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Allegra Gray: 5 Reasons Writing a Book is Like Climbing a 14er (Contest)
Monday, September 14th, 2015

5 Reasons Writing a Book is Like Climbing a 14er

For someone with an admittedly short attention span (me), I seem to choose pursuits in life that require an awful lot of perseverance. So today, I’m going to talk about 5 Reasons Writing a Book is Like Climbing a 14er.

For the non-mountaineers reading this, a 14er is a mountain peak above 14,000 feet in altitude. In Colorado, where I live, there are 53 of them. I like hiking in general, but climbing a 14er is not your average scenic hike. We’re talking major elevation gains and decreasing oxygen, people. You have to want this.

At first, it might seem like writing a book—an activity during which you spend a great deal of time with your butt planted in a chair—would not be very much at all like a wilderness excursion requiring considerable physical conditioning.

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But that would be wrong. Here are 5 ways in which these two activities are similar:

#1 Initial excitement of planning/deciding to do it.

Getting an idea for a new book is exciting. You’re full of ideas, planning new characters, imagining what it will be like when it’s done, and you feel powerful. You know it will be work, but the idea is just so good, it will be worth it. Deciding to climb a mountain, and picking which one, is exciting, too. You’re looking at fantastic photographs other hikers have posted, planning which routes will get you there, what physical training you need to do in the meantime, and imagining the sense of achievement when you stand at the top.

#2 At some point, you are going to ask yourself “why am I doing this?”

Every writer I know of has, at some point, looked at what they’ve written and lost hope. For one reason or another (your plot didn’t hold together as well as you initially thought, or the market for your type of story has just tanked, or any number of other writer-related insecurities), you want to abandon the project.

At some point, while hiking a 14er, many hikers (myself included) are out of breath, battered by wind, out of the ideal shape we promised ourselves we’d be in, and looking ahead at the miles yet to climb, thinking, “why did I think this was a good idea?” It would be much easier to just turn around and head back down…

(Note: with hiking, there can be safety concerns that lead to abandoning a hike. Know the difference between perseverance and foolishness. Lightning, in particular, is no joke if you’re above tree line. If a storm is approaching, get to safety. The mountain will still be there another day.)

#3 You keep going anyway.

Even when every sentence is a struggle, you keep writing. You may walk away from the screen for a little while, but you eventually come back and re-attack the project. Maybe you do have to do some editing, and work on your craft. Or maybe you give yourself permission for that first draft to suck miserably, knowing that you can always edit it later. Whatever. You keep writing, because you know that walking away would lead to regrets you don’t want to live with.

Same with 14ers. If you want to make it to the top, you keep planting one foot in front of the other. You rest, drink some water, and Just. Keep. Going.

#4 Comradery

When you summit a 14er with someone, you share a bond with that person forever. The more epic the mountain, the more epic the bond. Hikers also tend to help one another out—it’s the classic man vs. nature struggle, and all men (and women) on the mountain are in it together.

Authors do the same thing—at least, I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of authors who think it’s important to help each other be the best we can be, whether that means helping a new writer improve her craft, or helping promote a new book you’re excited about.

#5 The Ultimate Accomplishment

There is no feeling that beats the feeling of typing the words “The End.” Except, maybe, the feeling of reaching the summit of a tough 14er. There’s a reason authors shout it from the rooftops when their book hits the shelves (or goes live at Amazon) – they’ve worked for that day. Same reason you’ll see summit photos plastered all over the walls and social media pages of an avid hiker.

It’s also the feeling that makes both writers and hikers bask in the glory for only a short while…because before long, they need to start planning the next book, or the next peak to climb.


Entrusted: A Relic Guardians Novel


To protect her country’s future, she’ll have to commit treason…

ENTRUSTED by Allegra Gray is a stunning historical Young Adult masterpiece of suspense, hope, and determination. This story follows orphaned Audrey as she’s tasked with keeping ancient relics safe from tyrannical hands and their unholy deeds. With the help of a charming adventurer, Tobias, Aubrey must do all she can to protect the relics she’s been entrusted to guard…even if it costs her life. Read the rest of this entry »

Lynn Cahoon: Hungry? Read a book
Sunday, September 13th, 2015

lckiller runAt a conference last week, I had a reader come up to me and tell me she had been so mad at me last night.

I perked up, wondering what she’d either taken offence at or really loved. I hoped she was going to say my hooks kept her going chapter after chapter.

Her next sentence surprised and delighted me.

“Greg and Jill sat down to eat and you described the food so well, I wanted my own order of Diamond Lille’s meatloaf platter.” She continued, “I had to go raid the fridge.”

