Devon Ellington: Commitment

Characters who engage us strongly, whether we agree with them or not, share a characteristic — commitment.

The commitment might be to a cause (saving the world/ruling the world), a person (protecting a loved one/destroying the family of someone who’s wronged them), a job (an assassin, an agent, etc.).  But they have a purpose, and they follow that purpose with “steely determination”.  Part of the reason we stay with these characters is because they are MORE than we are, better (or worse) than we are, and that unswerving determination, the ability to overcome obstacles and setbacks, no matter how daunting, give us something to hold onto.  We might admire it.  We might distain it.  We might fear it.

Because most of us don’t have that kind of commitment.

However, we can learn from these characters.  We can learn to make choices, make commitments, and keep them.

How many people do you know who say they’d write a book “if they had time”?  The truth is, they wouldn’t.  If they wanted to write a book, they’d put the butt in the chair every day and write the book.  They’d make the commitment.  There’s no such thing as “no time to write.”  There’s a choice to write.  There’s a choice not to write. They aren’t willing to do that, and therefore, they won’t write the book.  They like the idea of HAVING WRITTEN, but they don’t want to make a commitment to the actual writing.  Those who write only when it’s convenient don’t build their craft and build a body of work. Those who make a commitment of time and work find they grow and improve, and eventually, with a combination of commitment, persistence, and craft, they can succeed.

Good actors spend years honing their craft.  They pay their dues in no-money and low-money theatre, always seeking out good projects that challenge them and make them grow.  Those who make the commitment, even when it’s rough, keep working and working, and eventually earning their living at it. They might not ever be “stars” — but as someone who’s worked with actors for many years, most working actors who aren’t stars have a much happier and more balanced life.  They’re committed to the work, they keep working, striving, but it’s about the work, not about the fuss around the work.

Painters, doctors, engineers, accountants, astronomers — whatever someone’s passion is, without the commitment, there is no achievement.  Even those who pretend that they were “discovered” while just puttering around — still, they put aside the time to putter.  They made time for the work.

If you claim you want to write, then write.  Create the time and space to write.  If you’re going to sign up for a workshop, you are in someone else’s playground, with someone else’s rules.  Respect that. Follow directions.  Meet deadlines.  Take risks.  Commit.  You might surprise yourself.

Or, you can spend the rest of your life on the periphery, reading/watching characters who commit deeply, and separate from their creators, who do the same thing.


Devon Ellington publishes under a half a dozen names in fiction and non-fiction.  She writes the Jain Lazarus adventures:, and her paranormal romantic suspense, set backstage on a Broadway show, ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT (as Annabel Aidan) is available from Champagne Books.  Her plays are produced all over the world.  She offers a wide variety of business writing and editing services, and teaches both online and in-person.  Her blog on the writing life is Ink in My Coffee ( and her main website is

Blurb and Links:


Detective Wyatt East finds himself the primary suspect when hex breaker Jain Lazarus disappears after their romantic weekend in Vermont.  In spite of the suspicions, Jain’s boss, Maitland Stiles, hires Wyatt to track her down, forcing him to face aspects of his own painful past and revealing more about hers.

Saddled with two rebellious runaway paranormal teens, he’s embroiled in a shapeshifter pack disagreement, and must learn to work with both a caustic dragon and a cantankerous mermaid to not only find Jain, but  help her help an old friend who’s in over his head.   Wyatt learns he is not without psychic abilities of his own, although he prefers old-fashioned detective work.

Releasing on March 4, 2013 from Solstice Publishing:

Direct Buy Links to follow as available

Visit the Jain Lazarus site | Visit Billy Root’s blog | Jain Lazarus Adventures on Facebook


Excerpt from OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the second Jain Lazarus Adventure:

“Again, Mr. Collins,” said Wyatt.  “What can I do for you?”

“When did you last see Jain Lazarus?”

“We spent a four day weekend together about six weeks ago in Vermont.”

“Have you spoken to her since?”

