Monday, April 30, 2012

A Chocoholic Confesses by Lynn Hones

My newest release, A Titanic Tale, went on sale April 15th, exactly 100 years to the day of that tragic maritime disaster. On this blog tour I planned on talking about the Titanic, and I still will, but today something else has been on my mind.
Easter was a while ago, but my kids still have their baskets hidden away. Why are they hidden away, you ask? It’s because I’m a candy fiend and they’re not. They’ll eat a piece here and there, leisurely enjoying the bounty of chocolate bunnies and those delicious jelly beans. Not me. I’ve already sniffed out their hiding places and unbeknownst to them, because I’m crafty, I’ve eaten most of it. Usually, in the middle of the night, I start my commando mission. I wake up and tell myself, “Not tonight. No, you’re stronger than this.” Two minutes later I’m tiptoeing into their rooms and silently rifling through the plastic green grass for those little pieces of paradise.
I wake in the morning surrounded by the brightly colored foils of Ghiradelli Chocolate eggs and feel remorse, shame and guilt wash over me as swiftly as Willie Wonka’s wonderful waterfall washes over the rock candy in his factory of caloric hell.
I’m an older woman—fifty-two-years-old, when will this insanity stop? I know admitting I’m a candyholic is the first step, but I guess if lying to, and stealing from my own innocent children is not my bottom, I’m destined to wallow in the chocolate river of aforementioned movie as a bottom-feeder, forever.
When they were small, I’d hide the box of Ho-Ho’s I bought at the grocery store, lest they see them. When the craving for chocolate came on, I’d grab one, (or God help me, two or three,) from the box and slowly retreat to the bathroom and close the door. Unwrapping, as quietly as I could, I’d hear breathing on the other side and see the shadow of pint-sized feet under the crack.
“Mommy, what are you doing?” I’d hear.
“Nothing,” I’d mumble back with a mouth full of chocolate goodness.
“Can we come in?”
“No, I’m almost done.” Swallowing, I’d wipe my mouth on a towel, shove the wrappers deep in the wastebasket, flush the toilet for effect and walk out.
“I smell chocolate,” one of them would say in childlike innocence.
“I took a laxative.”
“Oh,” they’d answer in unison, a look of confusion washing over their faces, and walk away.
Not too long ago my youngest was talking to me while standing next to my bed. Her hand inadvertently found its way between my mattress and box spring and she pulled out wrapper after wrapper of damning evidence. I’d been found out. My adrenaline rose, our eyes locked and she screamed for her sister like a banshee on a mission. My oldest came running in and they both glared at me as if I were Arthur Slugworth, the villain hired by Mr. Wonka to fool the children into selling the gobstopper as a morality test. And I felt like him, too. Or, should I say, I felt like one who’d failed his said test of integrity.
How low will I go? When will it stop? What am I doing to my family, my children, my home? I wish it would all come to a brilliant cinematic end. Me, finally admitting I can’t take it anymore as I renounce my love of candy. In the multi-directional glass elevator, I’d take flight out of that chocolate river of guilt infested waters for the fresh blue skies of healthy living. I’d renounce my candy and sweets binging, cravings of green vegetables and ripe fruits my new normal. What an ending…what an ending. Nope…not going to happen.


Beautiful Cornelia Bainesworth cared only about herself and her own life the night the Titanic went down. A curse brought on by a woman who witnessed her selfish behavior that evening destroys her, but it doesn’t stop there.
One hundred years later, the curse rears its ugly head in the life of small-town teenager Callie. As if the tragedy of her boyfriend’s death wasn’t enough, strange occurrences bring her to the brink of insanity. Callie’s search for answers is unsuccessful until a nerdy schoolmate takes up her cause and together they experience frightening apparitions, unexplained phenomena and chilling truths. These truths turn Callie’s life upside down and reveal a shocking ending to a story that began on the deck of a ship doomed the moment it saw light.


Callie went to her window and stared out at the streetlight in front of their house. Lost in thought, she caught a quick movement, but ignored it. When she saw a small child peek out from behind a telephone pole and looking up into her window, however, she grew concerned.
“What the hell?” She watched the little figure’s head dart from behind the pole, look up at her and quickly retreat back. It seemed to either be playing games with her, or trying to hide.
“Hey, you? What are you doing up so late?”
The child gave no reply. She walked out of her room, down the stairs and opened the front door. I bet some neighbor kid walked out of their home and can’t find how to get back.
Stepping out on the porch, she wrapped her arms around herself. The air was still hot and muggy, but it was worry, not chill that had her hugging her body.
“Hey? Where are you? Come here.”
No movement, but she saw an arm still visible from around the pole. Gathering some bravado, she stepped off the porch and walked toward it.
“Hello. Don’t be afraid. Are you lost?”
The person stepped out from behind the pole.
Callie’s eyes had adjusted enough to see a boy with light hair and fair skin. His clothes, if that’s what they could be called, were rags. A gray suit, that had to be several years old, hung off his skeletal frame.
“Hi, honey. What are you doing out here so late?” Callie squatted and held out her arms for the boy, hoping to show him she meant no harm. His dirty, drawn face held the soul of an adult, although he couldn’t be older than three or four years.
“Tis late?”
“Yes, it’s two-thirty in the morning. Where do you live? Where are your mommy and daddy?”
“I don’t know,” he said shyly.
She caught the distinct brogue of the Irish in his speech. “You don’t know? Well, where do you think you live?”
He pointed down the road.
“Is it close by?”
He shook his sad little head. “No.”
“Okay, look, come with me. I’ll get my car and drive you home. Do you think you can find it if we drive and look for it?”
The waif nodded, yes.