I thought a lot about what this reader had said and then realized my characters have a love affair with food because as their author, I do too. I won’t ever be the one to write a book where the scenes go on without a speck of food consumed from first to last page. I’m more like Tolkien in that manner, and my characters more like Merry and Pippen who not only expect second breakfast on their quest, but also elevenies. Which is a delightful idea to implement in most work places.

I’d warned my roommate before we even got on the plane to go to New Orleans that for me, it was all about the food. Experimenting, tasting, learning new techniques, my trip was filled with overwhelming smells and tastes.

And my writing is the same. I want my characters to experience living on the California coast line through their taste buds. Jill has a scene where she’s grabbing one last clam from the waitress before the bucket is taken away to be packed up as leftovers.  I can totally see myself doing that when interrupted from a meal I was enjoying.

The current book I’m writing has a Carmel Apple Cheesecake mentioned on page one. I’m trying out a similar recipe on my day job co-workers in a few weeks.  Hey, writing has it’s privileges and if I get to eat vicariously through the choices of my characters, the better for me. Especially as I’m eating a salad and drinking water for lunch as I write this blog.

I’m putting up a Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe on my blog this week. ( Come visit if you want. Coffee will always be fresh and in my imaginary kitchen, treats like those from Pies on the Fly will be available 24/7. With no calorie counting.

Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More—has somehow been talked into sponsoring a 5k race along the beautiful California coast. The race is a fundraiser for the local preservation society—but not everyone is feeling so charitable…

The day of the race, everyone hits the ground running…until a local business owner stumbles over a very stationary body. The deceased is the vicious wife of the husband-and-wife team hired to promote the event—and the husband turns to Jill for help in clearing his name. But did he do it? Jill will have to be very careful, because this killer is ready to put her out of the running…forever!

About the Author

CahoonNew York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho expat. She grew up living the small town life she now loves to write about. Currently, she’s living with her husband and two fur babies in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. Guidebook to Murder, Book 1 of the Tourist Trap series won the 2015 Reader’s Crown award for Mystery Fiction.


Caroline Clemmons: The Surprise Brides (Contest)
Friday, September 11th, 2015

Thank you, Delilah, for having me as your guest today.

Isn’t Fall a wonderful time of year? I’m looking forward to cooler weather. To me, the air thrums with excitement due to so many plans and projects. Writing is my passion, but I love the upcoming holidays.

What’s your favorite thing about Fall? I’m giving away a copy of
THE SURPRISE BRIDES: JAMIE to one person who tells me

Several of us were talking this summer about that old movie “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and thought we’d do a spin on it. We didn’t want our historical brides kidnapped and we didn’t want them stranded in a blizzard with no way to marry. So, one of the brothers is a minister. To ease your mind, no, there is no singing in these books. ;-)

We have four brothers aged from twenty-two to thirty-two who need brides. At least, their mother thinks they do. (Yeah, all mothers think that, don’t they?) This mother takes matters into her own hands, though. The four mail-order brides arrive in a blizzard that locks everyone on the ranch for almost a week. The mother convinces the four couples to go through with the wedding.

All four stories are filled with conflicts to be overcome. Mine is slightly sensual but not steamy. I believe the other four are the same—the parts I’ve read are. But they are all fun adventures for anyone who enjoys the “fish out of water” of a mail-order bride story.

You probably guessed that my latest project is THE SURPRISE BRIDES: JAMIE, one of four books simultaneously released about four brothers in Angel Springs, Colorado. One determined mama, four reluctant brothers, four mail-order brides. Meet Jamie, Caleb, Gideon and Ethan. Jamie is the eldest brother, a widower with two rowdy young children. These four books are released simultaneously by Cynthia Woolf (Gideon), Callie Hutton (Caleb), Sylvia McDaniel (Ethan), and me (Jamie).


Olivia Stewart risks everything to accomplish her dreams. She’s tired of being pitied because she’s been jilted, tired of teaching other people’s children without any of her own. When she signs with a matrimonial agency, a letter from Jamie Fraser sounds perfect. A widower with two young children will give her a head start on the family she’s determined to have. Olivia learns Colorado holds surprises that endanger her goals and even her life.

Circle F Rancher Jamie Fraser is shocked to learn his mother has written for a mail-order bride for him. He has two children and no plan to marry again. Ever! His late wife taught him women can’t be trusted. Even his beloved mother isn’t above tricking her sons to achieve her heartfelt ambitions. Now he’s stuck with a wife he didn’t want—a stubborn woman bent on changing his home and his life.

Can two strong people at odds achieve happiness? Angel Springs, Colorado is a small town that inspires big dreams. Olivia and Jamie just might find their dreams meld to form a powerful and enduring love.

