One of my favorite people in this business is author Chandra Ryan. I met her at Lori Foster’s Reader Author Get Together a couple of years ago. She’s one of the most genuine, kind, gracious, and delightful women I know. (Her husband, he’s pretty amazing and awesome too). If you’ve never checked her out, you should do so… You won’t be sorry.
Or so the saying goes. But, as tons of niche dating sites pop up on the Internet, it makes a person wonder if the age-old maxim is true. Can a person who lives in the country fall in love with someone from a big city? And if so, where would they live? Or are they better off just avoiding the whole situation and going with a site that weeds out all of the city dwellers?
I’ll be the first to say that I don’t know anything about the modern dating game. What I know about the old dating game (see someone attractive across the room, bat your eyelashes, hope they buy you a drink, get their number) probably wouldn’t even fill a thimble. I’ve been married long enough that the entire field has changed around me. But, being married to someone I would probably never bump into on the dating sites, it makes me wonder if niche is right when it comes to love.
My husband is from a different race, religion, and socioeconomic background than I. He loves coffee. I’d never really drank the stuff until we married and even now I drink more tea than coffee. He listened to alternative music. I listened to…well…whatever was on the radio. He was a bona fide geek and I was a flirt. He likes his food very spicy and I like not being in pain when I eat. We were about as opposite as opposite gets. So what niche site would we have met on?
And then I got to thinking about my newest release. Or would it be my newest re-release? Regardless, I don’t think there’s a site out there where Izzy and Jacob would’ve crossed paths. He’d be on the human sites and she’d be on the Community ones. He’d be on the law enforcement sites and she’d be on the ones for recovering addicts. He’d be on the justice ones and she’d be on the revenge sites. So where would a human and a shape shifter meet? Thankfully they didn’t decide to go niche.
Don’t get me wrong; I have several friends who’ve had lots of success on dating sites. Dating sites are wonderful, especially for busy people who don’t have the time to stand around and bat their eyelashes all night hoping for a drink. But if you’re registered on the site for coffee lovers, every once in awhile give a girl who loves tea a chance. She might know other, un-caffeinated, ways to wake you up in the morning.
Prequel to Bond Betrayed
Izzy has lived between two worlds her entire life—one filled with magic and darkness, the other populated by mundane humans. She was born into the magical world of the Community. But sexy, forbidden DEA agent Jacob belongs to the other.
He has no idea her world even exists.But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t noticed her. They’ve worked together for the past six months, attempting to bring down her drug-dealing half brother while driving each other crazy with pent-up desire. But now that it’s time to say goodbye, they both find it impossible to let go.
After one passionate night together Izzy realizes her mistake. She can’t bring him into her world. She has to end things before she gets too attached. When he refuses to leave, she must find a way to guide him through the darkness.
Inside Scoop: In this scorching urban fantasy, ink is thicker than blood.
A Romantica® paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published elsewhere and has been revised for Ellora’s Cave.
She ran her fingertips over her lips as she thought of the kiss. It’d been in that second that she’d finally seen what she’d been hiding from herself all these months. She wanted him and not in a momentary kind of way. If he were to share her bed, that’s where she’d want him to stay. But a relationship built on lies would never work and she couldn’t tell him the truth.
So it’s best for it to end like this. But the words were hollow. And even after repeating them a hundred times, they still didn’t help.
Tucked securely into her cozy apartment, she changed into her favorite black silk nightgown and started brewing a cup of tea while the melodic angst of her favorite singer filled the room. She should be in bed, but she was still too worked up from her brief exchange with Jacob to give in to her exhaustion.
She was just about to take a sip of her tea when the ringing of her cell phone stopped her. At first she was irritated by the intrusion. But when Restricted Number flashed across the screen, her stomach began to twist nervously. There was only one restricted number that ever called her. After answering the call, she brought the phone to her ear. “Agent Phinney.”
“I hope I’m not waking you.” Even over the phone, his deep voice had a rough edge to it that made her breath catch.
“No, I wasn’t in bed.”
“Good. I wanted to talk to you.”
“I don’t think—” She needed to make a clean break but her heart ached at the words she was about to say. She never got the chance to say them though.
“I’m standing in front of your door. Please, Izzy…”
She looked up at the door as the line went dead. Her heart raced at the thought of him being so close. Crossing the room, she practiced her well-rehearsed speech in her head. But her carefully memorized words disappeared as she opened the door. Her eyes swept over him hungrily, taking in everything from his tousled hair to the black t- shirt and tight jeans he’d been wearing earlier at the bust. He was easily the sexiest man she’d ever met.
