Saturday, February 08, 2014

Women of a Certain Age Read (& Write) XXX Erotica, and I'm One of Them

Gasp!
Time to come out of the closet.

For all my liberalness, open-mindedness, and hard-earned independence, I've kept a tightly guarded secret. I started writing about sex 15 years ago, although in a nonfiction, journalistic kind of way at that time. But that book got sidelined by my own resistance and fear...what if my children read it, and what would my friends, neighbors, clients, and ex-boyfriends think?

After letting the manuscript sit in a drawer for over a decade, I fictionalized and embellished those stories, put the book together as a novel, and published under a pen name. I didn't hide behind the pen name, however, and openly associated with my alter ego, Elyse Grant. The Prince Charming Hoax can be considered erotic romance or sexy women's contemporary fiction.

When it came time to write the next book, I wanted to push the boundaries of the erotica genre, but again felt a little uncomfortable about publishing books with explicit sex scenes and taboo themes in my own or even Elyse's name. (Seems silly now, but I wanted to protect her honor, I guess.) The reluctance to go public with these stories kept me from writing what I wanted, and I went through about six months of writing stilted stories that I either abandoned or hated when finished. My muse was not too happy about being stifled.

So I invented a new identity, and the writing flowed. Five novelettes and an omni edition published in two months time. Almost a full year after The Prince Charming Hoax was released. Layla Wilcox, my newest and most prolific alter ego, wrote the Secret Lives of Housewives series of books, which include My Secrets Discovered, Revealed, Shared, Bared and Exposed.

Although I shared (as Shelley Lieber) that I was writing a new erotica series, I didn't reveal the new pen name or announce the publication of the new books, except as Layla Wilcox. I was pleasantly surprised that the books sold despite Layla's lack of social media presence or followers.

So, why am I coming out of the closet now?

I'm turning another year older this week. Now that I'm a "woman of a certain age,"  I've decided that rather than wear a red hat and purple dress (who thought that up, anyway?), I would simply be myself, without pretense or subterfuge.

It's also Valentine's Day this week, and I want to celebrate my birthday, V-day, and the recent release of the final two books of the new series. I"m having a "coming out" party to introduce you to my new alter ego and her work. Layla has agreed to discount the omni edition, My Secrets Collection, (Books 1-3 of the series, plus 2 bonus stories), My Secrets Bared (Book 4) and My Secrets Exposed (Book 5) for a limited time.

If you are at all interested and want to join the celebration, please visit Layla Wilcox Erotica to find out more about the books. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter, and join Layla's Mailing List to receive bonus stories and special giveaways that are sent to subscribers only. She never spams or sends chatty emails. She just lets you know when she has something good to share with you.

I feel so much better now. Thanks to those of you who have stayed with me down to the last line ;-)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Want to be a Friend with Benefits?


Before we get started, I want to make it perfectly clear: "No, not THOSE kind of benefits!"

If you're reading this post, you probably follow Shelley Lieber, The Wordy Woman to learn more about writing and publishing. But as you probably know, Shelley is a split personality and her alter ego, Elyse Grant, has written a novel, THE PRINCE CHARMING HOAX. In order to keep this blog free of frequent mentions on other topics, namely Elyse and the book, we have a separate site and a separate list for those who are interested in timely updates, events, and giveaways from Elyse. 

Here's where I get to the good part...
Elyse has a "Hot List" of readers who want to help her spread the word about her book by sharing information with their friends who would be interested in the novel. This group of dedicated readers love to get first dibs on new offers, events, and giveaways...and they are happy to share the news once they get it. They are always first on the list of readers and get insider-only advance looks at new work and fun opportunities to be part of Elyse's writing and publishing process. And they get lots of "thank you" gifts for their support, including freebies and red-carpet treatment from Elyse. 

In fact, Elyse is gearing up right now for a HUGE promotion and the Hot List will be receiving their insider benefits in just a few short weeks--gifts that won't be available to anyone else.

We would love for you to join the Hot List of Friends with Benefits if you're interested in that kind of arrangement ;-) Why not at least join for a test drive? You can always unsubscribe if you find this isn't the relationship for you. Get on the Hot List now by clicking here or filling out the form at the top right column of this page. (To those of you already on the list...thanks for your loyalty and get ready for some really hot stuff coming your way!)

Take a Quick Peek at What's Inside The Prince Charming Hoax

Elyse has been posting short snippets from the book since it came out several months ago. Here are links to scenes that will give you a good inside look at the characters and the story.

Leah and Doug
Leah and Jonathan
Roxie meets D.J.
Roxie and D.J. on their first date
Girl Talk worth the eavesdropping
Where divorced women meet men in the suburbs

To go directly to the site and have your choice of excerpts, click here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Boom of Their Own: "Boomer Lit Friday" Gives Baby Boomer Authors a Place to Showcase Their Writing


I recently created BoomerLit Friday, a blog site to showcase the work of Boomer Lit authors. The site will eventually spotlight authors via interviews, guest posts, and contests. To launch the site and give authors an immediate opportunity to post their writing, I started the Boomer Lit Friday blog hop.