Once in the car, she drove for about a mile. Every so often, she glanced at the boy to see if he recognized anything.
“Nothing looks familiar, huh?”
 he child shivered.
“Are you cold, honey? Here, I’ll put the windows up.”
“Thank you kindly, ma’am.” He sat up, straightened his legs and looked out the window, obviously searching for something familiar. His thin hands were folded neatly in his lap, but rose occasionally to point the way. Callie realized he was leading them to the neighborhood where the Coopers lived, Bainesworth Manor. It butted up against a large field that turned into woods further back. On the other side of the street were miles of barren farmland, waiting patiently for the inevitable McMansion to be built. However, they drove past Bainesworth Manor and about a half mile down the road he spoke.
“Here it is,” he said timidly.
She pulled into a dark, park-like area barren of any homes. Her blood ran cold when, upon closer inspection, she noticed it was no park, but a cemetery. Not just any cemetery either, this was the kind of cemetery where skeletons wandered and witches made their brew. The kind where werewolves hid behind gravestones and hands reached up from the netherworld, searching around for the ankles of unsuspecting mortals stupid enough to be in a graveyard after dark. She pressed the gas pedal, but instead of moving, the car died.
“What?” Frantically, she turned the key and the engine turned over once and stopped. After several more tries she realized if she continued she’d simply flood the engine. She reached into her purse for her cell phone. In her panic, she’d forgotten her passenger and looked across at him.
“Sweetie, this is a graveyard. It’s not your home.” Unable to find her phone, she dumped the contents of her purse between the driver and the passenger seat.
“Dammit. This is not happening.” Without even glancing his way, she apologized for her use of foul language.
Resigned, she sat back in the seat and stared ahead. “Great, I guess we can walk to the Coopers.” She put all the items back into her purse. Slinging it over her shoulder, she grabbed a flashlight out of the glove box and stepped out of the car.
“Come on, honey. I know some people who live a bit down the road. We can wake them up and hope they won’t be too pissed off.” She glanced at the squirt. “I’m sorry, again. I mean angry.”
This cemetery was unknown to her, but from the looks of the dates she spotted as they walked, it had filled up long ago. The new one, where Blake was buried, was on the other side of town.
She glanced up at the full moon. “Queue the howling.”
Attempting a bravado she didn’t possess, she closed the door and moved away from the car. The moon cast enough light to see perfectly.
“I’m fine walkin’. My home is right there.”
“I don’t see any houses.”
He pointed into the cemetery.
“You live past the graveyard? Are you sure you don’t want me to walk with you?”
“If you be a wishin’ to.”
She smiled at him. “Come on, let’s get you home to your mother.” She put her hand reassuringly on his shoulder.
“Me mother is dead.”
“Who do you live with? Your daddy?”
“Never been knowin’ me dad.”
“Well, you must live with someone.”
“All the kind people. They don’t know me, but when I get to cryin’ someone will rise up and come to me.”
Large prickly gooseflesh covered her body from head to toe at that comment. Something wasn’t right. She’d suspected it the first time she’d laid eyes on the boy, but now, she knew for sure.
He began to walk. In the middle of the graves in a noticeably older area, he stopped and turned toward her. He seemed to grow paler, thinner, and sadder. He took a couple more steps, stopped and stared down.
“I be home now, mum.” His expression was heartrending, his large eyes rose and met hers.
“What?” She looked at him. “There’s nothing here but weeds.”
“I’m home. Tis my home ‘til the curse be lifted.”
Stunned at his words, Callie backed away. “What are you talking about?”
“The curse, ma’am. It’s stickin’ good.”
A wind picked up and, before her eyes, he metamorphosed into a mist, which swirled about for a moment before sinking into the ground.
A cold sweat broke out on her skin and a crippling fear stabbed roughly at her chest. An ugly, wintry fright came close to bringing her to her knees and impaled her to the spot. Paralyzed, she willed herself to breathe.
“How…why?” She gathered her courage and backed away, clutching her stomach, forcing the urge to vomit away.
“Dear, God, what just happened?”

