Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Author Amnesia, and Other Ailments

I have a couple of stories that might or might not come together at the end to make a point. It makes sense in my mind, but that's been known to fail me on occasion.

First story: I'm sitting in a small private dining room in the basement of Amsterdam Cafe which, despite its name, is located not in Amsterdam at all but in Auburn, Alabama. I'm with about 14 or 15 other writerly types, current and former members of my local writing group. We've gathered to very sadly say farewell to one of the group's founding members as he and his wife move to a small town in Arkansas. I have just realized that my $35 entree consists of four small grilled scallops and a miniscule swath of risotto artfully spread across a ridiculously large platter.

Amidst my dearth of entree, there were many Arkansas jokes, hog calls, and hillbilly references because, you know, when one lives in Alabama one takes whatever chance one can to ridicule other places rather than being made fun of oneself.

I was telling my friends Matt and Julia about Stephen King's Dark Tower series, which I recently finished for the first time. Doesn't matter if you are or aren't a SK fan, here's the interesting thing: About midway through this series, he writes himself into the himself....writing the books. It's all very mind-boggling, but imagine it this way. Harry Potter is searching for Lord Voldemort and discovers a book called "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," and it's his story, written by a woman named JK Rowling, who doesn't even live in the same world he does.

Harry's seriously freaked out. Is he not real, or his world, or his story? Was he born in the imagination of this strange woman in another time and place and world? Or was the author just the conduit, channeling stories from God or a muse or Gan or whatever?

This happens in the Dark Tower series, except the characters discover the books--their stories--written by this guy named Stephen King. They use a magical door to hop on over to our world, to Maine, and chat with their creator or channeler, whichever it might be. Of course, other things happen and it becomes a Stephen King novel with big hairy man-eating spiders and splattering eyeballs, but that's beside the point.

Here's the second story. I'm working on revisions for Pirate's Alley, the fourth book in my Sentinels of New Orleans series. I'm about three-quarters of the way through and I'm chuckling over some lines I thought were clever, and there's an explosion, and my characters crawl their way to safety, turn the corner of the half-destroyed building...and come upon two other characters having a fight.

I do not remember writing the scene that follows. I have no recollection of bringing that particular character back into the story after sending him into hiding in the first chapter. I have no idea what happens next.

Who the heck wrote that scene? Stephen King?

Anyway, it brought me back to the question of the Dark Tower, of the relationship between creator and creation, between author and character, between imagination and story and which chicken comes before which egg.

Which is apropos of nothing except it felt really bizarre to read a scene that I must have written but don't remember. Has that happened to you? I'm blaming lack of sleep!

And this weekend, by the way, Hoover Public  Library (Birmingham area) is the place to be! On Friday night, beginning at 7 p.m., author Lauren Willig will speak as part of the "Love in the Library" program, followed by a panel discussion of...something, I'm not sure what...with authors Beatriz Williams, Abbi Glines, and, well, me, followed by a book-signing. On Saturday at 1 p.m., there will be a panel with authors Angela N. Blount, Betty Bolte, Jillian Chantal, Larynn Ford, Christine Glover, Julie Johnstone, Aidee Ladnier, Naima Simone and Meda White. Followed by a big blowout book signing. It's all free, so come on out! You can find out more here or on the event's Facebook page.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Just For Fun

In between writing steamy love scenes, I often turn to social media for a little distraction and, of course, to interact with readers and friends. My guilty pleasure is taking quizzes. You know the kind that indicate which Disney Princess you’re most like, or which True Blood character you’d be. I thought it’d be fun to make one for a few of the heroes in my books. So, enjoy! And leave a comment as to which hero would be your true love!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Southern Magic Members' Releases

These are just the releases from the last couple months. So many more. Go to and click on the members' names to go to their websites. You'll see many more books.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fall Rush: A Southern College Novella Cover/Trailer Reveal

Just when you thought you'd seen the last of me, *evil laugh* another Southern College Novella is coming your way on August 1, 2014. Feast your eyes on this remarkable cover created by Kari Ayasha at Cover to Cover Designs.