What is a blog hop?
Blog hops are events where a group of authors band together (usually around a theme) to offer readers some sort of incentive to go to their blogs and read their work. There is one central site (like Boomer Lit Friday) where the participating authors are listed and readers (hoppers) can click through to the various blogs to enter giveaways or read samples of the participating authors’ writing.

Blog hops can take various formats. Some hops are for a limited time and authors offer giveaways to readers who visit the site and leave a comment or sign up on a list. Other blog hops are ongoing, and authors post small excerpts from a Work in Progress (WIP) or published work. I’ve chosen the latter for Boomer Lit Friday blog hop.

How it Works: 
Authors register to participate each week at the blog hop by completing the sign-up form at the Boomer Lit Friday site. Registrants' names are linked to their blogs and show up as a list above the sign-up form. On the day of the event, which in this case is every Friday, each author posts a short excerpt from a Boomer Lit WIP or published work on his/her own blog.  Prominent in each author’s weekly post is a link back to the Boomer Lit site, so readers can go down the list of participating authors, “hop” over to another participant’s site and read more excerpts in the new genre. Most authors promote their blog posts and the event on social media and through their newsletters.

Interested in participating? There's an Author FAQ page on Boomer Lit Friday that explains who is eligible to join and how to participate. Each week, a new sign up form goes live on Monday morning and registration ends on Thursday evening at 11:00pm ET. Participants must have their blog posts live on the day of the event (Friday) at 8:00am ET, or be deleted from the list.

I’d love to hear your feedback and have you join the event, but please read the Author FAQ  first ;-)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Opal's Song Cover Reveal


Opal's Song 
Coming 2013 - Release date to be announced 


A horrific accident on a rain slicked mountainside and permanent paralysis from the waist down.

25-year-old Lily Wade has to relearn simple, everyday activities just to live a seemingly normal life.

Opal—a precocious child in her rehabilitation group—teaches Lily about living joyfully after
surviving an immense tragedy and how to find peace within the pain.

To keep a promise made, Lily must dust off her once beloved cello and connect with the music she’s kept locked inside a velvet lined case for nearly a decade.

A Teaser

The headlights of Darren’s extended cab Chevy swung from left to right as he took the switch back curves much faster than normal. Lines of tension formed beside his mouth, and his usually relaxed hands clutched the black leather steering wheel in a white knuckle death grip. Something about the way he pumped the brakes wasn’t quite right, and the momentum of the truck was picking up instead of slowing down.

Lily wanted to ask if everything was okay, but didn’t dare distract him from what was quickly becoming a dangerous situation. Deep ingrained reflex made her tug on the strap of her seat belt to ensure it would hold if the worst case scenario played itself out.

She’d ventured East with her boyfriend to explore and get away from the stifling rules of her parents. They had come into Western North Carolina via the Blue Ridge Mountains and immediately fallen in love with the place. Eclectic Asheville stole her heart with its combination of forward movement and backwards thinking. Only in that particular valley, surrounded by some of the oldest mountains in the world, could one community find the wherewithal to support so many varied lifestyle modalities. From the redneck–hillbilly descendants of the original Scottish settlers, to the new agers, dirty hippies, and flamboyant gays—Asheville catered to them all.

Lily wanted to share the exuberance of the area with her family, but suddenly feared the chance to do so would come at the cost of a glossy wooden box. Tears filled her eyes as she swallowed past a lump forming in her throat. She didn’t want to die.

“Aww, FUCK!”

Darren’s barely whispered expletive caught Lily’s attention as the tail end of the truck swung around. Suddenly they were facing the way they’d come. On any other day Darren would’ve calmly turned the wheel until the truck righted itself. For some reason the beast didn’t respond to his handling. The vehicle continued to spin until something in the front end snapped, and Lily stared in horror. One of the tires flew away from the truck, and in that instant she realized what people said was true—in the moments before death time slows down as the brain processes everything in minute detail.

Bright headlamps illuminated the surrounding forest as the front end of the truck crashed down onto the road. Heavy metal screeching on asphalt filled Lily’s ears only to be replaced with the sound of trees snapping beneath the force of a full sized pick-up rolling down the side of a mountain.

Up became down, and Lily’s insides threatened to come out as she was jerked about behind the increasingly tighter band of her protective belt. If she’d been sitting next to Darren her head would’ve been spared the repetitive abuse of being tossed against the passenger window. Lily didn’t want to scream out her fear, but found she had no control over her vocal cords—her screeches of distress echoed in the confined space until the imploding windshield drowned her out. Shards from the window flew towards them, cutting her neck and face as they tumbled around inside the cab.

Everything stopped all at once. The crashing roll of the truck, the cutting of the glass shards, even Lily’s screams. The Chevy landed on its side with her hanging by her seat belt, staring down at the unconscious form of her boyfriend. The smell of gasoline filled the air and Lily felt the spike of adrenaline wash through her nervous system.

