When a romance author says the word ‘obsessions,’ there’s really no telling what they’re talking about. But today’s blog isn’t about the usual obsessions: hot men, sexy images, passionate kisses, hot men locked in passionate kisses in sexy images… Well, you get the idea.
Nope. Today I’m talking about completely unrelated obsessions. I’m a bit (okay, maybe more than a bit) of a research junkie. I regularly share news stories on archaeological finds throughout the world, goofy dog pics and vids, and stories about my other favorite animal: the shark.
I’m not entirely sure where, how, or when my love of sharks got started. Maybe it was my first viewing of Jaws years and years ago. Maybe it’s my love of the sea and its depths (even though I won’t swim in it—fear of drowning and all that). Whatever the reason(s), sharks are my second favorite animals on the planet—right behind canines.
I constantly watch (and rewatch) shows, movies, and documentaries about sharks–real and fictional. I’ve seen every shark horror movie made to date (unless I missed a foreign one or two), and all the gigantic shark B-movies. I avidly search for anything relating to my favorite shark of all time: Carcharodon megalodon.
Sharks are beautiful creatures, but Meg holds a special place in my heart. Just the sheer size and strength behind a fish that was about as big as a Greyhound bus is staggering. The teeth alone are colossal. The largest Meg tooth (untouched) is about seven inches. I have a small one that’s about three inches. (More pics are in a photo album on my Facebook page.)
Maybe one of these days I’ll try my hand at writing a story like those delightfully cheesy B-rated creature features. Until then, I’ll just devour everything I can find online.
Call me Katherine or Mychael–I’ll answer to both. I’m a mother, student, author by trade, and editor by compulsion. I’ve been in the publishing business for several years, namely as a writer but also as an editor on occasion. It never fails, though. I always end up editing eventually.
I’m a proud bibliophile, to which my poor sagging bookcases can attest. I read all the time, namely fantasy and romance.
When not writing or reading or editing, I…eat. Maybe sleep. Or watch Spongebob. Yes. I am a self-proclaimed, thirty-something year old Spongebob Squarepants addict. Much to my roommate’s dismay. It’s fun.
If you’re curious about what I write (and who wouldn’t be?!), then you can find me below:
Bromances, Frenemies, Romances and Just Good Friends: The Lure of Non-Romantic Partners and Storylines in Fiction
When people interview me, a standard question is “What do you do when you’re not writing?” Sometimes they even say “besides reading” so I can’t answer with that. My answer is always, even if they don’t nix the reading option, is “I watch TV.”
I watch a lot of TV—some is with my husband and daughter, but I watch a tonnage on my own. When I get stuck writing or have simply been at the computer too long, I whip out my phone or laptop, queue up a streaming service and gorge. I watch just about any genre, though I really love shows far-removed from my novels: ones with police procedure, policial intrigue, legal issues or spies. Right now I’m binging on Covert Affairs, though I have Castle on backup from a Marie Sexton recommendation. I inhaled the entire series of Medium one winter in the span of a month—a real feat, as that show has nine seasons.
Two of my favorite shows though are Suits and White Collar, and I’m totally there because of the chemistry between the male leads. I write gay romance, and it’s not a big reach to imagine I’m slashing Peter and Neal or Mike and Harvey. The truth is, though, I’m not, and it’s for the same reason I’m a little nervous about the romance blooming in season 4 of Covert Affairs and why every time they give Abbie and Ichabod an intimate moment on Sleepy Hollow I dig my fingernails into my armchair to still my nerves. It’s not that I wouldn’t love a gay twist in Suits or don’t want Abbie to have a romance, but more that I love the shows’ tension, and if the main characters get together, that tension changes.
It’s one of the hardest things to wrangle as a romance author: giving the reader lots of euphoric moments, kisses and tangles of limbs but also the tension of will it really work out? Once the romantic leads are hooked up, there can still be tension, but it gets harder to spin.
As a viewer, I love seeing characters get together, but we all know once they hook up they’re liable either to turn boring or broken apart. In the past romances have tanked shows—hello, Moonlighting—and I know from whispers that when I start Castle, the romance’s eventual resolution makes the show shaky for some. I wish there could be a continuing romance in a show without it being boring—though I’d rather have a romance turn boring than the writers to turn the characters sour. I had to bail on Scandal because I had no one to root for, and the bad guys won too often. I really need that HEA, that sense that at least in fiction, everything will be okay.
Sometimes I wonder though if romance in story is changing all around, though. Maybe that romance in Covert Affairs will bloom and fade and the relationships will survive—after all, it’s never been the focus of the show, only a sidebar. Maybe they’ll find a way to make them stable together romantically and keep the interest going.