THE SURPRISE BRIDES: JAMIE buy link at Amazon is: where it’s available in print and e-book. It’s also available at other online retailers.

Here’s a short excerpt:

That night when Olivia and Jamie were in their room, she slowly undressed. All day she’d thought about what she would say. How naïve to think she could trust this man so easily. How stupid she’d been not to ask more questions before surrendering to him.

Somehow, she had the sense of having been cheated in the marriage bed. She had no real experience to go on because she had no one in whom she could confide. Judging by the novels she’d read, though, there should have been talk after their coming together.

She faced him. “Jamie, why did you go through with the wedding?”

He sat on the bed holding the boot he’d just removed then set it on the floor. “No choice.”

What a maddening answer. She wanted to plant her fist on his handsome chin. Instead, she took a deep breath before speaking and exhaled slowly.

“Of course you had a choice. You’re the head of the family and could have refused and sent me back where I came from or set me up in town so I could meet someone else. Barring that, you could have paid me off and sent me to Denver. There’s always a choice.”

He shook his head as he started on his shirt buttons. “Not in this case. Any of those options would have caused talk. After you’d been here several nights, your reputation would have been compromised.”

“If I weren’t here, why would that matter to you?”

His hands stilled. “Ah, well, because Mama’s reputation would also have been damaged, as she pointed out to us boys.” He removed his shirt and hung it on the bedpost.

As she unfastened the ties of her petticoats, a horrible thought occurred to her and she froze. “Do you mean you don’t want more children?”

His powerful chest muscles rolled with a shrug. “Wouldn’t mind, now that we’re wed, but I was content with Jake and Cat. Matter of fact, earlier today I mentioned how nice life would be with us brothers taking our kids to visit with their cousins.” He stood and unbuttoned his pants.

She turned her back and slid off her clothes then quickly pulled on her gown. “Weren’t you lonely?”

Her back was to him and she couldn’t see his expression, but his voice sounded hard, “Look, Olivia, you seem like a nice enough woman, attractive, and intelligent. Sorry as I am you were brought here under false pretences, I don’t know what you expected to find.”

Again, she froze for a moment. Attractive? He thought she was attractive? When she turned around, he was sitting up in bed with the sheet at his hips. How could she concentrate on the conversation with all those rippling muscles and skin in sight?

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Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling and award winning author of historical and contemporary western romances. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel.

Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys family, reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, and getting together with friends. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+Shelfari, and Pinterest.

Lizzie Ashworth: Jarrod Bancroft — The Novel (Free Story)
Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Hi! I’m Lizzie Ashworth, stepping in for Delilah today. Boy, do I have some juicy bits for you! Over 120,000 words in my story, Jarrod Bancroft: The Novel.

It started innocently enough. A rich young man in search of adventure in sadistic humiliation. An older woman intent on her profession as dominatrix. Their crossed paths should have been six weeks of a purely business relationship.

But things never go as planned.

dcsexy-man-tied-up copyHere’s a brief excerpt from this story of outrageous kink:

Jarrod had lost track of the changes underway inside his mind and body. He reacted to light strangely, as if it brought the comfort of food or a warm touch even when it was simply the removal of the blindfold. He became accustomed to the loss of control of his body as he was shackled to his bed at night, no longer pissed when he wanted, no longer held his own penis to do so, no longer even shat without someone in attendance. He ate like an animal off the plate they placed on the floor, food that was unrecognizable although flavorful and evidently nourishing.

There were daily parades into rooms where people waited, all of them masked. He stood with other naked submissives as the masked people chatted, drank, nibbled on hors d’oeuvres, occasionally casting their eyes in his direction, occasionally stroking his body and the cock that strained in front of him. After a first few times of shivering humiliation and terror, he took their glances, their touching, as reassurance. His worry that they might know him, recognize, spread gossip about what they had seen, slowly subsided into the greater submissive state of mind that fed his constant arousal.

No longer questioning his decision to come here, his thoughts now focused on the current situation, the moment in which he existed, whether his attention was captured by the lash or the ever larger plug in his anus, or the engorgement that plagued his genitals. The people who serviced him had become objects of his affection—he wanted to kiss Sal who nightly administered to his fracturing body, the woman who slipped her hand over his cock each morning to help him piss.

Everything excited his senses. He’d never felt so alive. Yet for all the arousal, he had not been allowed to have another ejaculation. The need to release had slipped to the background, no less urgent, no less achingly painful, but one of those things he endured like he endured the beatings. He felt like a stringed instrument, increasingly tuned to a finer and more exquisite tightness, waiting for the right moment, the right hand, that would turn him into a beautiful song.