Please visit my website: Lynn Hones

Thursday, April 19, 2012

WALK LIKE A MAN: How a Woman Writer Captures a Man’s POV by Donna Del Oro

How does “She tipped up her chin at the stranger, resisting the man’s attempt at intimidation” become “He shot the stranger a don’t-fuck-with-me look”?
            In order for a female fiction writer to avoid caricature and instead capture the sensibilities of a male, her mindset must change. As we all know, POV is vital in accurately portraying a male character (or any character, for that matter) and thus creating and sustaining verisimilitude. A story hinges on how believably the POV portrays/expresses the character in question, and that believability extends to gender. Even if you jump POVs from hero to heroine, the male POV scenes MUST BE MASCULINE, and therefore DIFFERENT in VOICE, ATTITUDE, and LANGUAGE.
            The two sexes are different. We have different world views, mindsets, expectations and preoccupations. For example, one psychologist’s study showed that men think about sex at least sixteen times per day; assuming sixteen hours of wakefulness, that’s a minimum of once per hour. Conversely, women contemplate sex one-third as often. Isn’t it a marvel how men find time to start and fight wars, when so much of their conscious mind is preoccupied with sex? Or find the time to fill a weekend as an armchair quarterback? Are sex, sports and war games their main preoccupations?
            Another preoccupation is their sense of “manhood”, their need to prove themselves “manly”. Watch a fence-enclosed playground of children some time. Little girls will reasonably enter and exit via the open gate. Not little boys. The five-foot high cyclone fence becomes a test of physical strength and agility—a challenge of manhood, if you will, and a string of little boys will dare each other to climb over. The little girls look on, some puzzled by the boys’ illogical behavior, others openly admiring the little daredevils who need to resist the lure of logic.
            Read the novels of male authors to learn the male mindset. From the cerebral, artistic but nonetheless lethal Mossad assassin, Gabriel, of Daniel Silva, to the military action heroes of Brad Thor; from the political thrillers of Vince Flynn to the police procedurals of Michael Connelly and John Lescroat, to the scientific adventurers of James Rollins and Steve Berry—the male gender has his own distinct Point of View. And that includes, of course, his VOICE, ATTITUDE and LANGUAGE.
            So, how to capture a man’s worldview, or—as the German philosophers call it—“weltanschauung”?  Sparingly.  A male fiction hero uses action more than speech to convey his worldview.  A female writer not only has to reflect his POV in inner dialogue and reflection (or narration), but also in his actions and his spoken words. Or lack of them.  For a male character, long silences are common. Daniel Silva’s Gabriel, the Mossad agent whose cover is Renaissance art restorer, spends days silently restoring his canvasses while simultaneously plotting his next mission.  When a male author writes men’s dialogue, he does so sparingly. When a female author writes men’s dialogue, there is almost no difference between the male and female characters. We don’t realize how little men really speak.
            Dialogue, of course, has to reflect the character. Men don’t talk as much as women. This is not stereotype or cliche. The same applies to little girls and boys. Several psychological studies have rated female speech as four to five times more frequent and denser than male speech. There’s more profanity, too, in male speech and many more sports metaphors.  How many times have you heard a man say, “Time to get the ball and run with it”? Or “The ball’s in your court”, “I’m going for broke”, and—one from the military—“It’s all FUBAR, man”.
            When FBI analyst, Jake Bernstein, in my sexy spy-thriller, A BODYGUARD OF LIES, gazes at the medieval-era Iron Maiden torture chamber in the dungeon at Cardiff Castle, he reflects on man’s inhumanity to man, and then thinks immediately of his German-Jewish grandfather’s survival guilt. He thinks outloud and, in a moment of spontaneous candor, shares his grandfather’s suffering with Meg, the grand-daughter of the woman he’s investigating. In the next moment, he covers his embarrassment by seizing and kissing her.  A moment of vulnerability takes a more aggressive, sexual turn. Men’s rule: Never show your weaknesses.
            In another scene, by-the-book Bernstein crosses the line and risks his career by becoming sexually involved with Meg, but only after confirming in his own mind Meg’s innocence. He rationalizes his involvement with the needs of his investigation, but soon assumes the role of protector for both the target—the grandmother—and the target’s grand-daughter. Jake shows, not by words of affection, but by action alone his feelings for Meg. That his investigation has been compromised creates a moral and practical dilemma for Jake, which he deals with in his own inimitable way. His lonely search for love supercedes the need for justice, but only temporarily. Ultimately, Jake turns things around. Justice does prevail in the end, but not in the way some might expect or hope.
            Surliness, cynicism and sarcasm are all accepted male attributes, especially in tough “alpha” males. From the lone gunslinger to the “Mission Impossible” stoical action hero, the alpha male feels, suffers, but never complains. Especially not to females. He might be flawed, drink or smoke too much, pick the wrong woman, or put himself in life-threatening situations, but HE NEVER COMPLAINS and NEVER CRIES. Remember an incredulous Tom Hanks exhorting his female baseball players, “There’s no crying in baseball!”?  There are unspoken mottos of machismo among men: NO CRYING EVER.  TAKE IT LIKE A MAN. WALK LIKE A MAN. TOUGHEN UP AND STAND TALL.  Those attitudes are deep-seated and intrinsic to a male’s psyche. My seven year-old grandson already has incorporated those mottos into his outlook and behavior, and the male role models in his life are sensitive, educated, verbally gifted men. Somehow, through osmosis of cultural mores, little boys learn what is necessary to WALK LIKE A MAN.
            “Defending the Caveman”, a one-man comedy show, reminded me recently of the male mindset and male speech. Men tend to get confused when women are verbose. Like their canine counterparts, they look for tone of voice and body language because they know that women don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say. Look at classic passive-aggressive power struggles between men and women. Men have difficulty arguing back, so they are more inclined to switch to passive-aggressive mode. They don’t like taking orders from a woman, and so if a woman nags a man to be home by five o’clock sharp, you can bet he’ll find something to do until five-thirty. Passive-aggression is a man’s stock in trade. Or he’ll take the opposite stance and just tell you to “fuck off”.
            As a rule, however, men tend to clean up their language when in mixed-gender company, and that’s one of the main appeals of men-only clubs and teams. In such an environment, they can blow off steam, scratch themselves, belch outloud, insult each other with “dickhead” and “butt-wipe” and laugh. And still remain good buddies.  Imagine women going up to their girlfriends with a greeting like “Hi, fatty” or “Still wearing that old, ratty shirt?” That’d be the end of that friendship. With men, such insults are just friendly talk, a sign of good-humored male-aggression and tolerance. Listen in on a men-only poker game. Or go see the musical, “Jersey Boys”.  There’s a reason why men loved that musical but hated “Mama Mia”.
            Listen to men when they don’t realize a woman is around. Very hard to do because their sexual antennae always lets them know when a female is nearby or within earshot. But if you can avoid being detected, just tune in to them and listen with an open mind to their speech. It’s hilarious and, for a woman writer, quite an education. Go ahead. Do it. You’ll see what I mean.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Men of Character Inspiration by Maya DeLeina

Of all the things I do on Facebook, there is one type of post I make that will set my laptop or Iphone on fire with likes and comments.

And it all has to do with simply adding a photo to an album cleverly labeled “Men of Character Inspiration.”

When Facebook updated some of their features, the page prompted me to add a location for all of the delectable photos I have collected in the album. What did I choose?  I aptly named my location “In a land called Yummy.”

Currently, I have 27 photos in this album of 9 men. This is exactly appropriate for the title of the album, character inspiration. I guess if I named the album Eye Candy, I would have more like 707 photos or something within that range. 9 men and 27 photos— this tells me that I am very particular about the look of the men I develop in my stories.

There is one distinct detail in common with all of my men I use for inspiration— soul piercing eyes. Yes, rippled abs and succulent muscular arms are delicious, but it is a man’s eyes that can literally cripple every neurological receptor process that makes me form a single thought or body movement. Spellbinding, captive and telling, his eyes can freeze me in a moment of pure bliss. His eyes make the tiniest of hairs on my skin stand on end. His eyes can make Goosebumps parade up and down my spine. His eyes can make me….