Romance novels have already done this: I couldn’t possibly list all the series with romantic through-lines where the resolution takes upwards of seven books to complete and the story remains engaging and satisfying, the characters still good at heart.
Maybe the answer is that the way we tell romantic stories are evolving. I’m living proof of that: ten years ago the few LGBT romances that existed were largely off in a separate pool, and today we’ve settled in all over, even at New York romance imprints. Someday not too far away there will be a gay romance storyline in a legal TV drama. So why wouldn’t romance and relationships and the way we tell those stories evolve in other ways too?
Because what’s a romance but a beautiful exploration of two people coming together? Whether they barely kiss on the page or engage in intense BDSM on-screen, at its backbone romance is about connection and partnering. It’s the part I love to write, why my series, which all contain new guys getting together at the core, bring back old heroes as integral supporting characters. I love writing romantic tension and romantic resolution, but I love just as much those shopping scenes and kitchen adventures and arguments in the hotel lobby.
So here’s to relationships and the continuing evolution of how they present: man and woman, two men, two women, sweet or sexy, fiery or friendly, romantic or platonic. I’ll keep reading, watching, and writing them. And I’d put a lot of money down that no matter how the presentation changes, none of us will ever get tired of them.
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, and most recent/upcoming releases, at www.heidicullinan.com.
Thank you Delilah for having me guest post for you again! I absolutely love Delilah’s blog, reading all the unique posts, and meeting new readers!
On Tuesday, I had the honor of hosting my first Facebook launch party in honor of my debut novel titled Spirit Released, book 1 in the Whisper Cove Series (blurb below). Faith and Jake live in Whisper Cove, a small coastal town, and must overcome many challenges to be together. Their story is one of hope and the power to change.
Helping me to celebrate were nine other authors and hundreds of readers! As a writer, I’m sometimes introverted and reclusive when I’m deep in a story. But meeting and interacting with readers is invigorating. This morning, I’m still excited about the interaction and response to questions asked during the party. You can get a glimpse of party happenings here: Facebook Party
As an author, the benefits of Facebook, sharing a story and characters that I’ve spent half a year with, is amazing. Yes, these parties often lure with swag, but it’s the connections made prior and during that resonate true. Learning about a writer can often be discovered by reading their work.
As a reader, what benefit do you see in attending Facebook or blog parties? Have you ever begun a reader/author relationship through social media? How has the relationship changed your life? Please share.
A copy of Spirit Released will be given to one lucky commenter.
In the seaside town of Whisper Cove, a centuries’ old curse tests true love…
On her wedding day, Faith Cabrillo prepares to confess a desperate secret to her fiancé, Jake Mitchell—she’s cursed with both the ability of speaking to the dead…and never fulfilling the promise of true love. Before the truth is revealed, Jake’s life is endangered and Faith sacrifices herself to save him.
Grief-stricken, Jake refuses to accept Faith’s comatose state. His innovative research keeps Faith alive, yet he’s faced with his biggest challenge when Faith’s spirit appears with a warning that his life is still in danger. Because Jake’s a man of medicine, he denies his Faith truly exists on two planes. Until he talks to her. And holds her. And begins to hope that he’s wrong.
Will Jake’s devotion and Faith’s body and soul be forged by love’s healing power in time to stop a killer before the curse again claims Faith …this time forever?
About the Author: If you love a tale with courageous heroes and heroines, where their unconditional love for each other gives them strength to defeat their inner demons, award winning author Cyndi Faria invites you to enter the pages of her romances and find happily ever after.
Cyndi Faria is an engineer turned romance writer whose craving for structure is satisfied by plotting heartwarming romances with a dash of American folklore.
On and off her sexy romance pages, this California country girl isn’t afraid to dirty her hands fighting for the underdog and caretaking rescued pets. Find her helping fellow writers and leading readers to happily ever after at www.cyndifaria.com
For the last three weeks, I’ve had to do something I haven’t done in years. Five days a week, I sit on a commuter train for two hours in each direction, heading down from Rural Paradise to Big Dirty City. Two hours each way. Plus driving to the station time, parking the car time, running under the underpass time, running back under the underpass because I realize I left the lights on time. Friends are rather horrified at how long my day has become. Certainly there are downsides. The local pizza shop has done rather too well out of us. I’ve forgotten what the house looks like in daylight. It’s costing a stonking lot of money in train fares.
But, there are upsides, the biggest of which is writing time.