Jarrod Bancroft: The Novel is collection of five original novellas. The story becomes much more than scenes of extreme sexual kink. Hope rejected, regret and anguish, terror in captivity, and an awful truth about Jarrod’s family emerge in this richly-presented series. Jarrod Bancroft’s adventure reveals old lies, ugly threats, and the raw human need for love.

FREE ! The first novella of this series is available free at . The story in Book I finds our two characters at the start of this twisted tale.

With everything she cared about gone, Dominatrix Macie Fitzgerald has built a new life in service to those seeking pain and submission. She takes pride in her success. So when she accepts Jarrod Bancroft’s application to her next training session, she acknowledges the risk. The ten years that have passed since he was her high school history student have only made him more magnificent in every way.

Life has been too easy for Jarrod Bancroft—rich parents, football star, law degree, high powered job, women by the score. Something is missing. He wants whatever Stonybrook Academy can dish out, much as it scares the hell out of him. And he was right to be afraid. He never imagined this. And the voice behind Madam’s mask sounds familiar, but after days of torture and deprivation, Jarrod’s only thought is to obey.

Macie prided herself on the thoroughness of her training. It was business, and she was a professional. But she had a past and so did he, and as Christmas neared, the past caught up with them. Macie faces her biggest challenge as she struggles to fulfill her professional obligation to give Jarrod what he wants. What he needs.

Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Delilah! Love meeting your fans and followers.

Follow my blog and read free erotic short works at
Like my Facebook author page for updates on other nice and naughty works
Check out my Pinterest page for amazing BDSM images!

Jodi Vaughn: First Things First
Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

jvZane graphic via Tracey

Writing takes discipline. There’s no way around it. In order to be successful at writing you have to write. Get the words on the page. Keep going until you have a scene and then add to it until you reach the ending of the story.

So how do I get started and how do I keep my motivation high? First things first. I’ve started getting up early in the morning and looking at my to do list. Whatever writing goal I have set for the day gets first priority. I write and I don’t allow myself to get up until I’ve met my morning writing goal. There have been days that I’ve gone for a run or worked out and then immediately started writing, without getting a shower. You’ll be surprised how quickly the words come when you need to do something else, like shower!  Once you get your writing done first thing in the morning you’re more likely to come back that afternoon and write some more. I know. I’ve done it.

So if you are looking for a way to meet your word count, stop over thinking it and sit down before you do anything else on your to do list. Once it’s out of the way you’ll be surprised how smoothly your day will run.

About the Author

jvDSC_0495 (2)Jodi is the author of the RISE OF THE ARKANSAS WEREWOLVES series and writes paranormal romance as well as contemporary romance. Born and raised in Mississippi, her deep Southern roots and love of the paranormal led her to write Southern Paranormal novels. When she is not conversing with characters in her head, she can be found at her home in Northeast Arkansas with her handsome husband, brilliant son, a temperamental swan, and yellow lab that is fond of retrieving turtles when duck season is over.

Find her on Facebook, Jodi Vaughn, author.
Follow her on Twitter @JodiVaughn1
Sign up for her newsletter and check out her website
Find her on Instagram at VaughnJodi

Tara Neale: The Arrangement
Monday, September 7th, 2015


With the loss of his wife,  SEAL leader Daniel Monroe finds himself grounded with four girls to command. It is a job that proves too big even for this stalwart Commander. When he calls in the reserves, his mama and the wife of his best friend, they come up with a different kind of solution  – find him a new wife and mother for the girls on-line.

Jill Smith has dedicated her life to caring for others and raising her family. She lived in exile for a quarter of a century, the very American wife of a Royal Marine. Now with her husband dead and her sons grown, she is homesick with a hole the size of Texas in her heart. She is a mother with no one to look after. What’s a girl to do when she sees a handsome officer and four beautiful daughters with no one to care for and love them?

The surprisingly old-fashioned, yet modern, solution to their problems is an arranged marriage. Can ‘the arrangement’ built on shared values, goals and needs withstand the burning heat and wild kink that they create between the sheets…in the shower…on the kitchen counter tops?

To make matters worse, as Jill delves deeper into the supposed suicide of Daniel’s wife, near-miss accidents begin to plague the family. Is it just coincidence or someone trying to keep the truth hidden?

Please note that it is Over the Top HOT. WARNING: This book contains strong language as well as multiple and graphic love scenes including: sexual intercourse, oral and anal play, dirty talk and BDSM within a loving, monogamous marriage.

The story was inspired my own almost decade long exile as an American girl living in London. It offers a tiny taste of the cultural differences such as pancakes so thin you can practically see through them and words like jumper and loo.