“I left a few messages on her voice mail, but I haven’t heard back.”

“Yes, we know that.  We have her phone.”

Wyatt felt a chill run down his spine.  “Why would you have her phone?”

“Was she in good health when you parted?”

“We went skiing in the morning.  We went back to change.  She got a phone call – on the landline, not her cell, and said she had to go.  She left before I did.”



“No one’s seen or heard from her since that weekend in Vermont.”

“Are you looking for her?”

“Yes.  She was due in our office the very next morning to get briefed on a new assignment.  The proprietor of the inn tells a different story.”

“What do you mean?”

“He says the two of you left in the morning, but you came back alone.”

“That’s not true.”

“And there’s no record of a call going through to your room.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“Did you argue with Jain that weekend?’

“No.  We had a great time.”

“Don’t lie to me, Detective.  I’m every bit as capable of discerning a liar as you are.”

“Then you know I’m telling the truth.”

“Either that or you’re even more talented than Jain believed.  You are the last person we know who saw Jain before her disappearance.”

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yep. That’s right. It’s my birthday. Or rather, it’s my real persona’s birthday but she allows me as Lissa Matthews to share it too. 😉

I am taking today off from writing. I always take my birthday off. I will do a little shopping. Some coffee drinking. I will indulge in a birthday cake from my favorite store along with some of my favorite foods. I will spend the weekend having fun, relaxing, indulging, and watching the season’s first Nascar races.

I typically spend a week celebrating, or a month, but I have been terribly busy this year so far trying to get new books written, older books finished, and interesting new ideas percolating. I have one story under contract already and one that I’m waiting to hear back on. There will be at least 3 releases by late Spring and I’m very excited about that, with more releases coming in Summer and following through the rest of the year. This re-starting of a writing career is hard when I didn’t intend to ever have to do it in the first place. In the last year, I’ve grown and learned a lot about myself as a person and writer and friend. I’ve lost some people and gained others. I’ve asked questions I didn’t like the answers to, but have started learning from them. I’m enjoying writing again and I had lost that feeling for a while and wasn’t sure it was going to come back.

I’m learning to own my mistakes, own my reactions, own my failures, and own my triumphs. I’m learning to like me and who I am becoming. And I’m learning that life is way too damn short not to speak up, not to tell someone the truth, not to stay silent when I would rather do just the opposite. I am learning to ask for help, to say thank you when a compliment is given, to keep my nose to the grindstone and not give a shit in certain situations.

I am 42 years old today. And my goal for this year is to continue learning…my craft, myself, my passions, my life.

Birthdays are not a bad thing and I try to keep my head up as I grow older. I am learning and trying to be more appreciative of the days and hours that go by. I am learning who I want to let into my life, who I allow to affect me and who I cherish.

Over the course of the next month, until March 22, some of those people will receive emails from me containing gifts. Gift cards, coffee, sweets, books, or whatever I happen to think they’ll enjoy. I love gifting people for my birthday. It means a lot to me to be able to give to those who’ve made this last year better than expected.

Now, if y’all will gather around, I’ll listen to you sing Happy Birthday! 😉

Have a fantastic Friday and weekend. And remember… we want the #18 M&M’s Camry of Kyle Busch to win the Daytona 500 on Sunday.


Sabrina York: Bloomers and the Tantalus

Bloomers and the Tantalus—What I never knew about the Regency Period

Let us be honest with each other. I have read billions of Regency romances. Billions.

I thought I knew everything there was to know about the period, including the voice, the feel, the tone of it.

I was flabbergasted to discover how little I actually knew.

For one thing, a lot of the authors I had so voraciously read, got some things wrong. Just minor details really, like their dates. And fashions. And things that might be lying around the house.

For example, the Tantalus, that lovely invention where our heroes keep their ubiquitous brandy…was not invented until much later.

You know. Little things.

But when you’re an erotic author little things, like bloomers, become suddenly significant.

