Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Tweet Heard 'Round the World

Dino of lower Long Island
This morning before I left the house for my annual veterinary continuing education, I checked in here at my blog, FaceBook, Goodreads and Twitter. It's what I do every morning to make sure that I keep up with everything. At the very top of my timeline was this post:

Lea Walker 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review: Learning to Samba by Johnny Miles

I just finished reading Johnny's latest novel "Learning to Samba." It lived up to my expectations and I like to think to all the hype here on my blog.

I will say again that LTS is the best in Johnny's ongoing evolution as an author. You can feel the difference between this piece and the previous "Lauderdale Hearts," both of which I was privileged to see in their earlier incarnations. Both are unmistakably Johnny Miles, but LTS has a "feel" to it that LH was only just exploring. I wonder how much more his voice is going to refine itself along the way? And is that process ever completed or do we all just continue to open our hearts like a flower unfolding, showing our inner thoughts and self to the world?

But this is a review of a book, a great book, and not a philosophical debate of why anyone chooses to share themselves in such a potentially intimate fashion.

Brian's and João's story touches on many things. Learning to deal with loss and moving on with one's own life chief among them. It's also a story about family and doesn't just confine itself to our two heroes. In LTS, Johnny explores some broad family issues and interactions. I think the most important message is that one shouldn't allow assumptions to limit one's choices. Never imagine that your family can't or won't forgive and be there for you. It's what families do. Some may take longer to come around and some may never understand you, but don't assume they won't. Give them the chance to be what you need.

And of course the naughty parts explored new ground both for his characters and his readers, ranging from classic candles-and-roses romantic to mild BDSM. Handcuffs and blindfolds and tails, oh my!

Overall I found "Learning to Samba" to be a great read and recommend it to anyone.

Now to see if I can get Johnny to teach a nice samba class so we can all benefit from this.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Guest Blogger Johnny Miles: Inspired to Samba

When Kayla Jameth first asked me to be a guest on her blog and talk about my latest release I was delighted. Hell, who am I kidding? I was tickled pink!. I felt the way I would imagine a schoolgirl might feel when asked to the first school dance.

    Me? You want to take me?

    In a way it makes sense she be the first. Even with all my personal issues when writing “Learning to Samba,” if it hadn’t been for the picture Kayla posted on the FB group, Inspired Writing, the story might not have ever been written.

    I was going to do a bit of self-promo but instead, I got the idea to write about something slightly different yet still connected to the story rather than just pimping it out.

    But what to write about? What to say? What to touch upon? Then, of course, self-doubt came in but I quickly slapped it in the face and told it to fuck off. I have no room in my life at the moment, thank you very much. Not when I’m working on myself and trying to become the best me that I can.

    That’s when it hit me.

    So, after repeatedly starting this post -- picture me in front of a clunky Royal typewriter with enough sheets of crumpled paper to litter the entire floor -- I decided to step aside and let my self-conscious take over. I found myself writing about something I find absolutely fascinating; the apparently random connections we make and the inspiration that comes as a result.

    I don’t know how anyone else does it -- I can only speak for myself -- sometimes inspiration comes in spurts. It might be a word or two. A feeling is invoked. A phrase might possess me. Sometimes even an image comes to mind. It often starts the way a fire does; small, hopeful, quick to extinguish. But when that little fire finally flares to life, step back because it’s going to roar and will engulf you in it’s embrace.

    Just like that fire, inspiration can strike at the most inopportune time, in the most unlikely of ways and from unexpected places. What you…and others…think, say and do can affect it as surely as you can influence it.

    And that’s where the connections come in.

    As in real life, even here in cyber space, we’re all connected. Be it through social networks like Facebook, our own blogs or others we follow, what we say and do to one another -- negative or positive -- affects us in ways we’d never dreamed possible.

    Think of a bad review you might have received. Think of the negative, divisive comments you might read about politics, or any other subject that means something to you. Think about someone who was nasty to you at a shop or driving down the road. Or perhaps you received rude service when you ordered your meal?