My favorite place to write has always been when I’m moving. Planes are the best. Nifty little fold down desk in front of you, inspirational view, and someone coming by every hour offering free drinks.
Trains come a close second though. No desk, unfortunately no drinks unless I sneak a cup of coffee on with me, and the free wifi only lasts long enough to scroll through my emails and see that access to my website is still banned under Queensland Rail’s T&C “no adult websites”.
I’m rather amazed at how productive I can be. On my 2 hour journey, I generally get a solid 1.5 hours of writing time each way before the train gets too crowded, and I can’t type comfortably. That’s 3 hours uninterrupted writing time a day. Or about 5000 words on a good day, when I’ve planned out my work.
I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot more than I used to get written a day.
Right now, I’m working on a story for my own current call for submissions: a lesbian erotica collection with the theme of “Forbidden Fruit”. You can see the CFS at http://www.cheyenneblue.com/#/archives/556 (Writers! Wander over, take a look! I’d love for you to submit!). I’ve finished and submitted another couple of stories, written blog posts (including this one), I’m working on a novella, which for me is a shift, as for the last 14 years I’ve written short stories.
You can see some of my recent work in these anthologies:
“Perk of the Job” in XOXO Sweet and Sexy Romance edited by Kristina Wright (Cleis Press). A hotly romantic story of a veterinary nurse and her Staffy dog, both of whom have a crush on Mel’s boss. Written on a plane between Denver and Montreal.
“Cowboy Downtime” in “Cowboy Heat” edited by Delilah Devlin (Cleis Press) – Cowboys relax at a polocrosse game in the Australian outback. He plays defence; she plays attack. Who will come out the winner? Written in the car on the Bruce Highway, Queensland.
“My Name is Bond” My upcoming story in “Bossy” edited by Harper Bliss: A radiologist plays doctor to the real doctor at a radiology clinic. This hot and loving story was written on Queensland Rail.
And of course, there’s this endless source of entertainment when writing on the train:
Commuter pass: $120
The look on the face of the woman next to me as I write “He buried his face in her wet $&*#*!!!*”
Thank you, Delilah, for kindly hosting me on your blog.
Cheyenne Blue has been peddling her erotic short stories for the last 14 years and has over 90 short stories in various anthologies. See her work in “Best Women’s Erotica”, “Best Lesbian Erotica”, “Cowboy Heat”, “Cowboy Lust” and many many more. She lives by the beach in Queensland Australia, and writes on planes, trains and automobiles.
UPDATE: The winner (chosen by a random number generator) is…Carle Lee Detweiler!
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Yes, there’s a contest, but you keep reading!
Just to get this out of the way up front, Her Only Desire releases in 10 days. It’s a full-length novel. Not something you see from me all that often. And it’s the first in a series. Genre? Erotic romance, suspense, mystery? There’s action and then there’s more action, baby. 🙂 And it’s releasing in both ebook and print.
This is what my publisher says about the book: “For fans of Sylvia Day andE. L. James, comes awarding-winning author Delilah Devilin’s first book in her sensual eroitic romance Sultry Summer Nights series.”
What do I think? My book’s very, very sexy. Yes, you have a young, not very experienced woman who enters the world of a very wealthy man, but that’s where the comparison with any other book ends. My guy’s disgraced, suspected of murder, an ex-SEAL who built a Black Ops company. My girl holds the key to freeing him from the past. Blah, blah, blah. It’s all in the execution, and you know me by now, there’s sex, more sex, kinkier sex, plenty of humor, and some kick ass action. It’s also set deep in the Louisiana bayou with a brief jaunt to Mexico for the hero to conduct some biz-ness.
The cover’s pretty, yes?
Does the blurb write-up intrigue you?
The moment Tilly Floret sees the sleek Bentley driving down Main Street, she knows trouble has arrived in her sleepy little town. A mysterious job posting keeps appearing at the diner where she works, and she can’t resist applying. No matter that the entire town of Bayou Vert is whispering about the wealthy, powerful man behind it all and his scandalous return home. The moment his ice-blue eyes meet hers, he ignites an all-consuming desire she never imagined possible, one she can’t deny. Ex-navy SEAL Boone Benoit never thought he’d set foot in Louisiana again. As soon as Tilly starts her new job in his pleasure club, he senses a kindred soul. One who has carefully guarded secrets of her own-and a simmering hunger for the taboo rites of mastery and submission. The only difference is she doesn’t yet know it. Now as Boone tutors Tilly in the tantalizing world of leather and lace, she will shed her every inhibition and surrender to him, body and soul.