Embry Harris is desperate to turn things around her senior year of college. She’s determined to make more responsible choices and rid herself of the stigma plaguing her. But because of her job and the hot bartender who goads her into making impulsive decisions, it isn’t going to be easy.

Stede Bennett’s mission since returning from his overseas tour is to get his degree. The last thing he needs is a spoiled sorority girl distracting him. Being a Marine taught him many things, except how to handle a beautiful woman in constant need of saving.

Protecting Embry from the jerk threatening to ruin her reputation is how Stede begins to lose his heart. Being empowered by Stede’s words is how Embry starts losing hers. If the schemer responsible for pushing them together gets his way, they could lose their chance for happiness.

Book Trailer
The Goodreads giveaway should be verified very soon. Like my Facebook page or Fan/Friend me on my Goodreads Author Page and check in for the announcement in a day or so. I'll be giving away a couple print copies, plus some other cool swag like this:
It's the South, y'all. We are frequently seen drinking our sweet tea and lemonade from mason jars.

You can also sign up for my New Release Newsletter on my website for special bonus material related to my books. It could be embarrassing. That's why only the elite get to see it. *snicker* Are you one of them?
Tell me what you think of the Book Cover and Trailer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

And The Dreams Just Keep Coming True

I got a surprise last night while checking Amazon. I knew my release date for Rescued was July 16 but taking a chance, I peeked anyway. Lo and behold, there it was and so I'm sharing with you today.


Fiercely independent and determined to be taken seriously in a man’s world, PI Rose Baxter will do whatever it takes to find the kids who are disappearing from the streets and bring them home safe, even teaming up with PI Marty Brown, a man hot enough to burn whatever part of her gets too close – her fingers, her sheets, her life, and her other nature’s whiskers. 

But her other nature knows whiskers grow back and will accept nothing less than this man as her mate for life, a plan Marty’s all in on. Sparks fly when she refuses to be the little woman. Besides, those kids need her and their time’s running out. But, thrown together 24/7 can she fight it?


The mattress moaned slightly in response to an unseen and unexpected movement. Her eyes snapped open and focused on the room, moving up, down, side-to-side. She didn’t recognize a single thing in her line of view. A rush of air flooded her lungs in a panicked gasp. She wasn’t where she should be.

In her own bed.


Damn. Where am I and how did I end up here? Double damn.

Her last memory? The bar. Jed’s Place. She’d received a tip from her source that her suspect had slithered inside. Arriving a few minutes later, she kept an eye on him and his cohorts for a couple of hours. Posing as a customer, she shot a couple of games of eight ball with some of the regulars.

Her eyes narrowed. Her head pounded as she recalled the next events.
Nothing stood out until . . . the asshole from the pool table sidled up way too close behind her and tried to score points by offering shooting tips. She stretched up on her tiptoes to line up the winning shot. His groin pressed tight against her bottom. His hands slid down her arms to her wrists as he whispered, “Let me give you a hand there, little lady.”

Without flinching, she purred, “I’m not little, I’m nobody’s lady, and I don’t need your help.” She slammed the butt end of the cue stick into his ribs, and with the same smooth motion came back to make a perfect shot and win her third game of the night. She straightened from the table with a satisfied grin. 

Rescued Buy Link:

You can find me here:

Twitter: @LarynnFord

Monday, July 14, 2014

Playlist for Play With My Heart

In my recent release from Soul Mate Publishing, Play With My Heart, my heroine is a musician who's in a band...with her ex. Nice, huh? Anyway, Liz plays country and Southern rock music on one of her many guitars. She occasionally sings, but mostly backup with the occasional duet thrown in. In the book, there are several songs that are mentioned/played/sung. Check out the playlist below to see if there are any songs you enjoy. Keep reading to the bottom for a surprise.

Seven Bridges Road- Eagles
Long Train Running- Doobie Brothers
Down By The River- Neil Young

The Rain Song- Led Zeppelin
Sweet Home Alabama- Lynyrd Skynyrd

Play With My Heart- An Original Song by Meda White
Haha- no video of me playing and singing it- yet!