    Real life isn’t much different from the cyber world but there is one very big difference. In cyberspace, people can hide. They say what they want without fear of repercussion and move on with their lives without ever knowing who they might have devastated. Or worse, not caring.

    However, by the same token, there are equally wonderful things that can happen on the internet! People leave uplifting messages online, we share and commiserate with one another because, get this folks, the bottom line is that we are all the same in the one place that truly counts. Our hearts.

    And here’s where the inspiration fits.

    Because we never know when inspiration will strike next, as writers, it’s important a part of us always remains listening -- tuned and alert -- to that most ethereal of lovers; and then be ready to follow it no matter where it might lead you. Even if it’s down a path you never expected.

    That’s what I did when I saw this picture posted on Facebook.

    Kayla, who has a hard-on for plot bunnies, like I do for coffee, posted the one that took hold of me and wouldn’t let go; not until I focused all my time and attention to it. In short, I followed my heart and listened to that whisper that said, “Come with me. I have something to show you.”

    And I went because I had to, knowing that if I didn’t, I’d always wonder.

    “Learning To Samba” is most definitely a work of fiction. First and foremost, that’s something every reader should always know about any book they open. But this one is very personal to me as it took me on an emotional journey. I had to put myself in the place of narrator in order to make the feelings more realistic.

    I didn’t like the places I had to go in order to get to that depth. They frightened me and forced me to deal with the inevitable loss of a loved one; assuming I’m the one to survive my partner of 15 years. But I managed, somehow, to move on.

    “Learning To Samba” is about more than just learning to leave the past behind and look forward to the future. It’s about closure, life, and all the good and bad that comes with it. It’s about love, romance and, yes, even passionate, kinky sex.

    It’s about coming to terms with family and personal issues.

    It’s also a love affair with what is, to me, one of the greatest cities in the world.

    It’s even a story about the love affair you create with yourself.

    Ultimately, I think “Learning To Samba” is what you, the reader, get out of it.

    Stepping back, I realize that at the heart of the story is the fragile and beautifully unexpected connections we make with perfect strangers, and the things that inspire us as a result of those connections.

    Think about the people whom you’ve come into contact with. What connections have you made that inspired you to…whatever? What little, possibly insignificant thing, caused you to write something? Or to pass on some random act of kindness?

    As I close this post, it’s raining here in Fort Lauderdale. I’m listening to something in my music collection with a mournful saxophone. The combined sounds make me feel melancholy but wonderfully alive and strangely optimistic about connections and the inspiration that will come.

Thank you, Johnny, for giving us a look at how you find inspiration. I love trying to spark inspiration in others with my plot bunnies. I'm glad this one took flame in your heart and soul and produced such a wonderful story.

I'm glad to take over promoting you and "Learning to Samba." So with no further ado, may I present...

"Learning to Samba" by Johnny Miles

Blurb: After traveling through Europe trying to recover from a loss, reclusive romance novelist Brian Oliver returns to his childhood home in order to find himself and re-establish a severed relationship with his sister. What he unexpectedly discovers, however, is that even an old dog like him can still learn new tricks. Especially if the one teaching is João da Silva, a 25-year-old Brazilian hot-ass with a major thing for Daddies.

Brian soon realizes that with forgiveness and acceptance comes great emotional freedom if he and João can rekindle the deep and burning lust for life he’d once had. Do love, sex, and passion have an expiration date, or can Brian Learn to Samba?

The excerpt from "Learning to Samba" is too long for me to add it to the post, but here are the direct links to the book and the excerpt on LooseId's website. I strongly recommend that everyone read this taste of a  Johnny's newest work. I can tell you that I am loving his story of love lost and a new love found.

Excerpt from "Learning to Samba":

"Learning to Samba" at LooseId:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Johnny Miles Teaches Us to Samba

A picture is worth a thousand words. It's been said often enough because it's true.