But the flame that really ignited it was an old Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball movie called Yours, Mine and Ours (original 1968 version). It was the story of Navy Officer Frank Beardsley, a widower with ten children. He falls in love with and marries a nurse Helen North with eight blessings all her own. Of course, these days unless you are a reality TV star, no one has that many children. My Navy Commander Daniel Monroe has four beautiful little girls…to match her four adult sons.

In the original movie, Frank’s friend plays matchmaker, but I put a modern twist on the story with an internet website dedicated to the military…and Daniel’s mother and his best friend’s wife doing the looking and picking without his knowledge.

By 1960’s standard, Ford and Ball had a sexual chemistry and frank talking manner that pushed the envelop. I have carried that forward into the 21st century with a re-discovery and exploration of sexual appetites and fetishes that are not for the faint of heart. While the sex scenes are graphic in nature and the language strong, they move the story forward with a focus upon real life issues that many of us face: body image issues and feelings of sexual inadequacy. All the kink in this story is kept within the loving bounds of matrimony; after all can anything done in love truly be wrong?

Tara Neale
Writer, Madonna and More…
Twitter: @tara_neale

Lizzie Starr: Writers are Creative
Sunday, September 6th, 2015

Thank you, Delilah, for allowing me the chance to ramble on your blog today.

I suppose it’s silly to start out saying writers are creative. The statement certainly shouldn’t make anyone take a surprised step backwards and blink in astonishment. If writers weren’t creative, there’d be no stories to tell, no new lands and characters to discover, no tales of hope, adventure or romance. So, yeah. Writers are creative. I mean, just look at those beautiful pieces Delilah posted a few days ago!

While crafting stories is our main creative outlet, most authors express their inventiveness and ingenuity in other ways as well. And we find those other outlets a necessary part of the entire process. I have a good friend who makes beautiful quilts–each bit of fabric stitched to the next, then quilted. All by hand. Problems in her worlds are solved while actively doing something else. It’s that same concept as getting great ideas while you’re in the shower.

My local writers’ group is filled with crafters. Sometimes there’s nothing better than to put critiques aside for an evening to make charms for our wine glasses. One set for each house where we meet. Yep, authors also like wine. And chocolate. But that’s another blog.

I’ve been a crafter for as long as I remember. I crochet. I’ve made quilts, soft sculpture and porcelain dolls (patterned after some of my characters of course), jewelry…hey, anyone remember when decoupaging layers of napkins to the back of clear plates was in? What I’m saying, I guess, is that I’ve participated in a ton of creative ventures. There are more in my future. Because I need to stretch my creative muscles with a variety of exercises. Wouldn’t want to become overly developed in just one muscle group!

My latest creative adventure is closely related to writing…well, to books at least. I’ve learned how to create journals and coloring books. (Coloring. Wow, coloring is HUGE right now.) Today, I’m showing off my very first journal.


Moon Struck

The Journal 

The Moon…symbol of wonder, transition and enlightenment.

The moon has long been a source of wonder, even after men left their footprints on the dusty surface. The ever-changing cycles signal transition, speak to us of mysteries and offer illumination of both the world around us and our inner selves.

The Moon Struck Journal is filled with:

  • Moon quotations to prompt and inspire
  • Lined pages for personal reflection and discovery
  • Blank pages for sketching and doodling
  • Space to record favorite saying or poems
  • Anything you wish…

The Cosmos Journals #1

See that? The Cosmos Journals #1? There will be more in this series of journals. The second, Star Gazing The Journal is almost ready for publication.

Why is making books to inspire others a way for me to refill my creative well? I design the cover. I can play around with different layouts for the inside. I think about how I would use the journal. I’ve learned new software and even with the frustrations, when I figure out (and remember) what to do, it’s a rush. As is imagining how someone might enjoy the quotes and find the writing and (yep, here we go) blank pages for drawing or doodling or whatever beneficial.

How might you use Moon Struck The Journal? Does journaling or drawing and coloring spark your creative side? Interested in this journal? It’s available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and Books a Million.

About me? This is the official bit…*lizzie always made up games and stories to keep her company. So, a cunning witch lived in Grampa’s weather research station and was only held at bay by waving a certain weed. An ancient road grader morphed into a boat carrying wild adventurers to islands filled with fierce lions and dangerous cannibals, which really looked a lot like sheep. Now, filled with fantasy, love, and romance with a sparkling twist, the stories of her imagination swirl their way into the mundane world. When *lizzie must return to a more routine life, she’s *the Lunch Lady* at a private school. Author and lunch lady~~what a combination!

Find out more about me and those tales of sparkling romance at You’ll find links to a couple of free reads there, too.

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