Specifically, the fact that they didn’t wear them in the Regency period. Underwear didn’t really become a common convention until the much more rigid Victorian era. There are those who will disagree with this tidbit—I prefer to err on the side of caution.

When my first erotic Regency, Folly, went to final line edits, I got the word. No Bloomers. I had to re-write several key scenes—scenes I loved, which caused me to GNAW off my fingernails.

I’ll share it here, just because I cannot bear for it to be forever consigned to oblivion. This scene appears in the book, but is severely truncated. And no one’s wearing drawers.

He nodded curtly in her direction. “There. You’re unbuttoned. Finish the job yourself.” Because, God, he wanted to watch her undress. For him.

She swallowed and nodded and let the dress fall to the floor.

He ground his teeth, bit his tongue, curled his hand in to a fist around the arm of the chair. Anything to keep him from flying across the room, taking her in his arms and planting himself inside her.

No. He sat there in the plush chair and watched as she revealed herself to him. For once her dress fell, she lifted her chemise. His heart thudded in his chest as her creamy belly, her abdomen and finally, her breasts were bared.

God. She was beautiful.

She pulled the chemise all the way off and let it fall to the floor. Let her gaze fall as well. She peeped up at him, standing there in nothing but her drawers.

“Finish it.”

Yeah. It nearly killed me to cut that “Finish it.”

When I started on my second erotic Regency, Dark Fancy, it was a little easier. I had my cheat sheets to make sure bloomers and the dreaded Tantalus did not appear. But I still made some interesting faux pas. Anachronisms. Terms or words that were not in use during that period.

I have to say, I enjoyed reading the FLE’’s notes tremendously. Now that I am working on the next two books in the series, I am having a blast checking the etymology of words and phrases I like. If you write historical romance, please allow me to recommend Online Etymology Dictionary: If you’re a history nerd like me, you’ll love it.

In the meantime, please enjoy this blurb and excerpt attached.


darkfancy_msrDark Fancy

By Sabrina York

When Lady Helena Eloise Simpson flees an unwanted marriage to a revolting lord, she finds refuge with James, a charming, handsome man unlike any she’s ever known. Helena concocts the perfect solution to her problem. She asks—begs—James to ruin her. Surely her betrothed will repudiate her if she is no longer pure. And if all her efforts fail and she still ends up married to a horrid man until the end of her days, she will—at least once—have known true passion.

But James is not all he seems. He is, in fact, a wicked lord with a dark fancy. When Helena awakens his desire, he becomes determined to take everything she has to offer and more. No matter the cost.

Dark Fancy by Sabrina York

An excerpt from: DARK FANCY

Copyright © 2013 by Sabrina York, 2013

All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing , Inc.

By reading any further you are stating you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary for you to exit this site.

James stared at Eloise, brave, proud, innocent Eloise. He could relate to the passion in her plea. He had a sudden desire to be released from a betrothal himself. He fiddled with the corner of his napkin. “There is always the chance your betrothed won’t care if you’re ruined.” Some men did not.

Her lashes fluttered. When they rose again, there was a look in her eye that sent lust coursing down his spine. It settled in his cock. “If I’m to be married to a bilious flounder of a man for the rest of my life, I should like to know passion just once. Just once, James.”

“J-just once?” His voice cracked.

Her smile blossomed. “Perhaps more than once.”

He had to laugh, although this was clearly no laughing matter. “My dear. I would be happy to oblige.”

“Excellent!” She clapped her hands with glee.

Unfortunate, that, because it made her look, once again, like a little girl. But then she picked up her cup and ran her pink tongue around the rim, lapping at the wayward drops. He reached for the second bottle.

She held out her cup for a refill. “You will need to show me what to do.”

He almost forgot to stop pouring. Hell yes. He’d love to show her what to do. He’d love to instruct her—in elaborate detail—what, precisely, to do. Something snarled in his belly.  His palm itched.

He forced down that decadent desire. Chained the beast.