Sorry, I had to get a drink of water.

Okay, you get the picture. I love a man’s eyes.

But lately readers and friends have been pointing out another distinct characteristic in my men that I didn’t notice.

They are all hairy!

It seems that a man that is a bit fury is sexy to me. Seeing that I don’t write about werewolves, this was a pretty surprising revelation for me.

Now, I feel I must clarify the fury part of this story.

I love a man that can sport a thick and rough five o’clock shadow. The deep scruff line against a strong jaw line is simply divine and….

Sorry, I had to get another glass of water.

I also love a man with a light draping of chest hair, something to get your fingertips lost in. I am talking Gerard Butler chest hair- not Magnum PI. That is like a rug. I mean, the point is to get your fingertips lost….not your entire hand.

And then there’s the ever present treasure trail. *Sigh*…let’s not go there or else I’ll just have to sit by the water faucet this time!

Now when it comes to a fury man, there is a tricky balance to be had.  There are but two absolute areas in which no man should have a hair. Okay, more like three, but for the sake of keeping this article somewhat refined, let’s say two: inside the ears and on the back.

I have a “manscaper” friend that admitted that while he stays clear of the “nether regions” he gets his back waxed monthly. “Good on ya!” I said joyously as I patted his nicely bare back. I guess us women are the stronger of the sexes as we immediately go for waxing in the “nether regions” without a blink of an eye!

Friend or not, my Facebook page is open. Take a look and my album and you’ll see exactly the type of vampires you’ll run into in my series, Ambrose Heights Vampires.

And be sure to check out my vampires brought to life:

If only Stephenie Meyer had a similar man craving; Edward would rival the fur on Jacob!

Flesh Fantasy – Ambrose Heights Vampires 1

Blurb:  [Siren Allure: Erotic Paranormal Romance, vampires, bondage, orgies]
Tonight, Rain Calisto searches for her man, and Rhys Matthews comes into focus. He is well-built and sinisterly sexy. In the same Denver nightclub, Armand Anastasio searches for his woman—Rain. But the men are more than gorgeous. They are vampires, and they are unmated.
A chance encounter lands Rhys and Rain together. Their attraction remains undeniably powerful and they fall prey to lust. With each passionate tryst, Rhys senses a connection that goes beyond the flesh. Unbeknownst to Rhys, Rain is a diabetic. Her insulin alters her biological makeup, disguising a revelation he isn’t quite prepared for.
Rain is Rhys's fated mate.
As they struggle with this knowledge, another bombshell is dropped. Rain’s insulin-laced tissue creates a rare vampiric blood that can fetch a hefty profit, and Armand has always known this. Is his attraction to Rain genuine, or is he just out for her blood?
This is the diary of Rain and Rhys. Recorded here is their transformation from a flesh fantasy to eternal love.

Veil of Seduction –Ambrose Height Vampires 1

Blurb: [Siren Classic: Erotic Paranormal Romance, vampires, HEA]
A newborn vampire. A powerful leader. An inconsolable woman. The shaping of their eternity all lies within the eyes.
Steffan Matthews is the devastatingly handsome vampire leader of Ambrose Heights. He cultivates social order and invents concoctions that allow vampires to feel human once again.
But Steffan also has a devouring obsession that brings him to his knees. Her name is Anya. Steffan sets out to claim Anya, a mortal ripe for the taking, as his mate. But the blackness in the eyes of his newborn should’ve served as a warning. Anya is off-limits according to the vampire creed.
It will take the strength of the kinship, the purity of love, a hint of magic, and a subterranean guardian to shield Steffan against the wrath of Ryan Evans, protect him from the fate of the Nemesis, and bridge a passage to his rightful destiny.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Texas Has A Lotta Bull and other things. . . . By Sable Hunter (Guest Blogger)