Tell you what. Read the excerpt below, post a comment, and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of my latest collection, Cowboy Heat.
Excerpt from Her Only Desire…
“Tell me, Tilly. What do you think BDSM is all about?”
“It doesn’t matter what I think,” she said faintly. No way would she describe the images in her mind.
“Blunt talk. You were ready for that from me. Give me the same courtesy.”
Her fingers were clasped tightly in her lap. She drew a breath and let her gaze fall away. “I think it’s for people who haven’t learned to connect with others in a healthy way. Or who have something missing inside themselves.”
He stayed silent for a moment, his expression shuttered. “Are you open to the possibility that entering that world can help a person find what’s missing in their lives?”
She raised her gaze and gave him a frown. “Maybe that’s what you choose to believe about me, but twisting my words doesn’t make it true.”
Everyone has an opinion, right? And everyone has the right and freedom to share that opinion. Absolutely.
But that doesn’t mean I have to let that opinion affect me. And thankfully I’m very lucky in letting other people’s judgments roll off my back.
I care what some people think of me and my writing. The people that “get it” and “get me”. Not the people that are shocked, appalled, and offended by it. No matter how great it is they’re still going to be offended, appalled, and shocked by it. It happens.
Trust me, I know what I write isn’t for everyone. ***GRINS***
I don’t like sci-fi…who knew? That doesn’t make me a bad person. So, me writing, reading, and devouring Erotica, ménage, same sex, medical fetish, like Orgasm University that just released, and a whole host of other taboo topics doesn’t make me anymore of a bad person.
I’m gonna tell you guys a little secret. Come a bit closer to the screen so I can whisper it to you…
I like tattoos. *GASP*
And piercings. *The horror*
And a WHOLE LOTTA KINK!!! (If you’re feeling woozy this may not be the blog post for you.) *smiles*
I like life, and love and respect and family and singing and crochet and laying out on a sunny beach slathered in SPF 5000 so I don’t burn.
All of these things make me…me.
And I’m proud of the me I have become. I’m still growing and changing and exploring everything the word has to offer, and feel blessed for each day I get to continue my journey.
For those of you this strikes a chord with – MWAH & HIGH F***ING FIVE!
For those of you that turn your nose up at it and wrinkle your face….please refer to sentence two above.
The best advice I’ve ever been given. “Find the real you and NEVER settle for anything less.” I live by this sentence. Every day, every hour.
I think if more people did, instead of being judgmental and hateful, the world would be a better place.
My two cents.
Now it’s your turn. Want to win a free e-copy of Orgasm University? Let me know what you think.
Do you care what people think?
Victoria’s been called frigid by every boyfriend she’s ever had. Having never gotten off during sex with even one of them probably has something to do with it. But none of them knew how broken she really is. She not only hasn’t gotten off having sex, she’s never orgasmed…ever.
Then she sees an interdepartmental memo for a university study that claims it can help with her little problem. Once she signs her name on the dotted line, Dr. Hotlidge, finds all the right buttons to push.
He’s been looking for the perfect subject for his grant study, but something’s been missing from each of the women he’s questioned so far. Everything changes when Jane Smith #129 steps into his exam room.
It’s supposed to be anonymous, clinical research and nothing more. But when he finds her inner submissive hiding just below the surface, they both find more than they bargained for.
A Romantica® BDSM erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
Jennifer Kacey is a wife, mother, and business owner living with her family in Texas. She sings in the shower, plays piano in her dreams, and has to have a different color of nail polish every week. The best advice she’s ever been given? Find the real you and never settle for anything less.
When I wrote Clear As Day, the first book in my River series, I used a real location for the setting that I had loved visiting and that was very vivid to me, Lake Mohave. In fact, I had written pages of setting description as an exercise featuring the summer heat and cool waters of Lake Mohave before Kay and Nate ever appeared in that first scene and the little story was born that would eventually grow into Clear As Day. The other stories I have in the works for my River series also grew out of that scenic desert setting.
My new release, Summertime Dream, also began with a setting, but in a very different way. I’ve never been to Falk’s Bend. The town and Falk House can’t be found on any map outside of my imagination. Originally, I planned to write a short story around a Fourth of July picnic, something very sentimental and traditional, and a story that had absolutely nothing to do with Lake Mohave or my River series. I didn’t even know in which state I was building my fictional town. I simply had in mind a very green, steamy hot July 4th day at a picnic ground in a town park.