For God’s sake. She was an innocent, a virgin. If he opened with that card, not only would she truly be ruined, she would probably hie off to the nearest nunnery and spend the remainder of her life in seclusion.

Oh, he would bed her. He would despoil and beguile her, but only in the very gentlest of fashions.

But his fantasies, the darkling imagery of what he would truly like to do, simmered.

“Are you…” He cleared his throat. “Are you ready for your bath?”

“Heavens, yes.” Once again, she clapped her hands.

The childlike gesture was off-putting since, at the moment, he was thinking of sinking his cock into her body and swallowing her moans with his mouth. But he liked her enthusiasm. It also made him desire—very deeply—to tie those hands to the bedposts. So she couldn’t clap them.

Why that thought made him salivate, he didn’t know.

Ah hell. Of course he knew.

Despite the lust snarling through him, he managed a modicum of chivalry, although it was perfunctory at best. “I’ll fashion a curtain.”

Her next words nearly unmanned him. “You don’t need to.”

“I b-beg your pardon?”

“You don’t need to bother with a curtain.” For a shy and demure innocent, she had something of a brazen streak. “I mean, if we’re going to…you know…”

“Make love?”

“Yes. If we’re going to make love, you will see me naked anyway.” A frown crossed her brow. “Won’t you?”

He chuckled. “Most certainly.”

“I thought so. But people are not very forthcoming when one asks about such things.”

“Really?” That had not been his experience in the slightest. Then again, she was a girl. The world sought to save and protect innocence. Until it ravaged it.

He did not know why he trembled as he poured the heavy buckets into the tub. He was a man of the world. Jaded and used to much more decadent fare than initiating virgins to the delights of the flesh. He should hardly be nervous about the prospect of having her.

Then again, maybe it wasn’t nerves. Maybe it was just pure, seething desire.

Dark Fancy is now available for preorder on Amazon

About Sabrina York

Sabrina is an award winning author of erotic romance with over a dozen titles available, ranging from sweet & sexy erotic romance to BDSM to erotic horror. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york or Facebook.

Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on her webpage ( or explore on Amazon or at Ellora’s Cave.

  • Adam’s Obsession: Contemporary Erotic Romance
  • Extreme Couponing: Contemporary BDSM
  • Folly: Erotic Regency
  • Pushing Her Buttons: Contemporary BDSM
  • Rising Green: Steamy Erotic horror
  • Training Tess: Contemporary BDSM
  • Trickery: Magical Domination
  • Tristan’s Temptation: Contemporary Erotic Romance


Coming Releases


Win a Tiara From Her Royal Hotness!

Enter to win a gorgeous tiara by signing up for Sabrina York’s Royal Hotsheet (new book and contest info only–no spam! Your e-mail address will not be shared). If you’re already getting the newsletter, don’t fret. You’re already in the drawing. Send an email with “Enter Me” in the subject line (this is erotica, after all) to The drawing will be March 31, 2013.


One entry per person.


Refer Your Friends Bonus Entries
Tell your friends about Sabrina York, Her Royal Hotness. If they sign up for Sabrina’s Hotsheet you earn another entry, plus a chance at a Referrals Only drawing for more bling. (NOTE: They must tell me that you referred them in the message box so I can give you credit).


Good luck!!!

Writer Friday – Liz Borino

How to Handle Differing Opinions of Your Writing

The first thing people in the publishing industry tell you when you’re getting ready to publish for the first (or hundredth) time is to grow a thick skin to criticism. The truth is no matter how amazing your writing is, there will be some people who can’t see the genius. Some won’t even try. Then again, some people will get it. Hopefully, a lot of people. Here’s a list of reasons that people might not connect with your masterpiece.