I'll be sending my newsletter out on Tuesday, July 15th. Subscribers will receive "bonus material" not found anywhere else. The full lyrics to Play With My Heart will be included. You can sign up on my website at

Are there any songs above that you love? If not, what Southern rock song/artist is your favorite?

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Southern Tea Doesn't Serve Tea

Life can be really confusing at times, but there are circumstances where we bring it on ourselves. We use words that have multiple meanings with the same spelling: tea, shower, scale, windy, read, above… Or the words sounds the same with different meanings: two, to, or too; and their, there, or they’re.

Just the other day, my daughter and I were driving to a bridal tea for a young lady marrying my nephew. In all seriousness, she ask, “What type tea do you think they’ll have? Hot or cold?” My first response was uproarish laughter all the while she asked what was so funny.  When I could finally talk, I had to explain that a “tea” in this instance was not referring to the drink but to an event.  Then the discussion drifted to the difference between ‘Tea’s’ and ‘Showers.’ It was a good thing we were not headed to a shower because she would have brought a towel.

So here presents the quandary of this blog post. What's common knowledge for me, I assume in my writing is common knowledge for all. Yet something so simple for me might not be simple for someone trying to read my work. Southernism comes into play throughout my writing, and I have to remember that the reader shouldn’t have to be Southern to understand the story.

Those of you that have now paused in the midst of reading this blog to pull an internet search on the difference between a Bridal Tea versus a Bridal Shower are probably still confused as to my true definition of the event. I ran a search myself and did not find anything that described that specific Bridal Tea. So here it is: In the Deep South (i.e. North Alabama), a Bridal Tea at a local church is understood by all adult women from that community to be an event where the presents are opened and displayed, but the attendee’s do not sit around and watch the bride-to-be open said presents. The attendees are not expected to stay the full 2-hours of the tea. Now mind you, that only applies if it’s at the local church and in my community. The definition could easily change if the location does.

My point to all this rambling is that communities can have inter-customs that are not clearly understood by outsiders, but the fun part in writing is to expose those different customs drawing the reader in to become part of the family.

A rose by any other name… is still a rose - not so true for other things. What are some play on words or unique customs where you live?

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

My Year Of Firsts

It has been a roller coaster of a ride getting my first stand-alone ebook, THE BREAK-IN, ready for publication and then releasing it last month. Now I'm deep in my first blog tour, traveling to different blogs, writing guest posts, and generally getting my name out in front of readers. (If you want to read more about that and sign up for my rafflecopter giveaway, check out my blog at

There have been terrifying moments like participating in my first Twitter Takeover with the publisher to tweet out to thousands of people--thousands of people who are apparently very invested in the Vampires vs. Zombies debate. And for the record, both vampires and zombies are dead. The real winner is Werewolves--because they can keep your feet warm on cold winter nights. And they're fuzzy.

The son of one of my giveaway
winners. He confiscated the robot
toy inside my prize package.
And there have been really great moments, too. No one warned me how wonderful it is to interact with someone who has read my stories and as a result given up their own personal time to help me promote my book. I've worked with so many blog owners and other authors who have selflessly given me space to write, forums to speak, and even online real estate where I can hang out my shingle. I feel like I owe each and every one of them a huge debt. Kelley Jefferson of Smut Book Junkie has been a rock during the whole process, helping me schedule and organize it. Love you, girl!

And through it all, I have to say a special thank you to my chapter mates at Southern Magic. I've only been a member for a little over a year, but I was welcomed from day one. Being able to run away once a month and be surrounded by other writers who can laugh over my awkward moments with me, as well as celebrate my triumphs, has meant everything.

I look back on joining Southern Magic as a defining moment in my life. I didn't start to actively think of myself as a writer when my first short story was published over a year ago. It was when I started coming to local Southern Magic meetings that I recognized a change within myself. I was stepping out and making a choice in my future by becoming part of a group who study the craft of writing, who practice the art of writing, and who live the life of writing. I am a better person for meeting all of you. And a better writer.

Thank you. <3


AIDEE LADNIER is a writer who loves quirky characters. You can visit her website at or meet her at some of her favorite social media sites: 
Twitter  |  Tumblr  |  Pinterest  |  Facebook

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls, The Goldbergs, and one slightly used handheld camcorder...