This time, there was no wandering off into pages of simple setting. The viewpoint of the heroine that would be Margie was already in the scene, frustrated and yearning for change, yet loving her small town traditions. Then my hero walked into the scene and I discovered that he was in town because he’d unexpectedly inherited a house. At that stage, my hero and I both were thinking some sort of old, but ordinary house.
Ordinary was not the word for the house my imagination concocted: a grandly decrepit old white elephant of a mansion. After the real locations I used in Clear As Day, drafting away in a fictional setting was unsettling. A confusing feeling, considering all the world building I’ve been doing for my fantasy stories, where crafting fictional places was perfectly normal. Stuck on the need for “realness” I began to research. Looking for visuals of the house led me to the lovely old Second Empire style Heck-Anderson house in Raleigh, South Carolina, which is very close to the house I first imagined.
From that point on, the details of Falk’s Bend became easier. My fictional town of Falk’s Bend and the Olsson family’s restaurant were partially inspired by my Swedish heritage. I’d love to live in a quiet small town someday (but my “city-mouse” husband isn’t too keen on this idea). I finally settled my little town in the state of Missouri because of its many rivers, a great location for a hero with a hobby of fishing, and because its rural areas and history felt so opposite of Christopher’s life in Los Angeles. Also, while most Swedish emigrants settled in the upper Midwest, Missouri felt like a place where Christopher’s enterprising ancestor might choose to build a community and his fortunes.
I’ve always loved antiques and I had fun “decorating” the Falk house. The antique books Margie finds in the library are all real books I own, as is some of the other bric-a-brac found in the Falk house. Christopher’s rocking chair and little table are in my living room. I ended up having a wonderful time writing the settings in Summertime Dream, and the house became almost as much a character in the story as my hero and heroine.
If you are a writer, how do you go about choosing a setting for your stories? If you are a reader, do you prefer settings that you could actually visit or places of the imagination?
The Fourth of July is over, but for these summer lovers the fireworks have just begun.
An unexpected inheritance brings business consultant Christopher Gordon from Los Angeles to quaint Falk’s Bend. He’s carved a week from his demanding schedule to list his great-grandparents’ house for sale and explore his roots. However, disturbing family secrets and the sweet temptation of writer Margie Olsson derail his plans, challenging him to seize the elusive dream missing from his hectic life— love.
A recent brush with death shook Margie’s life, but not her dreams and she’s ready to move forward. Only, standing up to her loving, over-protective family isn’t easy. Helping Christopher explore the derelict mansion and unravel his grandmother’s mysterious past should be a harmless fun taste of independence. But when her experimental summer fling ignites into unexpected love, how can her small town dreams work with his big city life?
Christopher removed the padlock and chain from the driveway gate and swung the gate open, only to have the rickety picket panel break off in his hands. He shook his head and dropped the wreckage aside on the grass. “One more item for the to-repair list.”
After slowly navigating the lumpy, buckled driveway to park alongside the house, he pulled a heavy-duty flashlight from the back seat. “The power’s not on yet, maybe tomorrow. Mrs. Dodd lent this to me.”
She tippy-toed after him up the side porch steps, careful to avoid putting the high heels of her sandals through the old wood. “We’re not wearing the best exploring clothes.” She smoothed her hands over the skirt of her dress. Both of them were dressed more for church or a dinner date.
He regarded her from beside the boarded front door, his steady gaze pausing on her mouth before flinching upward. “You look great. Really pretty in that peach color.” A flush rose in his cheeks, and he focused on sorting through the neatly labeled ring of keys.
Her own cheeks burned. Was he also remembering those kisses yesterday? “Thanks.”
Christopher removed the padlock and swung open both panels, revealing the screen doors and the original ornamented and leaded glass double entry doors, both curving into a graceful peaked arch like a church door.
“Oh, all the glass is safe. Isn’t it beautiful?”
Christopher nodded as he fit an old-fashioned key into the ornate brass lock. He gripped the doorknob and took a deep breath. “Ready?”
The hinges whined and creaked as he pushed the door inward. Daylight wedged into the short entry vestibule, revealing another doorway formed by elegant leaded glass sidelights and transom, and faded across the hardwood floor into the gloomy grand entry hall. Disturbed dust floated through the sunlight.
Christopher flicked on the flashlight and stepped into the once-majestic hall. Margie followed, nose wrinkling at the musty stale air. He swung the light upward, revealing an elaborate lamp fixture hanging from a plaster medallion, the crystal pendants festooned with spider webs. “Our very own haunted house, huh?”
Babette James writes sweetly scorching contemporary romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints. As a teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! Born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California, she’s had a life-long love of the desert and going down the shore. Babette lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and extremely spoiled cats.