  1. People are mean. It happens. Sometimes, people will give a bad review because they’re jealous, they hate sunshine, or they’re having a bad day. No matter why it happens, they woke up and decided to write a scathing review. It’s not a good idea to jump to this conclusion unless they don’t provide any evidence for their negative opinion.
  2. Not their genre of choice. This isn’t your fault as an author. There’s nothing you can do about people buying a book they shouldn’t and leaving a bad review.
  3. The plot contains a ‘triggering’ element for them. A trigger is something that invokes a strong negative reaction. Some people go into panic attacks when reading a rape or abuse scene because of a previous experience. The sad part is there’s nothing you can do about this, either. Trying to write to please everyone will wind up in ‘safe’ writing, which pleases no one.
  4. The reviewer doesn’t connect with your characters. All right this is a little tougher to hear. As any writer will tell you, those characters live in our hearts and minds, not just on the page. They’re the last thing we think about at night and the first thing in the morning… come on! It can’t be just me. Anyway, this critique perplexes authors of every type. This could again be personal preference, but that thought does little to soothe the author. So, look at your overall reviews. What do most people say about the characters? Do they find them likable? Relatable? Yes? Then you can disregard a few differing opinions.
  5. The editing leaves something to be desired. I’ll admit this complaint is the worst for me. Why? I’ve gotten it on a few of my books. Whenever I see it, I cringe. Because I may not be able to control how the reader will react to my characters or plot, but the editing is on me. The product is a direct reflection of the author, and I’m a perfectionist. An e-book author might have the opportunity to change this, but the review will likely still be there, and it’s very difficult to get someone to read it again and reconsider. To prevent this, have more than one editor look at it, in addition to your beta readers. And after all that? It won’t be perfect. But you’ll get better the next time. That’s the goal, after all.

What are the worst reviews for you to get as an author? As a reader, what are your deal breakers in a book? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Mine (1)Blurb:
From the moment Steve Michaels met actor Zack Greene in the men’s room of a press conference, the director knew his snarkiness mixed with angelic features, excited him. What he wasn’t prepared for was the vulnerability underneath the hardened exterior. And he really wasn’t prepared to fall in love.

But they did.

Zack needed some positive press and a second chance after getting out of rehab. He found the director of Ben’s Life, the series he planned to audition for. Steve helped him within a loving structured relationship.

Follow Zack and Steve as they face the challenges of work, family, injuries, and pasts together as they redefine family.

Warning: Contains spanking, Light BDSM, Dom/sub relationship, and two men who can’t get enough of each other. Vol. 1 includes Casting, Action, Cutaway, and That’s a Wrap. E-book Paperback

Casting: FREE- Steve Michaels had one goal for the evening: drink just enough to get through the press conference in promotion of Ben’s Life, the new television series he’s directing. Plans change for him when the seedy producer of the show zeroes in his seduction efforts on Zack Greene, the bad boy of the moment. Now, Steve has to make sure Zack doesn’t sue.

Instead of finding the hardened bad boy he expected, Steve finds a vulnerable man whom life has beaten down. Can Steve help build him back up with a loving structured relationship? Find out how being cast in right roles enriches their careers and lives. Smashwords

Guest Author: Heather Long

Love Comes without Warning

Not every couple has a fair chance, for Liam and Brenden, the challenges to being together began and ended with the two of them. Brenden understood what was expected of him, but more than that—he knew what he expected of himself. From a very young age, he wanted to be a Marine, he planned to be a Marine, and he directed his life in such a way to become a Marine.

But being that driven meant that he needed to keep a lid on his interest in his openly gay and very proud best friend, Liam.

For Liam, Brenden represented everything that a man could do right. He stood up for his friends, devoted his life to service, and was a good guy. He kept his crush to himself because he thought Brenden straight and didn’t deserve to be uncomfortable around him.

All of that changes when he gets an invitation to a 1Night Stand.

A Marine and a Gentleman is the first M/M I’ve ever written, but it was a story that needed to be told because this 1Night Stand wasn’t about sex for these two—but about revealing some very personal truths and emotions they both kept locked away. It was reuniting two friends who care and respect each other and opening the door to a possibility neither thought was possible.