His gaze slid over her before he picked her up by the waist and, kissing her passionately, then walked into the apartment. He closed the door with a quick kick once they were safely inside and then gently lowered her until she was standing on her own once more.
I am in fangirl mode today, y’all. Avril Ashton is one of my very favorite M/M authors. Her Brooklyn Sinners series is incredible. These men are larger than life and broken and hard and searching and HOT! I squeed all through an email to her after I read the first one and haven’t stopped hanging on every word she writes or says since… If you have not read this series, go, do it as soon as you get done reading the interview below, or so help me…
1. I know I’ve asked before, however, please talk again about how you came up with the Sinners series…
I was listening to Rihanna’s Man Down. In it she talks about shooting a man, in public, taking his life. A scene flashed before my eyes of that shooting. Two men. One gets shot. Who did it and why? What’s the story? I based Love the Sinner (Brooklyn Sinners #1) on that premise and worked backward, exploring the characters and their motivation. I’m a huge fan of conflict, of gray areas, of the anti-hero, so I thought well, hell, why don’t we have two men fall in love? Why don’t we make it a cop falling in love with a gang leader, the same gang leader he’s trying to arrest? The same one who shoots him? Eh? Eh? I loved it! I’d only planned to do that one book, but as supporting characters popped up I had to change that train of thought fast. It appeared everyone had secrets, everyone wanted love, and they all wanted me to tell their story.
2. Do you have a favorite set of characters in the Sinners books? They make you laugh, cry, get all kinds of HOT… Are any of them more favored in your mind?
I love them all. Clichéd, but man, so true. They’re all damaged, all so completely taken the instant they meet that one special person. They offer no excuses about the life they lead, just state the facts and let you make your judgments. I love that about the men of the Brooklyn Sinners. Cop and Angel do it for me, they always will, because they were the first, they broke the mole. JP and Shane hold me captive because of how broken Pablo was, how much losing Angel hurt him. Shane comes in and bumrushes his life, twists him into a freaking emo-pretzel, and forces him to choose between the life he led and the one he wanted. Syren and Kane. Ho boy. Another beast, but the most personal. The subject matter, especially Syren’s personal demons, are mine, so I relived some pretty heavy stuff while writing A Sinner Born. I still love Syren and Kane because no one could’ve handled Syren, but Kane.
3. Which comes first…the music or the book idea?
Both at the same time. Really. Sometimes hearing a song sparks a scene. Just like Melanie Fiona’s “4 A.M” sparked that fierce, brutal love scene with Angelo and Cop in LtS in Coney Island the night of Angel’s birthday party. I heard that song and the scene was there, all I had to do was write it down. And that was before I’d even written page one of chapter one. Other times, the story comes then a song suddenly makes sense, and fits beautifully. Like Lupe Fiasco’s Battle Scars. That song made so much sense while I was writing A Sinner Born. It fit both Syren’s physical and emotional state.
4. Pantser or Plotter? Panster. I sit down to start a new WIP with the book title, my characters name, and at least one scene in my head that I know just has to be included. How, when or why, I never know.
5. You need your coffee as much as I need mine, so… Dark, Medium, or Light roasts? Cream? Sugar? Syrup? How big is your favorite mug? How many times do you refill your favorite mug each day? What is your favorite drink from Starbucks?
Believe or not, I’ve never tasted Starbucks. Regular coffee mug, refills about twice if I make it. Sometimes I buy from the Dunkin Donuts three doors down from me. I’m not one for any kind of fancy mess. Folgers. Light and sweet. Cream and sugar. Easy peasy. I’m a New Yorker. Don’t need anything more than that.
6. And cake… You like cake. What is your hands down favorite cake?
Cake! In the West Indies we have a cake called Black Cake. It’s basically a cake infused with rum and wine. Dark food coloring gives it its name, it is black and soft and hmm. I’m freaking drooling right now. My sister-inlaw makes them with peanuts and dried fruits. It’s so good. Usually it’s only made in West Indian households at Christmas time. Depending on the amount of liquor involved, one slice can get you drunk. The last time she made it for us, ‘cause I don’t bake, I ate one all by myself, in about one hour. I murdered that cake. R.I.P. Now I need to go beg her to make me one. Thanks very much.
7. What’s the best compliment you’ve gotten on one of your books?
That someone likes it. That alone makes my day. I’m easy to please.
8. How did you get started writing?
I’ve always been into it, but I lost my way for while. It took me getting with Mr. A, and him being all kinds of awesome and creative, to give me the impetus to finally say, this is what I love, this is what I want to do. I began writing in summer ’09 and here I am.