Texas is my home.  Louisiana is close to my heart and where I was born, but Texas is in my blood.  You can drive up to my house and there are big wrought iron signs on my front porch proclaiming the superiority of the Lone Star State and the Longhorn football team.  Texas has a lot to brag about.  And today, I’m going to share with you some of the things that make the state more than a geographical location to me – like the commercial says – Texas is a state of mind. 
     First off – Texas is big.  Now, I know it’s not the biggest state in the union – but its still a wide expanse of property.  You can fit 220 Rhode Islands in Texas, in fast the King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.  There is an old saying about driving across Texas – of course now in the days of fast cars, it might not be strictly true – but its not far off, it depicts a poor couple in a car driving into the sunset and goes something like this: ‘The sun has riz and the sun has set and here we is in Texas, yet.’ 
     I can understand that sentiment.  I sing semi-professionally and had an engagement in El Paso where I was to sing the National Anthem and a couple of other songs at this event.  Well, at the time – I was staying at our lake house and I took off for El Paso in plenty of time.  And I made it – in 12 hours and 12 minutes, but by the time I got there I couldn’t remember the words to the national anthem and although I made it through the song, by the time I got through with it - it wasn’t our national anthem.  I was so tired from my journey, I just made up words.  The crowd was a bit confused.  Anyway, - Texas stretches 800 miles from side to side – both ways – and that’s a fer piece, in anybody’s book. 
     Second – Texas has some strange laws.  It’s illegal to carry wire-cutters in your pick-up truck.  This goes back to the Range Wars when cattle roamed free and their owners protested those who were audacious enough to fence up their property.  I carry a pair in my car just for meanness.       Another strange law in Texas is that it’s illegal to draw graffiti on someone else’s cow.  I wish they had told me this!  I just recently snuck into my neighbor’s pasture and painted the letters ALOTA on their big Angus bull. 
     Third – Texas is full of bull – in more ways than one:  no, seriously - I raise bulls.  Big bulls.  I sell them for breeding purposes.  They are full-blood registered Beefmasters – some weigh a ton or more.  They’re my babies.  I begin working with them at birth and by the time they are grown, I can lay underneath them and they wouldn’t step on me.  I brush them.  They eat out of my hand and when I walk out to the pasture they come running at me like a freight train.  Now most people would hightail it and run.  But I know he’s gonna stop – sometimes nose to nose – but what he’s come after is a nugget or a scratch between the ears. 
     I’ve had some strange bulls in my time.  I had one who would play hide and seek with me.  He had a bad habit of standing at the fence and bellowing at another bull across the street.  I don’t know what he was bellowing about, maybe he thought the other fellow’s cows were better looking.  Who knows?  But he even broke out a couple of times and sauntered over to fight the other bull.  I would come along and find him standing at the fence saying dirty things to the fellow in the neighboring pasture and I would fuss at him.  Now – his name was Mr. T and he didn’t like for me to fuss at him.  So, he would hide from me when he saw me coming - now get this – he would stand behind a tree.  The problem was that the tree in question was a good size pine but it was only about a foot wide.  When Mr. T would stand behind it, the only thing he was hiding was his eyes – the rest of him stuck out about a foot on each side of the tree. Alotta bull.    
   I had another bull one time that had his preference of pastures.  We rotate the cattle around to various locations to take advantage of grass plantings and water availability – but Red Warrior didn’t like to move.  He would get homesick, lay on the fence till he pushed it over and walk home.  Now, he never did this during the day and I would have given anything to see that two ton bull walking down the highway in the middle of the night on his way back to his favorite stomping grounds.  I’m just glad he didn’t get flattened by a semi-truck. 
     My favorite bull story concerns Hannibal.  Hannibal was blessed with extra long male parts.  In fact, once or twice Hannibal stepped on his own good time.  I think about this every time I hear a man say that he wished he was hung like a bull - - they don’t know what they’re asking for.    
     I’ve always loved animals.  When my mother married my step-dad we left Louisiana and moved to his ranch in Texas.  He raised cattle for slaughter and I couldn’t stand that.  I worried him and worried him – incessantly.  He would tell me every tale in the world to convince me that my friends weren’t being made into hamburger, but I was nobody’s fool.  So, he changed to registered cattle and now nobody gets eaten.  In fact we have cattle sales where the buyers arrive in helicopters and are met at the gate by a wet bar so they can have sustenance to make the long drive to the sale barn (a half mile) and when the cattle come into the auction barn, they walk on a red carpet – no kidding.  I have often wondered about that because I was always the official pooper scooper and that is a bad job when you have poop as big as those rascals do.  So our world changed. 
     But I had good memories of my dad and his cattle.  When I was a little scamp, he would go out to help calves be born and he wouldn’t let me go with him.  I guess he didn’t want to have to explain the birds and the bees so early in my childhood and watching a cow birth a calf would certainly have dispelled some of the mystery.  Anyway, when he would start out, I would ask him where he was going and he said he was going to ‘dig up’ a calf.  This fascinated me.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I imagined calves being out in the pasture like buried treasure.  So one day, I took my trusty little shovel and headed out.  After a while, they began looking for me.  My Pop found me in the pasture digging holes.  He fussed and fussed, said the horses would step in them and break their legs.  He asked me what in all-fired tarnation did I think I was doing?  I told him the simple truth – I was digging up a calf.  He didn’t know what to say.            
     Another thing about Texas is that men have different priorities here.  It’s hard to be a woman who loves a Texas man because you have to complete with so many other things for his affection.  Let me name a few of the things you have to compete with so you’ll know where I’m coming from:  his mama, his pick-up truck, his tractor, his dog, his gun and his hat.  Now, that’s a lot of competition.  And if you can get by all of those things – there is one more huge obstacle – hunting season.  Hunting season is sacred in Texas – its right up there with Christmas.  Deer hunting is the main attraction – and it’s not a simple sport.  Men have to have hunting gear.  A lot of gear.  They have to have special clothes and heated socks and deer pee to make them smell right and they have to have places to hunt.  I’ve seen some deer stands in Texas that could be classified as man-caves.  They have recliners and refrigerators and all the comforts of home.  And the deer camps are equipped with cabins that rival the homes they build for their wives.  My husband’s deer camp had granite countertops and recessed ceiling with track lighting.  There was a wet bar and a satellite - - oh well, if you ever read Trouble – you’d get a glimpse of Ky’s place and I patterned it after ours.  In “My Aliyah” - Ty and Aliyah made love in their deer stand – so deer stands see a lot of action in Texas.  – But I want to share something funny with you.  It’s an excerpt from BADASS – and the funny thing about it – its true – all of it happened to me – just the names have been changed to protect the innocent. 

BADASS is a book full of everything Texas has to offer and a lotta sex – hot lovin – and hunky men to boot. 
Here’s the blurb – followed by the excerpt

Isaac McCoy is every woman’s dream. He’s a cowboy, one of the Texas McCoy’s of Tebow Ranch – tall, dark, handsome and sexy as hell. To add to the mystery, he’s a biker – clad in black leather, riding a big Harley – he makes the girls swoon. To put it simply, Isaac is the black sheep of the family. And what his family doesn’t know is that he’s also a Dom. Always a little different from his brothers –Isaac has been into fast cars, fast women – and the kinkier side of sex. Until Avery. That’s right’s the Texas Badass has fallen for the angel of Kerrville County – the Baptist Preacher’s daughter – Miss Prim and Proper. And that will never do. As much as he wants her, Isaac pushes her away – sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
Avery has been in love with Isaac for years and she’s ready to make her move. But Isaac makes it clear that they come from different worlds, there’s no way she can fit in to his life. She’s not the kind of woman he needs. So, Avery decides to take matters into her own hands. What she intends to do is take lessons in how to be a bad girl. Avery is determined to learn what it takes to please Isaac in every way. She’s seriously after her Badass – and soon, he’s not going to know what hit him