I have a rather impressive collection of nice photos just like this one on my FaceBook account. Numerous m/m authors who know me there have commented on just how inspiring any given photo can be for them. So I gathered up some of the best of them, photos and authors, and created a group called Inspired Writing.

We post a photo and then see what kind of story it inspires. I really enjoy seeing the multitude of different ways any photo can be interpreted. All of my original works to date, with the exception of "Controlled Fall," were inspired by photos posted in Inspired Writing. A photo posted by the Goodreads M/M Romance Group inspired "Controlled Fall." I'm still photo driven.

So it's safe to say that each of my stories has it's own muse or set of muses to give me a reason to pick up that metaphorical pen and set their story to paper. Some times they are reasonable and other times they get miffed at me if I take time off for sleep. Since muses don't need sleep, they don't understand why I am slacking off instead of listening closely to their tale.

Johnny Miles is also a member of Inspired Writing. He found inspiration in another photo and wrote "Learning to Samba." I have been privileged to get a taste of his initial manuscript and can tell you that his finished novel is going to be amazing. I am looking forward to August 16th when I can get my copy from LooseId with bated breath.

His story touches on many things. Learning to deal with loss and moving on with one's own life chief among them. It's also a bit of a family story that doesn't just confine itself to our two heroes. He explores some family issues and how one shouldn't allow assumptions to limit one's choices.

And of course, it has it's erotic moments, showcasing the men's adventurous spirits. Personally, I think Johnny was rather brash in his younger days.

Since I didn't have an actual photo of the samba, much less a m/m version of it, I chose this photo for it's similarity to the sensual aspects of the samba (the bedroom variety). I wonder if this will inspire Johnny to write anything else?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My New Look

My friend Margie Hall created this lovely bookmark and blog banner for me. She worked hard to produce the sophisticated design I was looking for. I'm ashamed to admit that I'm picky. Well, maybe not ashamed. I just know quality when I see it. I'd seen some of her other mock ups and wanted what Margie could make for me.

She put up with numerous requests by me to change the lettering, the background and my two happy gentlemen. Let's don't even go into the two day resizing marathon that was necessary to get the banner to work. I just know at some point she must have started dreading seeing my email cropping up in her inbox. But I'm glad to say that she is a great sport, and even better, is still talking to me.

I can not say enough about her talent and professionalism. If you are looking for a cover design or swag, look no farther. Margie Hall can set you up with just about whatever you need.

If you want to check out some of her work, she has a professional page on FaceBook: Savage Mind Designs.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Taking a Break

I'm about to take my annual family summer vacation. Just me, the hubby and the kids. We're going to spend some time in the sun doing aquariums, rain forests, dinosaurs and water parks. We should come home with a nice deep tan when it's all said and done.

I won't be able to work on "Alexios' Fate" or the blog or any other authorly pursuits. I will however have my trusty Kindle by my side. I intend to get a lot of rest and do some reading when I'm not chasing kids. Translation: once they are in bed. It's been too long since I could really do any reading. It has taken me weeks to finish a short novel I've been reading by one of my favorite m/m authors. I used to whip them out in one to two days. But writing and especially promoting can be a tough gig.

I should come back recharged and ready to tackle the first complete post-revision edits of "Alexios' Fate." Mainly I have to make sure that I haven't tangled up my time line with the multiple revisions. I should have a fresh take on it after not eating, sleeping and breathing this story.

Not being immersed in Alexios' tale should make it easier to see the big picture and if I stayed true to the story line and era through out. Hopefully I won't have any problems there and can focus on verbiage and style.

Once I get back there will be more guest blogs. I'm looking forward to being joined by Johnny Miles as he promotes his latest novel "Learning to Samba," a story that I am really looking forward to reading. Another story I am looking forward to is Rebecca Leigh's "The Revolutionary," a raw tale of the the old west, steam punk style. She will be joining me to tell us a little something about the sequel to "The Outlaw."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Guest Blogger Deanna Wadsworth: Increasing Dialog in Your Manuscript

First, I would like to thank Kayla for inviting me today! I'm really excited to be talking about my favorite thing today...TALKING!