9. Who is your favorite all-time author, book, characters?
Can’t pull anyone off top, but the book that sticks in my mind is Mary Lynn Baxter’s Like Silk. I was reading it at the EDJ one day, crying my eyes out and thinking, this is what I want, to make someone cry while reading my book.
10. Will Mr. A ever appear in a book as a secondary character?
LOL Every one of my characters are influenced by Mr. A. He’s the original Brooklyn Sinner and my own personal anti-hero. He’s all over those books, son.
A Sinner Born
Book three in the Brooklyn Sinners series.
One man buried in secrets. Another still grieving the love he lost. Their worlds collide in a battle between memories, old and new, while trust hangs by a fragile thread.
Syren Rua is at war. He battles painful childhood demons and his intense need for the first person who makes him feel. As Faro, Syren makes deals with the worst while taking the steps necessary to bring his family’s killer to justice. He isn’t one to indulge in selfish needs, but he’ll make the time in this instance. Syren has been watching Kane Ashby, craving the grieving man for his own. He’s always stayed away from temptation, but that’s about to change.
Kane isn’t over the death of his long-time partner. He’s certainly not ready for a relationship, sexual or otherwise, but Syren isn’t a man who takes no for an answer. The unpredictable Syren offers nothing but secrets and brings with him memories so dark, they could wipe out any chance the two might ever have. Syren brings Kane’s heart back to life. But it is also Syren who could inflict the most damage.
Inside Scoop: One of our heroes has a panty fetish. And it’s hot. This book also contains brief references to rape and child abuse.
A Romantica® gay/lesbian erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
Kane scowled at the man on his computer screen. “Really, it’s been days since I told Gabe to tell you to call me.”
The man now known as Rafe Soto-Ashby lifted his shoulder in a careless shrug. “I was busy.”
“Uh-huh.” Rafe did freelance architectural work out of the couple’s home in North Carolina, nothing major to bring attention to himself and Gabe, just enough to keep him out of Gabe’s hair and to keep Rafe busy and engaged in something he liked doing. “What are you working on?”
“Community center for at-risk teens.” Rafe’s face broke out in a grin. “Good stuff.”
With a spark in his eyes like that, Kane could understand how his brother fell in love with the former gunrunner. Now Kane only felt slightly guilty for wanting to shoot Rafe when he found the man in his brother’s kitchen naked except for a pair of tight black briefs. He was Angelo Pagan then and his body was nuts. Kane may have peeked a little.
Okay a lot, but he was entitled.
“What’s up?” Rafe asked.
Kane leaned forward on his elbow as he stared into the laptop he’d placed on the island in his kitchen. “In your former life you had dealings with a guy named Faro, right?”
For his part, Rafe didn’t so much as blink. “Is this an official question, Marshal?”
Kane glowered. “Of course not. This is me, your brother-in-law, asking you something I really hope you answer.”
Rafe crossed his arms. “Personal then?”
“Which response gets me an honest answer from you?” He took a sip from his coffee cup, watching over the top as Rafe leaned forward.
“You tell me what’s got you asking about Faro and I’ll tell you what I can.”
Kane sighed. “I know who he is because he told me. What I want to know is why he knows who I am. He helped me find a runner in New Orleans and he’s been, uh, calling me.” He looked away from the computer when he spoke the last part.
“Calling you, how? Threatening?”
He shook his head at Rafe’s sharp words. “No, nothing like that. The opposite really.” His face heated and he really didn’t want to talk about Faro anymore. “He says I intrigue him.” God, he embarrassed himself saying those words.
Rafe cocked his head to the side, his mouth open. “Intriguing, huh?” He barked a laugh. “Good one.”
Kane waved his words away. “I need to know how to make him go away. I don’t need a criminal calling me and compromising my job. I’m sure you have something I can use.”
Rafe’s eyebrow shot up. “Blackmail, Marshal?”
“He’s a smug little brat with too much time on his hands,” Kane said fiercely. “I want him gone.”
“Uh-huh. I hear you.” Rafe didn’t sound convinced. Not at all.
“Do you have anything I can use?” Pretty please.
“I have a lot of information on Faro. He trusts me and I trust him.” Rafe came in real close on the screen. “He was the one who helped me get out of Brooklyn. He was the one who watched out for your brother when I was locked up. He knows my secrets and I know…some of his.”
Kane stared at him. “What?”
“I’m not telling you shit to use against him, Kane. You can forget that.” Rafe got the saddest smile on his face. “I can tell you this. Faro is a man with many faces who wears a lot of hats. He’s a great number of things to a great number of people, none of them real. None of them true.”