     “I can’t believe you’re gonna try and pull that old trick on Skye.”  Noah shook his head at Isaac’s tomfoolery. 
     “Loosen up, little brother.  She’s a city-girl.  It’ll be fun.”  It was deer season and all of the McCoy brothers had taken time in the past week for a hunting trip.  Archery-only season began in early October and the tradition merited a festival-like atmosphere.  The brothers hunted from horseback and harvested enough deer meat to keep the kitchen in sausage and venison for the next twelve months.   This year their foreman, Lance, had invited his sister down from Oklahoma City for a few weeks.  “Watch this.  I pulled it on Jessie when she first got here and I thought she was going to deliver that baby right then and there.”
     “Yea, and Jacob almost de-balled you for doing it, too.”  Noah watched as Isaac took a pair of buck-eyes out of his pocket and tossed them in the air.  “Skye sure is a beautiful woman – are you interested in her?”
     Isaac stopped for a moment and looked at his brother.  “She’s beautiful, but I’m not interested.  So if you are, go for it, man.  What about Harper?”  Isaac knew Noah had had his heart set on Harper for years.  But something had happened – something that Noah refused to talk about.  Isaac knew what it was, and he hoped to high heaven that knowledge didn’t blow up in his face.   
     A funny look passed over Noah’s countenance, “Harper and I just aren’t meant to be.”  That was the truth if Isaac ever heard it – Harper was nothing but trouble.
      “You’ll find someone else, Noah.  Someone that will make you smile.  I have no doubt about that.”
     Noah wasn’t arguing with him.  “Skye is something else, Isaac.  Hell, she’s just about fuckin’ perfect.  I don’t know if it’s that Indian blood or what – but she makes my heart beat like a war drum.”                      
     “So – paleface – is it okay if I tease your little Indian princess?”  He was enjoying this, probably, too much,  But, that was one of the perks of being the big brother.
     “I’ll be watching you,” Noah joked with his brother, but Isaac could tell he was half-way serious.  Figures.  He was damn sure gonna quit drinking the water at Tebow.  There were weddings and babies popping up all over the place.  He’d be rich if he had bought stock in garter belts and diapers. 
      Isaac held the door for Noah and they walked in right as Aron threw a full beer can at Jacob.  It whizzed right by Isaac and he caught it, neatly.  “Thanks, I needed that.  What are ya ‘ll throwing cold ones around for?”
      The eldest McCoy sat in his big leather chair, feet propped upon the ottoman.  His boots were dusty and his black Stetson was pushed back on his head.  “Because we’re hot, tired and dusty, Hotrod.  Hand your brother that beer, he’s spent the day trying to convince Mrs. Trahan that Red Warrior wasn’t trying to run her down and gore her to death.”
     Isaac handed the can of Shiner beer to Jacob, who was sitting on the couch opposite the big screen TV watching a reality show featuring shooting competitions.  “Thanks, bud.  Have you seen this program?  These guys have all kinds of target practice – wild stuff.  I think we ought to have war-games like that at our next party.  What do you think?”  
     “Well, since the next two parties we have are Joseph’s engagement party this weekend and your and Aron’s weddings the next - I don’t think that idea will fly very high with the womenfolk.” Noah answered with his usual logical thought process.
     “He’s right.” Aron took a swig of beer.  “I can’t see the girls going for target practice at their love festivals.  We’ll have our gun shooting competition for Isaac’s birthday at Halloween.  That’ll reward up for all the tedious romantic celebrations we’ve got to get through this month.”  Isaac could see over Aron’s shoulder and what he saw made him want to snort.  Aron hadn’t meant anything anti-wedding by his comment; after all he was desperately in love with Libby.  But at the moment - Libby was right behind him, and she didn’t look happy.  Isaac started to stop him from putting his foot any deeper in his mouth, but it was just too much fun.  Aron started talking again, and he just made it worse.  “I mean how much lovey-dovey stuff are we supposed to endure before we get to do some manly shit.  Life at Tebow has become like one of them chick flicks on Lifetime Movie network.  All we need is to hook you two up with a woman each, get Nathan a little girlfriend – bring Kane and Lilibet into the fold - and we could be the cast of that stupid Seven Brides for Seven Brothers movie from the fifties.  Next thing you know, all us men will be lined up like chorus girls singing them corny songs like ‘Goin Courtin’ or ‘Lonesome Polecat’.”  
     At Libby’s face, the brothers who could see her – drew back as far as they could.  She was about to let it fly.  And here it came, “I don’t think you need to worry about going courtin, Mr. Aron McCoy - but ‘lonesome polecat’ will definitely describe your sleeping arrangements for the foreseeable future.”  Libby was beautiful, pregnant and not amused.  And the expression on Aron’s face when he realized she had overheard his joking diatribe was priceless.  Isaac had never seen his brother crawfish so fast before.
     He got up quickly and even though he was a foot taller and over a hundred pounds heavier than his fiance’ – she clearly had the upper hand.  Isaac could tell she wasn’t really mad – peeved maybe.  But she wanted Aron to think she was mad.  In fact, when Aron looked around for moral support from his brothers, Libby gave them all a soft wink to diffuse the situation.  It wasn’t often they got the best of Aron, and when they did – the family needed to take advantage.  “Now Libilicious, you know I want to marry you more than anything else in the world.”  He was reaching for her, but she kept backing up – staying just out of reach.
     “That’s not what I just heard, Aron.”  She pooched her little mouth out sexily, and Isaac realized that he and the others were getting a first hand look at feminine wiles in action.  “You dread our wedding don’t you?”        
     “No, no – hell no,” Aron was stalking her, slowly.  “You know that making you mine is my highest priority.”
     “Are you sure?  I mean, we could postpone it, and the ceremony won’t even go to waste.  Jacob can’t wait to marry Jessie.”  Libby looked over at Jacob for confirmation.  “Isn’t that right, Jacob?”
     Jacob jumped right in. “Sure can’t– the sooner I get my ring on her finger, the better.  I intend to tie the knot before little Bowie Travis makes an appearance.” 
     Libby moved around Aron to talk to Jacob.  “All we would have to do is cancel one of the cakes and order a few less flowers.  The guest list wouldn’t even have to be changed.  We’ll call the Reverend . . . . .” She didn’t get to finish the sentence before Aron had swept her off her feet and up into his arms in the traditional ‘over the threshold’ position.
     “Now wait a goldarn minute – both of you.”  He stared at his brothers like it was all their fault, then he looked back at the woman in his arms.  “It doesn’t matter how frou-frou the ceremony or how many monkey-suits I have to wear, I wouldn’t trade marrying you for the deed to the whole damn universe.”  And he kissed her hard in front of God and everybody and marched out of the room with his precious burden.
     The other three sat there and then looked at one another – Jacob laughed first.  “Maybe the ole polecat won’t be as lonesome as we first feared.”
