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Just cuz it’s fun…
Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Need a smile? Wish I could have been a fly on the wall. They look like they had the best time! ~DD

Jimmy Fallon, Meghan Trainor & The Roots Sing “All About That Bass”
(w/ Classroom Instruments)

Tricia Ballard: Truly Strong Female Characters Are Driven by Complexity, not Caricature
Monday, September 15th, 2014

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about the importance of “strong female characters.” As a woman, and a mother, and a writer, I wholeheartedly agree. I want my daughter to grow up surrounded by stories of people she can identify with who go out and accomplish great things.

And as a reader, there’s nothing I find more annoying than a female character who does nothing but sit around fretting, waiting to be rescued!

But when I dig a little deeper into this idea of “strong female characters” I’m left with more questions than answers. What makes a female character strong? Is there a difference between feminine strength and masculine strength? Should there be a difference?

In my own reading, I’ve come across a few strong female character types that didn’t ring true for me:

  • Rambo-in-a-Skirt – The character who acts and talks like a guy, but who happens to wear (very little) female clothing and answer to a feminine name. Pretty much every female superhero ever.
  • Hillary – A variation on Rambo-in-a-Skirt. She’s wealthy and powerful and she’ll crush her enemies under 4-inch heels.
  • Velma – The know-it-all who can never be wrong. About anything. Ever.

All of these types bother me because they’re caricatures that don’t really capture the complexity of a strong, intelligent, successful woman. The fact is, we’re far more interesting than that.

It’s not difficult to see where the caricatures came from:

Somewhere along the line, humans came up with the crazy idea that men are supposed to be strong and women are somehow the “weaker sex.” And this assumption is rooted in the idea that women are inherently weak and stupid. So when women finally stood up and laughed at this nonsense, the answer was obvious: if you want to be considered strong, you have to act like a man. Be tough like a man. Be aggressive like a man. Be smart like a man.

I guess it’s better than nothing, but….we’re not men. And this assumption is rooted in the idea that women are inherently weak and stupid. If we want to be considered strong and intelligent, we have to act like something we’re not. We have to fake it.


I like to believe that most of us have moved beyond this simplistic interpretation in real life, but it seems to persist in literature and movies. And when it comes down to it, our stories reflect our deepest truths.

I got tired of reading about female characters who didn’t ring true, so I did what any self-respecting writer would do: I made one up. Brianna, the title character in my first Faelands novel, Daughter of Oreveille, doesn’t have all the answers. She isn’t enough of a warrior to wade through a dozen monsters with nary a scratch. And yet, I’d hold her up as a truly strong female character. She knows what she believes in, and what she’s willing to fight for. She does what she has to do to create a life of her own choosing.

To me, those are the hallmarks of a truly strong character – male or female.

What do you think? What are some of your favorite – or most cringe-worthy! – characters? 

Tricia Ballad is the author of Daughter of Oreveille and Lady of Gaia, as well as the upcoming Defender of Oreveille. She never really grew out of playing pretend or sitting cross-legged on the rug for story time. And she drinks absurd amounts of coffee.

Her books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and on her website at

DaughterofOreveille_final_ebook_small  LadyofGaia_ebook_313x500

Regina Kammer: My Real-life Book Boyfriend
Sunday, September 14th, 2014

As romance readers we talk about our “book boyfriends”. These tend to be Alpha Heroes: ruthless, implacable, protective, possessive men who attract with their charisma and buffed-out good looks, who keep us yearning with their potency and skill. I readily admit that my favorite book boyfriend would quite possibly be the very worst actual boyfriend ever. He is Lord Odo Wraxall, the heroic villain of Lord Wraxall’s Fancy, an erotic romance (heavy on the erotic, light on the romance) first issued by the old Black Lace imprint circa 1996. With Odo, the sexy fun and adventure never stop.

We romance readers swoon for our Alpha Hero book boyfriends. Yet, these men are compelling for the very same reasons they can be repelling. Ruthless possessiveness can border on stalkerism. Too much charisma can be creepy or, if spread too thin, impersonal. This is probably why, as a famous romance author once said (please, please someone tell me in the Comments who said this!), while we desire the Alpha, in reality we marry the Beta.

Well, at least, that’s what I did. Eighteen years ago. Today is the anniversary of my wedding to my very own Beta Hero.

My husband is perceptive, understanding, feminist, aesthetically astute, and quite clever, using brains before brawn to tackle a problem. I love all of that about him. It’s what made me fall in love with him and what keeps me in love with him.

And I want all of my heroines to fall in love with someone just like him! A considerate, caring listener with a spark of creativity and intellect and just a bit befuddled that a cute gal likes him—a lot. So I write the Beta Hero.