“Talking riddles now, are we?” Kane gripped his coffee cup tighter. “Can’t you just tell me if I should stay away from him or not?”
“Do you want to stay away from him?” Rafe didn’t wait for a reply. “Faro is a lot like many men I know, he’s not all good nor is he all bad.”
“God, you’re no help at all.”
Rafe barked a laugh. “I think you like him, Marshal. Despite thinking you know who he is. Eerily familiar.”
“Yeah, whatever. Do you keep in contact with him?”
Rafe’s face morphed into a blank slate. “We speak. Do you want me to give him a message, warn him off?”
Hell no. “No, I’ll do it.”
God. Kane felt the blush wash over his face. “He, uh, I have his number.”
“I just bet you do.”
A Caribbean transplant, Avril now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y with a tolerant spousal equivalent. Together they raise an eccentric daughter who loves reading and school (not so much school anymore). Avril’s earliest memories of reading revolve around discussing the plot points of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys with an equally book-minded mother.
Always in love with the written word, Avril finally decided to do the writing in August of ’09 and never looked back. Spicy love scenes, delicious heroes, and wicked women burn up the pages of Avril’s stories, but there’ll always be a happy ending; Av remains a believer of love in all its forms.
Addicted to cake, the ID Channel and the UFC, Avril writes Erotic and GLBT Romance for Ellora’s Cave, Evernight Publishing, eXtasy Books, Secret CravingsPublishing and Total-e-Bound.
You’ve probably heard me or a handful of others talk about the fact that I have a new release from Ellora’s Cave today. It’s the first one in over two years, the last one being Ink Spots which was part of the Simple Need collection. And yes, for those waiting, there will be another one coming.
But for right now, I’ve given you Trouble In The Making.
It’s fun. It’s honest. It’s sexy. It’s got coffee. It’s personal. It’s fantasy, and it’s fiction. It is what it is and nothing more.
I approach books that I read on that basis and that basis alone. It’s very simple and keeps me from being pissed or disappointed when I reach the end. Unless there’s a massive cliffhanger and the author doesn’t intend to keep going…then I’m gonna get a little irked. But some books, mine especially, aren’t meant to be more than what they are, more than the title suggests. Maybe it’s part of living in the moment and being happy with what we’ve got. Sure, look forward to the next book or movie or coffee re-fill, but be happy with that moment, those characters, that action, that sip.
Trouble In The Making is about two friends, old friends, high school friends who’ve moved on, lived life, fulfilled dreams, had jobs, failed marriages, but who after a reunion and a reconnection, find there’s more they want and the first one to make the move, surprisingly, is Liz.
She begins to grow in this book. And the title, Trouble IN THE Making is about that. Her growing, her becoming… Her taking that step toward him and what she’s always fantasized about… Johnny Trouble.
I did some growing as I wrote this. I took a similar path as Liz in that I had to come out of my shell to do some things that were scary for me. She examines herself and Johnny tries to make her see herself as he’s seen her for years. Most times, dear reader, that is the hardest thing for any of us… Too see ourselves as others see us when they see amazing, beautiful, sexy, talented, etc…
Johnny Trouble. He’s a commanding presence in leather and tattoos, both on stage and off. He’s had more than his fair share of groupies and lovers, but it’s time for a change and he reconnects with the one woman whose memory has driven him crazy since high school. Liz.
She’s a quiet, shy romance author who likes her comfort zones. But when Johnny comes back into her life after years of living in the spotlight, Liz’s private fantasies shift into overdrive and she nervously asks him to fulfill them.
Just one weekend is all she proposes, but the sparks flying between them when Johnny touches her aren’t temporary. She’s the particular brand of trouble he wants in his bed, bent over, or crawling all over him. Forever.
He just has to convince her by any means necessary…
This title is available at Ellora’s Cave and will soon be available on Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and Barnes and Noble.
Yeah, I know. Pick your jaw up off the floor. This is the 4th day in a row for me blogging? I know I’m just as surprised as you, but hey, I’m trying.
So yeah, let’s talk music. I’m all over the place. Classical to screamin’ metal. I’m very particular and yet I’m not. I like the familiar, but I’ll try something new on and every now and then I’ll find something that doesn’t give me a headache.
I started going to live concerts when I was…young. 10 years old or so… I was hooked. I’ve been to every kind of show you could imagine. I’ve seen world renowned classical and jazz and gospel stars to the baddest bad boys of 80’s glam rock and everything in between. Some I’ve seen more than once, some I’d kill to see again.