     “No, I think he made amends for his macho carry-on,” Isaac couldn’t help but be jealous of what Aron and Libby shared.  He needed his brand of sex, but it kept him from having the woman of his heart – and that reality was eating him alive.  He would change if he could, but he didn’t know if that was possible.  Frankly, he was sick and tired of trying to be something other than what he was.  
     “Where’s Skye?” Noah asked out of the blue.
     “She’s upstairs with Jessie, they’ll be down in a minute.  Jessie’s showing her the nursery you put together for her.”  Isaac watched Noah’s face and knew he was remembering the trouble he had caused Jessie and Jacob.  His interference had almost cost Jessie her life and the nursery had been his way to try and make amends.
     “What was Aron talking about when he said Ms. Trahan was afraid of the Warrior?” Isaac knew the big bull was as gentle as a lamb.
     Jacob sat up, drained his beer bottle and smiled.  “It was funny.  Now – ya’ll know that bull.  We’ve hand-fed and brushed him since he was knee-high to a grasshopper.”
    “He loves to be brushed with a curry comb.  We’ve spoiled that old monster, but he sure does sire damn fine calves.  As far as Beefmaster bulls go, he’s top-notch.”  Noah commented, but Isaac was amused to see that he kept one eye on the staircase.  The boy was besotted!
     “I love to watch him when he sees Jessie or Libby come to the gate with some nuggets in their hand.  He runs at them like a freight train.  When we have visitors, they can’t be still when he comes a runnin, they dance in their shoes, thinking that big ole’ bull is gonna run ‘em down.  But he always skids to a stop – nose to nose – with those sweet little girls.  Why, I’d trust him to let Jessie ride on his back, if she was a mind to.”  Jacob took the remote and turned the sound down on the TV.
     “So where does Ms. Trahan come into play?” Isaac knew Jacob could spend hours telling a story if you didn’t aim him in the right direction.
     “She came to buy a few straws of War’s semen and she wanted to take a look at him.  So I took her over to his pasture, and told her to walk down to the pond where he was standing underneath one of the big oaks.  He looked like a king surveying his domain.  She was impressed, but decided to get up close and personal with him.”
     Isaac started laughing; he could see where this was going.  “What did he do, decide to come and meet her and give her a proper escort?”
     “Yea, I guess she was expecting him to just stand there like some statue, but he’s polite – he didn’t want to make her walk all that way by herself.  Besides, she might be packing a few nuggets for all he knew.  He was willing to give her a chance.”
     “Lord, what happened next?  Are we in jeopardy of a lawsuit?”
     Isaac slapped Noah on the back of the head.  “Down Donald Trump, this is just a funny story.  Nobody’s suing anybody.” 
     Jacob snorted – “Actually, we’re lucky Ms. Mabel didn’t have a heart attack.  She loves to play the rancher’s wife, but she don’t know a hill-a-beans about animals.  Anyway, when she saw Red Warrior begin to mosey toward her – she got nervous and turned to come back to the gate.  She picked up her pace a little and so did War, after all – he thought they might be playing a game.” 
     “I just love the way you read this bull’s mind.  But, then again, you are the Bull Whisperer of central Texas.  When do you think Skye and Jessie are gonna come down?  Do you think I ought to go up and check on them?”
     “Why don’t you do that, Romeo?”  Isaac watched Noah struggle with staying or going – he decided to stay.  “Do you want to play the ‘ball’ game with Skye?” He held the buckeyes out to tempt him.”
     “Hell no,” Noah groused.  “I can’t lie with a straight face like you can.”
     “Can I get back to my story?” Jacob patiently waiting, and when they settled down he resumed.  “Anyway, when little Ms. Trahan realized that War was moving toward her, she panicked and started to run.  Well, War figured if she was running – maybe something was after them both – so he might oughta run too.  So the faster she ran, the faster the bull ran and when I heard her screaming, she was tearing across the pasture waving her arms in the air, saying “Save me!  Save me!”  Jacob was waving his arms mimicking Ms. Trahan and Noah and Isaac were cracking up.
     “What happened next, or should I guess?” Isaac could just see War running with that big dick of his swaying in the breeze.  
     “I wish I had had a camera, it would have won us a million dollars on one of them funny video shows.  War never caught up with her, plus he kept looking back over his shoulder to see what booger-man was after him.  And by the time Ms Trahan had reached the safety of the gate – and Lord, in heaven – don’t repeat this at the bar.  But she had tinkled on herself, I looked down and there were drops of pee falling in the dirt and running down her leg.”  They were all laughing, Jacob hardest of all.  “And do you know what War did?  He let it fly, too.  I guess you could say they scared the piss out of each other.” 
     “What did you do?”  Isaac couldn’t begin to imagine – Jacob had more couth than he did.   
     “What do you think I did?  I pretended not to see a thing.”  There was movement on the stairs, so Jacob winded his tale up.  “I finally got her to pet him and see that he’s just a big old baby and she bought twenty thousand dollars’ worth of little swimmers.”
     “Here they come,” Noah announced his mind clearly not on War’s pee party. 
     Jessie came first and Jacob lit up like a Christmas tree. Isaac felt a tug at his heart, seeing his brothers so happy meant a lot.  Jessie was gorgeous and her tummy was as round as a basketball.  His older brother pulled her down in his lap and started rubbing the place where their baby lay.  The child wasn’t Jacob’s biological child – but neither he nor any of the family cared one iota.  She had come to Jacob – pregnant, thinking that the surrogate baby she carried was his.  A mix-up at the sperm bank had been the best thing that ever happened to Jacob.  But the baby would be a McCoy – a well loved McCoy – through and through. 
     Then Isaac saw Skye, and he saw Noah watching Skye, and it was a sight to behold.  She was slender and elegant with long dark hair and the biggest doe eyes he had ever seen.  He didn’t really blame his brother, Skye was beautiful. It was a good thing he didn’t have feelings for her or a new family feud might be in the offing.  All right, show-time.  “Sky, you sure did get a good deer yesterday.  That buck dressed out at a hundred and a quarter.  I saved the antlers for you – and I saved something else, if you want them.”  He held his hand out – palm up – with those two round buck-eyes lying in the center.
     She looked at him, suspiciously, her bright black eyes shining with banked amusement.  Perhaps, Miss Skye wasn’t a typical city girl.  She held out her hand.  “May I hold them?”  He gave them to her and she rolled them between thumb and forefingers.  “These are very nice, but they don’t belong to my deer.  I dressed him myself and put the aforementioned delicacy in the stew I’m preparing for your supper.  These balls are a little small for my deer.  Have you felt between your legs to see if you’re missing anything?” 
     Well, hell.  Noah and Jacob literally bellowed their laughter and Isaac bowed his head, hiding his own smirk.  Skye was nobody’s fool.  Jessie jumped up and took Skye by the hand and they began planning dessert for the evening meal.  All of a sudden, Isaac didn’t feel that hungry for stew.
     “I’m in love,” Noah whispered under his breath.  “Yep, I’m in love.”  Isaac was glad, because the farther Noah stayed away from Harper – the better they all would be.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Interview with Romance Cover Model Jason Aaron Baca