Hot HighlandersOf course I also write the Alpha Hero. In fact, my beefy, dominating Roman knight in Delilah Devlin’s upcoming anthology Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors is pure Alpha! But usually I give my Alphas some Beta tendencies, even if just a touch. In my latest historical erotic romance, Disobedience by Design, I have three heroes: Joseph, a brawny former stevedore, is the most Alpha of the three; Arthur, a gallant earl, has just a touch of Alpha; and Geoffrey, the lanky solicitor, is pure Beta. I love them all! I hope readers will too and will want to claim them as book boyfriends.

Who is your book boyfriend? Is he an Alpha?
A Beta? A bit of both?

Regina Kammer is a best-selling, multi-published writer of erotica and historical erotic romance. She has been published by Cleis Press, Go Deeper Press, Ellora’s Cave, House of Erotica, and her own imprint, Viridium Press. She began writing historical fiction with romantic elements during National Novel Writing Month 2006, switching to erotica when all her characters suddenly demanded to have sex.

Her latest release, Disobedience By Design, a Victorian-set erotic romance published by Ellora’s Cave, is Book 2 of her Harwell Heirs series.


In 1860, the railways of Victorian England transport American stevedore Joseph Phillips to the lush countryside of Lincolnshire…and into the arms of Lady Sophia Harwell. But Sophia is betrothed to a violent villain who wants only two things: her virginity and her dowry. Can Joseph save his beloved without scandalizing upper-class British society?

Joseph looked up, his concentration on the aim of the cue broken by a melodic, breathy sound at the door. A spark of surprise shot through him at the sight of an angelic vision in white, a spectacularly beautiful young woman who slowly entered the room as he pulled himself up from his bent position over the billiard table. Her auburn hair framed a perfect face, radiating a glow of youthful innocence only slightly marred—or perhaps enhanced—by an obvious inquisitiveness bordering on deviousness reflected in her mossy eyes.

She seemed stunned into silence by his presence so he broke the spell.

“Hullo.” He took a puff of his cigar to calm his body’s growing interest in the girl.

“Are you Arthur’s American?”

God , her accent was utterly charming.

He chuckled. “I suppose I am. You look like you were just at that shindig.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Party,” he explained, giving her the once-over. “I guess it was a formal affair.”

The bodice of her ball gown fit perfectly on her shapely form, a row of pale-pink silk roses demarcating the low-cut neckline from the ivory flesh of her steadily heaving bosom. A damn distracting sight. He ripped his gaze away unwillingly.

She walked farther into the room. “Yes I was at that ‘shindig’,” she said, pronouncing the word with an exaggerated and clumsy American accent.

She drew her finger along the polished edge of the billiard table, awakening his brain to fantasies of her finger stroking a part of him in need of attention at that very moment.

“I found it rather boring,” she added.

“Boring?” A room full of women as beautiful as she couldn’t possibly be boring. “How so?”

“For one, there were not very many attractive men.” She bit her lip, her apparent abashment profoundly provocative.

Aha! So he had a chance. Sort of. She was clearly far above his laboring-class background. Still, a man should always try his luck where women were concerned. “How might the presence of attractive men have made the party more interesting?”

She cocked her head. “I would have had far more distractions.” She drew out the last word as if implying something indecent.

His unruly prick stirred. “And how would you like a man to distract you?”

Purchase links:
Ellora’s Cave (best price!)
Amazon USA
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
Barnes & Noble Nook
Google Play
, All Romance eBooks

Keep up with Regina on her website
Follow her on Twitter @Kammerotica
Or Google+
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See what’s new on her Amazon Author Page

“Words, words, words, words…”
Saturday, September 13th, 2014

I’m singing that like a refrain inside my mind. Over and over. Like a mantra. I don’t have time to chat today, maybe not tomorrow. I have a book to finish, a short story to wrap up, stories to read, another book to initiate—and it better all happen this weekend or my schedule is toast.

So, “Words, words, words, words.” You might be happy to know this is a BDSM story, and my hero is a fireman. He’s lovely. Heart battered and bruised. Like the name Coop? :smile:

You’ll Make Her Cry
Friday, September 12th, 2014

Had a late night and didn’t have much to say. Then I saw this. Enjoy! I love the tats and ragged baseball cap.

Country music is very hit or miss for me, but hey, an ex-soldier who can sing? Cute in a “boy down the road” sort of way? Be sure to go follow his page.

Cheyenne Blue: Forbidden Fruit — stories of unwise lesbian desire
Thursday, September 11th, 2014

She’s off limits but the attraction burns so bright it’s impossible to resist.

Have you ever wanted someone you know you can’t have? Have you ever yearned—and burned—for them? Have you ever pursued them, even when you know you’re putting everything at risk?

Of course you have.

The women in Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire know what they want, and they’re not afraid to take it. And the stakes are high: career, friendship, marriage, even a life is on the line.