Music plays a huge part in my writing, too. Both have been a part of me since I was a kid. I didn’t attend a normal high school but rather an arts high school and in the midst of us were the guys in local bands…long hair, smoking, leather, guitars, gravel laden voices, bad reputations. Oh. My. God. Though that was more than 20 years ago, I’m still obsessed with the bad ones, the naughty ones, the nothing but trouble on their minds ones.
And I saw enough concerts when RATT, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Poison, Cinderella, Kiss, Def Leppard, Aerosmith, Guns ‘N Roses, Skid Row, etc… from the ages of 14 to 18 that… Yeah, I my head was filled with naughty, sex, hard rockin’ tattooed guys that… I never quite got over it.
So when I write, the music has to be there. And I’ve written books listening to different types of music. Usually one type or one particular artist or one particular album/song plays over and over until the book is finished. Music is also how I can write on multiple books at a time. Different genres of music put different ideas in my head and make me feel different emotions. I hope, when the books are done, that those pieces and parts have come together well.
For these latest releases, the most recent to the one coming at the end of the week, different music was listened to during the writing of…
Keep It Together was written with the help of the music by Miranda Lambert, primarily her latest album, Four the Record and the song, Mama’s Broken Heart…
I don’t have a choice but to write with music. It fuels the story. It fuels my thoughts and ideas and emotions. It sparks something that doesn’t let go until the last words are written. The books and scenes in my head are extensions of me and the music that I listen to, that I grew up with resonates in a way that is impossible for me to ignore. It goes much deeper than simply needing something to inspire. It flows through my veins like nothing else.
When the music is gone, it’s likely the stories will be too… Let’s hope that doesn’t happen anytime soon.
Do you have a favorite band of all time? What was our first concert? I’d love to know… And in exchange, I’ll be giving away a copy of Keep It Together or Trouble In The Making on Saturday to one of the commentors.
Crawling back. Well, my heroines don’t usually crawl back. My heros don’t crawl back either, per se. They do, however, go after the women they want.
Occasionally though, I’ll shift from this and the need of a heroine is so great, so overwhelming that she can’t help herself, can’t deny herself, can’t live without trying one more time to make him see…
Life as she’d known it was gone and even though it had been two years, until she’d seen Jethro last week, fucked him on the front porch swing, she’d been walking around in a fog.
She hadn’t gone out there for sex but he’d looked so good, so hot. He was her wet dream, her every naughty thought. He’d let his hair grow out, gotten a few tats and hadn’t shaved when she saw him. When he said climb on, she’d been helpless against him, against the hunger that gnawed at her, clawed at her. Wanting him consumed her and her cool, calm persona had come crumbling down while he was buried so deep inside her.
Without thinking about it, she picked up her phone and dialed his number. On the fifth ring she started to hang up, but…
“You keep calling. I can only resist for so long.”
“I… I want to see you.”
“We talked about this.”
“I don’t care anymore, Jethro. I need you and you need me. You love me, dammit.” And he did. She knew it, always knew it. Even with the double-digit miles between them from county line to big city lights, she knew it, could feel it.
“Doesn’t change anything.”
She flopped back on the couch. “It changes everything.”
“We can try.”
“You feel guilty about loving me, Caitlyn. We can’t try when you feel bad about it.”
“I know, but I can’t stay away from you anymore either. Please, Jethro.”
She hated that she was on the verge of tears again. She couldn’t handle rejection from him. Not now. Not when she’d really listened and thought about Margaret’s arguments. Marg hadn’t said anything Caitlyn didn’t already know, but having it spoken out loud was always like a bucket of ice water being thrown.
“I don’t want only part of you. I won’t be second best again. I did it for Marc because he was my brother and he loved you. I won’t do it for anyone or any other reason ever again. Even him.”
“Have you been dreaming again?”
She was shocked. “Yes. How do you know?”
“The nights I stayed with you after I got out of the hospital for the infection. You were dreaming, moaning, calling out my name. It took me a few times to realize you were dreaming, not actually calling me.”
“Oh.” She was so embarrassed. Even though he couldn’t see her at that moment, she turned her head toward the back cushions and buried her face.
“Come to me, Caitlyn. But make damn sure this is what you want. I won’t let you walk away again. I won’t let you rip my heart out and stomp it all to hell. I love you, but I won’t let you break me for a third time.”
And she knew she had. She deserved the warnings and she would do well to heed them. If she went to him, she had to be prepared to stay. It wouldn’t be fair to either of them otherwise. “I understand.”
“Then I’ll be waiting.”
Take a moment to visit the following blogs, but if you live where it’s sunny out and gorgeous, get outside afterward… We’ve all stayed inside way too long…