Every Marine I write about teaches me something—and in this case—Brenden taught me that being true to yourself sometimes requires being willing to sacrifice personal happiness or at least tabling it for a time. Love shouldn’t come with a warning label and this isn’t a story about regret, far from it, I found it hopeful and inspiring. I hope you do, too.

Discover more about Heather and the Always a Marine series:

Heather Long Website | Facebook | Always a Marine Series Page | Twitter

The ninth installment in the Always a Marine anthology in 1Night Stand (1NS) line for Decadent Publishing. 1Night Stand is the business name of an exclusive online dating service run by Madame Evangeline who provides her clients with a possibility of happily ever after or happily for now.

HL_A marine and a Gentleman_SMA Marine and a Gentleman

Always a Marine #9

All Romance eBooks | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookstrand |Decadent Publishing

Lieutenant Brenden Fitzpatrick is a dedicated Marine, loyal son, and devoted uncle but he’s lonely. When he went Marine, the rule was don’t ask, don’t tell. His brothers-in-arms pretty much didn’t ask and didn’t care. Watching so many friends settle into long-term relationships highlighted the absence of someone to come home to in his life. When his unit encourages him to give the 1Night Stand service a try, he asks for the impossible—a night with the one man he almost gave up the Marines for in the first place. A man he called best friend but let time and distance carry away.

Liam Gardiner grew up on the same Boston block as his best friend, Brenden. Unlike Brenden, Liam always accepted that he was gay—a fact he didn’t mind flaunting to all the bullies and naysayers in school. It got his ass kicked more than once but Brenden always had his back, rescuing him time and time again, until the day Brenden left for the Marines. He missed his buddy—the crush he never confessed, lest it cost him the precious friendship—so when Madame Eve’s invitation arrived to meet Brenden, Liam faces uncertainty for the first time.


HL_A marine and a Gentleman_banner


Liam stepped out of the rental car and handed the keys to the valet. The Dallas night club was not at all what he expected. Heavy wooden doors offered a gothic touch to the façade. A red canopy stretched out to the circular drive matching carpet that led to the doors. A doorman dressed in a nineteenth century double breasted coat, top hat, and tails held out his hand for the card from the mysterious service.

“I think I’m going to wait out here.  It’s a beautiful day.” Sliding the card back into his wallet, he walked along the curb to a quieter spot away from the foot traffic and arrivals—and, unsurprisingly, no departures. It was just after six-thirty in the evening local time. He rented the car at the airport and bypassed his hotel to come straight to the club. He hadn’t decided whether he planned to stay the night or not, no matter what he agreed to with the 1Night Stand service.

Even the name brought a half-smile to his lips. The woman who sent him the three emails offered an uncannily accurate assessment of his situation. At the end of the day, it was the forwarded request from Brenden which prompted him to say yes.  Extracting a cigar case from his inner pocket, he trimmed the end off of one end and lit it. The fragrant tobacco filled the air and calmed his mind. He handled power lunches and dinners every night of the week. As a professional banker, he knew when businessmen tried to bullshit him or when they really had a plan.

He knew how to say no.

He always knew when to say yes.

Reading people for a living wasn’t pretty work, but it was lucrative. Another couple arrived, huddled together and dashing up the steps as if it were cold. The forty-five degree temperature and dead still air were hardly cold to his Boston forged blood.

Why Dallas? Liam would’ve preferred to meet Brenden at home, at the Tipperary on the Green, to toss back a pint for old times. But no, Brendon invited him to the cowtown in the middle of the country where big boots, big steaks, and big boobs seemed to be everywhere.

Big hair, too. He eyed the next couple arriving. It looks like the 80s threw up on her. He puffed the cigar and kept his acerbic opinion to himself but the distraction helped. Thirty-two years old and on the ropes over an invitation to drinks.

The drinks aren’t the problem. Come meet the guy I’ve lusted after for over half my life and spend the night with him? Yeah, nothing to be nervous about.

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