Cheyenne Blue has gathered seventeen stories from some of the best writers of lesbian erotica, as well as some talented newcomers. This anthology explores many reasons why a woman might be off limits. In Beth Wylde’s “Bachelorette Party” a butch turns her best friend into her lover the night before the bestie’s wedding. L.C. Spoering explores the allure of the older woman, and Harper Bliss takes it one step further as that older woman is also her ex-girlfriend’s mother.

Duty versus desire is the theme for stories from Emily L. Byrne, when an off-duty cop realizes where she’s previously seen the woman she’s lusting after, and Axa Lee, whose historical story “The Clinton County Horse Thief Society” plays the theme of duty versus desire for the highest stakes of all.

Allison Wonderland romps in her inimitable way through the tale of a fundamentalist Christian and an atheist, and Lisabet Sarai tells a powerful story of a nun working in a halfway house who is beguiled by a hooker in her care.

With settings ranging from a BDSM club to a sports stadium, and timeframes from regency England to a dystopian future, there is a variety of sizzling stories here to satisfy even the pickiest reader.

Go on, pluck the fruit.

Take a bite.

I dare you.

Cheyenne Blue

forbiddenfruit_v4_lowresTable of Contents

Our Woman by Rebecca Lynne Fullan
Hands Off by Ava-Ann Holland
Shelter by Jean Roberta
Ungodly Ours by Allison Wonderland
The Rules by Rachel O. Esplanade
The Further Adventures of Miss Scarlet by Emily L. Byrne
Sunset, Sunrise by Sacchi Green
The Clinton County Horse Thief Society by Axa Lee
Freedom by Harper Bliss
Ascending Amelia by Erzabet Bishop
Bachelorette Party by Beth Wylde
Thanks to Irene by Nicole Wolfe
Ash by Niki Crow
The Law of Reciprocity by Laila Blake
Shallow End by L.C. Spoering
The First Stone by Lisabet Sarai
Out for the Count by Cheyenne Blue

Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire is out now from Ladylit Publishing.

Buy it here!

Cheyenne Blue’s erotic fiction has been included in over 90 erotic anthologies since 2000, including Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica, Sweat, Bossy, and Wild Girls, Wild Nights. Under her own name she has written travel books and articles, and edited anthologies of local writing in Ireland. She has lived in the U.K., Ireland, Colorado, and Switzerland, but now lives and writes by the beach in Queensland, Australia. Check out her blog at, on Twitter at IamCheyenneBlue and on Goodreads at

Cynthia D’Alba: Texas Twist (Contest)
Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Hi all! Cynthia D’Alba here. Mega-thanks to gal-pal Delilah Devlin for having me here today. I’m happy-dancing over the release of TEXAS TWIST, the fourth book in the Texas Montgomery Mavericks series.

cd4 covers meme

When I wrote Texas Two Step (book one), I had no idea there’d be more books in the series but I’m so pleased that Texas Twist isn’t the last book. There will be at least three more books…maybe more! Who knows! J

So far, Texas Twist has excellent reviews, so readers and reviewers seem to be enjoying the story of bull rider, Cash Montgomery and his love, Paige Ryan. Here’s a little more about TEXAS TWIST…


Real bad boys can grow up to be real good men.

Texas Montgomery Mavericks, Book 4

Hit hard by the death of her parents, Paige Ryan needs to figure out what to do with her life. She moves to Whispering Springs, Texas, to be near her step-brother. But just as she starts to get her life on track, the last man she ever wanted to see again sends it right back off the rails.

Cash Montgomery was on the cusp of having it all. Three bull riding titles, fame, fortune and respect from his family. Until a bad bull leaves him injured, angry and searching for comfort at the bottom of a bottle. With nowhere to go, he moves into his sister-in-law’s old ranch house in Whispering Springs—which he’s surprised to find already occupied.

As Cash rebuilds the dilapidated home and Paige starts out on her medical career, their old friendship begins to reemerge and sparks are ignited. Paige knows that Cash is nothing but a heartache waiting to happen. But maybe this bad boy has grown up to be a real good man?

Warning: Watch out for falling lumber, falling in holes, and falling for the wrong guy…again. You can leave your hard hat on.

Sound like you’re kind of read? Grab your copy today (and make me very happy!)

Samhain / Amazon / iTunes / Barnes & Nobles

And don’t forget…I’m trying to give away some cool prizes!

Go to my Facebook page to enter the Rafflecopter!

If you don’t do Facebook, try going directly to Rafflecopter to enter…

AND, if you read Texas Twist and leave a review (Amazon, Samhain, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble…basically anywhere!), there is a contest JUST for reviewers. You can enter the reviewers only contest at Rafflecopter or at Facebook.

Thanks for coming by! Are you a contemporary western romance reader?