As evidenced by bestselling authors like James Patterson, a writer can almost never have too much dialog to please the readers out there. But this can prove difficult if you are a descriptive writer whose greatest talent is lyrical prose or sometimes if you write erotica.

Dialog is what draws the reader into the moment, making them feel like a part of the action. I have a few helpful tips today which you might want to give a try if you would like to spice up your book with more chatter.

1. I like to print my book when I am finished then go through and highlight with markers all the different types of sentences so I have the best flow possible. Sounds crazy, I know, but basically I pick a color to highlight dialog, description, action sentences, etc. For the whole article on this technique, EDITING WITH COLOR stop by HERE

What this does is help me identify long periods of description and inner monologue which might be better served as dialog. You can also just highlight the lines on your computer but I like to get high on the marker fumes, LOL!

2. Once you have identified the spots in your story which could use some dialog try to take some of the character's monologue and make them say it. You might love how your characters surprise you.


John entered the kitchen, surprised at how sexy David looked standing by the window in faded jeans and their old college alumni sweatshirt. He hadn't seen that ratty old garment in ages.
David turned and John could tell depression held David in its grip by the slump of his shoulders and the forced smile. The funeral of their old teammate had taken its toll.

John entered the kitchen, surprised at how sexy David looked standing by the window in faded jeans and their old college alumni sweatshirt. "I haven't seen that ratty old sweatshirt in ages."
David turned. "It was Kevin's."
"Oh," he said, surprised.
"I wear it every day," David confessed, his shoulders slumped, his smile forced.
John hadn't realized how tight depression held David in its grip. The funeral of their old teammate had taken its toll. 

Just a subtle change, but do you see how I took what John was thinking and made him say it instead? I had to tweak the lines but it opened the door for David to confess he was wearing their friends shirt, and John to be concerned. Now the reader wants to know what John is going to do to help his friend. The reader feels bad for poor David now.

I say John should give David a nice blow job with lots of "Oh baby, suck it harder," because after all this is a blog about dialog. LOL!

3. Another way to add dialog is to take those italic thoughts and make your character just say it. They might get into trouble, but it could be fun.


Jake and Mike had arrived at the party together and Phillip wished he could crawl into a hole and die. But there was no hole to hide in when his ex-partner and new younger, thinner, sexier lover saw him and headed in his direction.
"Hey, Phil," Jake said, his smile perfect—as usual.
"Hey," he said, throat tight. He glanced at Mike and added mentally, You boyfriend snatching asshole, but all he said was, "Hi, Mike."

Jake and Mike had arrived at the party together and Phillip wished he could crawl into a hole and die. But there was no hole to hide in when his ex-partner and new younger, thinner, sexier lover saw him and headed in his direction.
"Hey, Phil," Jake said, his smile perfect, as usual.
"Hey," he said, throat tight. He glanced at Mike. "Hi, boyfriend snatching asshole."
Oh shit, did he just say that out loud?

Reader is now laughing and embarrassed for poor Phillip and also instantly invested in this scene, just by use of dialog.

Well, I hope these few tips can help you out. Dialog is so important to suck the reader into your protagonist's point of view and a vital part of what readers expect.

Thank you Kayla for having me, and thank all of you for stopping by.

You can find me online at Facebook

As a thank you for stopping by, I am offering a digital copy of my latest book BEAR IT ALL to one lucky commenter.


Travis hired the 1 Night Stand agency because he wanted a hot encounter with his dream man...a sexy older, hairy man and John looks custom made to order.

John, after losing his partner three years ago, is looking to learn how to accept another man into his bed again, to learn to live again. He thinks a one night stand in the Caribbean is the answer. But when John sees the young, thin and much smaller Travis he thinks the agency sent the wrong man.

Will Travis get his bear after all?
Will John open his heart to the unexpected?

BEAR IT ALL— cumming August 2nd from Decadent Publishing