Hey Readers,

Today I've got romance cover model Jason Aaron Baca visiting my blog. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jason for this post and learned a lot about him, and a bit about how this whole cover model thing works as well. So, if you ever wanted to know something about the guys that pose for romance novel covers, this interview will most likely be an eye opener!

Psssttt..... Jason will be giving away a signed photograph to one lucky commenter, so comment today! I'll pick a winner using on Monday April 8, 2012. :-)

1.  Please tell readers a bit about yourself. 

Sure, well I am a Bay Area Native.. Grew up in a town called Los Gatos, CA. I played baseball in high school and college. I later became a double in movies which is where I got my first modeling gig while on location for the movie I Know What You Did Last Summer. After 10 or so years of modeling I found out about romance novels and how I fit perfectly into the mold.  Currently there are more then 84 covers out there.

2. Please share with readers some of the things you like to do when not modeling.

I love to travel to calm, quiet places. Places where there won't be any disturbances or trouble. Places include Hawaii,Bahamas, and any Tropical place that has bright blue waters that I can dip my feet into without freezing them off. Besides the traveling, I do enjoy fitness a great deal and can often be found in a health club.

3.  How did you get your start as a model?
As a romance novel model it took a lot of determination and follow ups on my part to get these guys to want to use me. I went an entire year where I'd just promoted myself to the publishers offering them select photos of me from past shoots that they could use for cover art. Then after that promotional period came the shoots. I was contacted short after by a Graphic artist that needed a specific type of pose of me.. She wasn't too far off from where I lived either so she shot me at her studio. 

4. What made you decide that you wanted to model for romance book covers?
I get this question a lot.. It was fitting for me. It was something that I found out about as I was in a Barnes & Noble one day. I had looked at one of the romance novels and saw one of the cover guys. I felt I had him beat. I wanted to be him and was anxious to find out how to become one of them. 

5. What is your favorite romance cover so far that has been done with you?
I would have to say "The Legend Of Michael" by Lisa Renee Jones.

6.  If someone wanted to use one of your photos for a romance book cover, where would they go to purchase a photo?
What they'd do is go to this site where it has my stock (or photos that didn't get used for a cover.) They can purchase them from the site directly - 

7. What do you like the best about posing for shots that will be used on romance book covers?
I enjoy every aspect about it. It is the greatest feeling in the world knowing that when I go pump up at the gym, I am doing it for a romance novel. I love working out in the gym, so can you believe how much I am in heaven? I get the satisfaction of working out, then I get the feeling of going to the studio and posing for you guys. It's very rewarding to my ego that is for sure.

8. What do you least like about posing for these shots?

I can't say I don't like a particular part of this. Sure it can be difficult to say no to certain foods that taste and smell just right but then I imagine how much more delicious to my palet it will be once I land that big cover so I don't mind saying no to tasty things. BUT I feel compelled to mention, when I do take my time off (which I sometimes do) I will reach for a Mr.Goodbar or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I can't help myself and if the companies that made those knew of my cravings for them, they bring them to my house by the truck load.. Why I'd be in debt to them for life! 
9. If you could change one thing about your journey to being a model, what would it be, and why that one thing?

I would have figured all of this out earlier in life! I look back often and say "Why didn't I get going on this stuff before?" I confused myself with ordinary ideas. I'd listen to unsuccessful models ideas on how to be a top model. I should have only listened to the best in the business or just my own ideas. 

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring cover models?

Yes I do. If you are really serious about this then do one thing every day toward your goal. It could be as little as sending out an email or as big as arranging 5 photo shoots for next week. Whatever it is, stay in your tunnel vision and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.. There will be low moments when you are down and feel nothing will ever go your way then there are those other moments you love.. the moment you see yourself on the cover of a big novel displayed when you first enter a bookstore. 
11.  If a publisher wanted to book you to do a shoot for them, how would they go about it?

All they'd do is contact my management and organize it with them. Here is the link to do so -

Thanks for visiting with us today, Jason. :-)