Yes, I'm doing this today: 

If I could, I'd give credit where credit is due, because I am a big believer in reciprocal promo and h/t's. However, there are about 50 images on the internet that have exactly this pic (h/t TinEye Reverse Image Search) and I didn't go through them all to find its originator. 
So... my sincere thanks to the genius who figured out this food hack first. 

Now... I'm going to attempt a vlog in the a.m. with this.** Soooo.... if you're up early enough (say 6 a.m.'ish, depending on how cooperative my dog is for her morning walk), I invite you to join me! (Don't get too excited... this won't be viral worthy. Please. It's going to be early.) 

And afterward, I expect everyone to go run around the block at least twice! 

Editing note** No, I didn't oversleep and I didn't forget. 
I DID make these... hmmm... I'll name them 
Bacinnamon Rolls
BUT! One day that little camcorder is the niftiest, grooviest thing since the Polaroid Swing (remember those?) and then we move on... 
only to find that the nifty groovy underused handheld camcorder is no longer compatible with the rest of the world's devices. 

(Anybody want to buy a slightly used, almost like new handheld camcorder? Yeah, didn't think so.) 
Do you watch The Goldbergs? I thought it would be lame - it's nothing more than a family sitcom set in the 80's, a mom, a dad, a grandpa, and three kids who are much more precocious with electronics and sophisticated with the accelerating 80's pace of life and morals and attitudes than their parents. 
I've come to have a love/hate relationship with that show because my kids see me as the "smother" who wants to be involved in every aspect of her childrens' lives (with strictly good intentions and the expected bad outcomes) as well as Murray, who can't quite catch up with the attitudes, the morals, the ways of doing business, his childrens' attitudes, and the &%*#! VCR that refuses to heed his verbal commands. (Heh... he should have been cast in that commercial instead of Gary Busey. Although, Gary Busey talking to his pants does crack me up every time.) 

I guess that's the state I see so many of us midlife writers in - struggling to keep up with Facebook, on top of Twitter, G+, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Reddit. Trying to figure out how to get the blog to behave, much less write a post that entertains, attracts readers, and makes sense. And then splitting the little bit of remaining gray matter left in the brain to write a novel... not to mention pitching, querying, submitting, and keeping up with RWA politics. 

Throw in a little bit of Windows 8.1 and Wordpress website plug-ins, along with formatting and uploading for Kindle and wondering about Smashwords and confusion over Amazon vs. Hachette and you're 

Murray Goldberg.

I have no answers and I have to end my rambling - calories to burn, you know.
But I do have delicious Bacinnamon Rolls and coffee, and if you have anything to help with the delirium, please comment.

You might just win a slightly used handheld camcorder that does not respond to verbal commands OR Windows 8.1. 

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Q & A With Erotic Historical Romance Author, Jess Michaels

Jess Michaels is the author of over fifty novels and novellas under three different pen names. Now, she's focusing on her national bestselling, award-winning Regency romances. Her latest novel, A Matter of Sin, the first in her Ladies Book of Pleasures series, is set to release July 15, 2014.

I caught up with Jess at the Romantic Times Convention where she was hosting a panel on writing erotic historicals.

What inspired you to become a writer?
Oh gosh, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write. When I didn’t WRITE. It’s just in my blood and heart in a way that I can’t define. The first time I thought I would be a writer as a job was in 5th grade when I won our school’s Young Author competition.

Your upcoming release, A Matter of Sin, (Book 1 in The Ladies Book of Pleasures series) is set in Regency England. Tell us how the Regency period fires your imagination.
I love the Regency. They aren’t quite as tightly wound as the Victorians, but there are so many rules to break and stake if you’re caught breaking them. I love the clothes, the balls, the titled men, the money, the carriages, the fairytale aspect to it all.  I also love to write fallen women, courtesans, forgotten wallflowers and men who want to love them physically and eventually emotionally.

