mrs. McArdle, I’m sensing a lot of guilt here. Physical contact without your permission is assault. It’s another person’s crime, not yours. You said nearly raped. What happened?”

Christina shuddered as she recalled the forbidden memory. “We had a boy in our neighborhood that was a bully to the boys and terror to the girls. Nobody would do anything about him. Our parents told us to stay away. But he would hide out and grab girls, rip their clothes off, and grope them. It happened to many of my friends.”

“How old were you then?”

“Eighth grade.”

“Did he actually do forceful penetration on any of his victims?”

“You sound like the police now.”

“It’s an important distinction, especially with a minor perpetrator.”

“No. He didn’t.”

“What happened with you?”

“I was taking a shortcut home across the athletic fields one evening. No one was around. He jumped out from between the outbuildings, threw me down to the ground, and jumped on top of me. I tried to fight, but he had his hand on my throat.”

Christina unconsciously reached for her throat and pulled on her necklace.

“Sometimes I can still feel him squeezing my throat,” she said through closed eyes. “I couldn’t breathe. I tried to scream but couldn’t. He was pressing down on me with his crotch between my legs.”

“Were his pants on?”

“Yes, but he was humping me like some kind of animal.”

Christina gasped as if she were going to scream. “Finally, he leaned down and put his cheek next to mine. I was hysterical with fear, that’s why I did it.”

“Did what?”

“I bit off a big chunk of his ear.”

Christina rolled forward, put her head between her knees, and sobbed.

“Now we’re getting somewhere. What happened after that?”

Christina rose up, brushing away tears with a clenched fist. “He ran away screaming and told his parents that I had attacked him.” She had to stop to catch her breath. “The police came to our house and asked me a lot of questions. Nothing happened to him. I got suspended from school. Can you believe it?” The rage faded to sorrow. Christina wept softly again. “I got so much grief for that, Dr. Morissey. Did I do right? I was just so scared and desperate.”

 

 

 

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The Naming of Us

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Categories: Author Tips, Fresh Blog, Writing, Tags: , ,

1783950528_1372155321The other day Domino did a great blog on the naming of things and she touched on some great issues.  After I read it, I started thinking about another side of the name game when it comes to being an author.  The naming of ourselves.  I can picture you shaking your head and wondering if I hit mine on my chill day yesterday, but I can assure you that I did not.  I am talking about the age old question of real name vs. pen name.

You see, this is a question which is debated in forums and on message boards all over the internet, it is a question which almost every first time writer will ask at some point and no matter what you decide, the answer is always very personal.  It also differs from genre to genre, but for authors of romance, there are a bunch of questions that go through your head.  If you think answering this is easy, then you are very fortunate.

Here is the dilemma…

  • Would I want my boss to know that I write romance books?
  • What will my friends say?
  • I don’t really want my day job and my writing to bleed into each other.
  • My colleagues won’t take me seriously if they find out about this.
  • My Grandma will have a heart attack!
  • My career makes it inappropriate for me to be seen to be writing these books.
  • I’m a guy.  ’nuff said.

These may sounds like dumb reasons to you and let me assure you there are LOADS of reasons why people find themselves considering using a pen name rather than anything even resembling their own name.  Everything from daughters of strict church ministers, to self-employed women who have worked hard to build a business and a personal reputation, to wives and Mom’s who simply wouldn’t want their kids to find out that they write erotic fiction.

The downside of writing under a pen name is that you can’t really brag about your first publishing contract or your 10th or your 50th and you certainly can’t brag about awards that you win.  It can be a really hard secret to keep.

The upside is that you can create an alter-ego that suits you.  A person that has a dream history, interesting life and may even be a different sex to you.  It allows you, in the case of an author who becomes more well-known, to enjoy your private life in happiness and anonymity, without bleeding into family time or business.  It allows you to be famous in fiction, for fiction and yet, unchanged at home.

Another reason to have a pen name is if you are going to write across genre’s.  After all, if Barbara Cartland had suddenly thrown out a couple of murder mysteries, you wouldn’t have given them a chance, but she could have done so under a name like Bud Seger for arguments sake.  Equally, when JK Rowling wanted to try her hand at something new, a pen name (however short lived in its anonymity) allowed her to do that without pre-conceived ideas of what you would find inside that book.  Some of our authors write young adult novels in addition to their erotica and it’s far better to have separate persona’s for that!

Either which way you look at it, you should pick a name you like, one that will be memorable and easy to spell for your readers and one that you will be proud to “wear” for years to come.  As with the naming of characters, a lot of the same suggestions apply.  Don’t try to be too clever about your pen name.  Look into availability of websites and blogs before setting it in stone.  Also, see how many other authors are out there with an identical name and what genres are they writing in.  Having someone else out there called Dominic Lane isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact, if the other Dominic gets great reviews and is searched for a lot, it could lead people to you who wouldn’t necessarily find you otherwise.

Just be careful that you don’t just copy a name for the wrong reasons.  Find a name that means something to you, a name you love.  After all, you may be stuck with it for quite some time!

Chat again soon,

Dominic

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Unplugged

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Categories: Author Tips, Fresh Blog, Writing, Tags: ,

5050158_origYou’re going to think this is a bit odd… but from time to time I like to have a day that is silent.  Not necessarily without speech or sounds, but rather a day that is technology free.  I don’t turn on the TV or any music.  My phone is on silent next to my bed and I don’t answer the door if I can help it.  I unplug from the matrix as Domino puts it.

That’s probably a great way of looking at it.  We’ve become so dependent on technology, the internet, exterior forms of entertainment, that we’re fast losing the ability to enjoy our own company or hold a focused conversation with a fellow human being.  You see it in restaurants and coffee shops all the time, people sitting at tables with friends (we presume), yet all of them are clutching their phones and frantically checking everything in case something happened in the last 2 minutes and they missed it.

We come from a time before cellphones, before pagers even.  A time where being away from your home meant that someone had to leave a message and wait for you to get home and hear it and return their call.  Now, we’re all about Instagramming our lunch, Tweeting our shopping habits and Facebooking our emotional issues of the day.  We’ve even turned books into an instant gratification product thanks to eBooks!  Don’t get me wrong, I love that side of things, but you get the general idea.

So, every now and again I feel the need to just stop and step back and reconnect with the real world.  Actually talk to someone or go outside and really look at my surroundings.  It’s a shocking theory, but I feel like it helps me to really recharge, especially on weekends.  As writers, we spend so much time with technology and social media that we can burn out.  Taking a well-earned break makes a world of difference!

So, I’m writing this on Saturday (in case you were wondering), and Saturday is full of chores so that I can really relax tomorrow.  Hope you all have a great weekend!!

Chat soon,

Dominic

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