Lady Isabel Avenbury, the heroine in A Matter of Sin, is a widow who’s decided to take a lover after she ensures her sister makes a good match. Were there any real life Regency ladies who took lovers that inspired your story?
Oh I’m certain a good many respectable Regency women (widows especially) took lovers. Once you had provided your heirs and spares, in many marriages you were kind of done as a brood mare. As long as they could meet discreetly, why not pursue a little pleasure. Isabel, of course, has concerns about her respectability and her sister being damaged by an affair, so she hesitates. Until she can’t hesitate anymore. :)

Isabel’s notion to wait to take a lover is waylaid when she discovers a much discussed book, Ladies Book of Pleasures, in the hero’s library. I couldn’t help but draw a modern day comparison to another popular erotic romance that has recently garnered a lot of attention. And yet, despite the popularity of such works, there exists a real uneasiness about the erotic content of romance novels. Why do you think this bias against romance novels exists? And what do you as an author do to promote the genre?  
I would say most people who speak poorly of romance have never read one or have only read outdated books from decades ago. I don’t feel like I have to convince them because they are judgmental, closed-minded jerks who aren’t going to do anything besides tell others what they “should” or “shouldn’t” read. The best thing I can do for my readers and the genre is to write the best books I can and not worry about those who are going to say things about what they don’t understand.

You’ve set quite a dilemma for the hero, Seth Rowland, Marquis Lyndham. While he’s attracted to Isabel, it’s his duty to marry and produce heirs. This heightens the stakes for the star-crossed lovers. Give us a little history lesson. Why was this so important in Regency England?
As a titled gentleman, Seth would need to produce heirs in order to pass his title, lands and money to the next person in his line. Inheritance and title was vitally important to those of the “upper ten thousand”. In Seth’s case, he is the only male in his family. If he does not produce a legitimate heir, the title will go to a cousin or his child at Seth’s death. And that may not sound like a big deal to us, but to his family it is.

What research tools do you use? Books? Websites? Have you visited any of the settings in your historical romances?
I have a good base for Regency (since over 2/3 of my 43 titles have been set there) so I do mostly spot research on specific elements in a story.

What’s your writing process like? Do you have a playlist of songs you listen to while you write? Care to share a few of those?
I write every day, I have a page goal every day and write until I meet that. I don’t actually listen to music while I write, even music without lyrics. So I’m afraid I can’t provide playlists because music is too much of a distraction for me.

You also write urban fantasy as Jesse Petersen. How does writing in that genre compare to writing Regencies?
I don’t actually write urban fantasy anymore at this point, though there are 7 books out there (zombies and monsters if you like that kind of thing). Obviously you can use such different language in a contemporary setting and there are cars so travel is more fun to write. But they are very different books. They’re urban fantasy with a romantic element, but they are not romance and they don’t have love scenes.

For authors: You do such a wonderful job promoting your books, hosting contests, and shining the spotlight on the erotic historical genre. Any tips for authors?
For me, it’s all about building my platform. The more readers I touch and have contact with, the more chances I have for them to know my book is for sale and buy it. I work at least 80 hours a week on my career and about 35-40% of that time is spent building my twitter, my facebook, my newsletter, blogging, helping other authors, etc. All those things hopefully spin back around to sales when the book is out. Once I’m back to being entirely indie, I’ll also be able to utilize a lot more options that authors with publishers don’t have, like price control, promotional pricing and a lot of other ways to promo and track promo. I’m excited to get back into that work.

What other books are coming up in The Ladies Book of Pleasures series? And will we see any secondary characters from A Matter of Sin?
A Moment of Passion is about Jacinda and Jason (who are secondary characters) and it comes out October 14. And A Measure of Deceit comes out December 9 and is about Grace and a character you haven’t met yet and I can’t tell you about. But I will say he is Scottish and a self-made man. :)

When and where can we buy A Matter of Sin?
A Matter of Sin is out July 15 and you can pre-order it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, Google and at Samhain.

How can readers get in touch with you or find out more about your books?

About Jess:

Jess Michaels lives in Tucson with her awesome husband and two old lady cats. When not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, being the world's coolest aunt and occasionally hiking up her mountain and complaining about how steep it is. Find her at

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