“Darren! Darren, wake up!” She yelled as loud as her constricted lungs would allow behind the crushing force of the nylon strap. “Darren, we have to get out of this truck!”

Darren remained unconscious, and Lily refused to give into the blind panic threatening to take over. Breathing deep she quickly surveyed her position and the quickest escape route. The windshield had completely shattered, making that the only way out of the wreckage as the door above her wouldn’t budge when she tried pushing it open. Grabbing hold of the oh-shit handle, she pulled the weight of her body off the belt and pushed the release button. Blinding heat zipped through her body as she crashed face first against Darren's side and was knocked out cold by the force of their skulls connecting.

**** 

Something wet trickled down the side of her face just before an excruciating pain exploded behind her eyes, and Lily knew she was about to have the mother of all migraines. She thought to press the heels of both hands against her throbbing eye sockets, but found her body remained motionless against the command. A soft moan beneath her was worrying, though she couldn’t think why. The muscle of her shoulder flexed involuntarily and a jolt of pain flashed down her spine, stopping abruptly in her hips. A deep breath meant to calm her frantic thoughts brought more pain and then the blessed blackness.

**** 

“Hang in there little lady. We’ve almost got you out.”

Lily whimpered as a sudden shock of agony rippled through her arms and torso, but the sound of someone talking eased her anxiety. She wasn’t alone—thank god. The voice became a life line she clung to with her mind until sweet oblivion pulled her back into its warm embrace.

**** 

“They rolled down the side of Mount Pisgah. From what I can gather she was pinned in place by her seat belt, until she managed to undo it and then fell against his side.”

The conversation felt a million miles away. Surely they weren’t talking about her. Before she could give it another thought, the air was filled with excited chatter and frantic movements. She wanted to open her eyes and see what was going on, but her lids were too heavy to lift. Moving the muscles of her body required a strength she didn’t possess and fear flooded her thoughts as she cried out in frustration. The air she pulled through her nose tasted strange on the back of her tongue. Oblivion stretched out its arms and Lily went into them without a fight.


Find out more about Opal's Song and its release by visiting SJ Byrne or Opal's Song on Facebook.

A portion of all proceeds from Opal's Song will be donated to help children with disabilities...more information forthcoming. 


About the Author


Living in the mountains of Western North Carolina SJ Byrne is just trying to make her way through the insanity that comes with creativity. Writing is her passion - life is her muse. Keep an eye out for new books due later this year.

Connect with SJ via:

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

A Boom of Their Own: Baby Boomers Spark New Genre...Boomer Lit

Are you over-the-top fed up with YA-themed stories, erotica taunting you with lithe 25-year-old heroines who give away their power, Sci-Fi with adolescents saving the world, and all the other popular fiction featuring protagonists the same age as your children (or worse, younger)?

If not, you were probably born after 1970. Nothing wrong with that, of course, or with YA or NA literature, for that matter. Any well written book is usually worth reading.

But for those who used to say "Never trust anyone over 30," and are now approximately twice that age, a new restlessness is emerging. Through their sheer numbers, Baby Boomers (technically defined as people born between 1946 and 1964, although those who came forth close to either end of the scale often fit the demographic) have been driving trends since the post-WW II baby boom gave birth to their name.

Now this formidable group wants to experience characters like themselves in the books they read and movies they watch. They want media (literature, broadcast, and film) that addresses their challenges, chronicles their triumphs, and heralds their transition (or coming of age at the other end of the timeline) to what is often referred to as "The Third Age" in Europe. And, they don't want to be characterized as senior citizens waiting out the end of their lives in retirement homes.

Once again, Boomers get what they want. Screenwriters, novelists, and nonfiction authors are (wisely) creating material to sate the Boomers' desires.

Meryl Streep & Tommy Lee Jones in Hope Springs
Movies featuring Boomer acting greats like Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson (Something's Gotta Give) or Meryl Streep with Tommy Lee Jones (Hope Springs) and Streep with Alec Baldwin (It's Complicated) have been instant box office hits.

In publishing, this growing trend has produced a new literary genre— Boomer Lit. And if you write for or about boomers, you want to be very aware of how to hop on and ride this growing trend now, before everyone jumps on the bandwagon and you're just another contributor.

It's time to take the lead! Right now there is no JK Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, nor EL James of Boomer Lit. That means it could be you! This is the time to identify with the genre, join the movement, and get your name associated with the trend.

Where do you start? Good question! Begin by becoming familiar with definition of Boomer Lit. Although not written in stone, the general agreement is that it's writing that points to, examines, or attempts to offer solutions for circumstances that Boomers presently face, including but not limited to: divorce, retirement, death of a partner or spouse, empty nesting, being sandwiched between elder and child care, romance at age 50+, starting over in a new business or career, and more. Subgenres, like in YA lit, span the gamut and include romance, contemporary, fantasy, mystery, and the rest.

Boomer Lit is not nostalgia, although Boomers are fond of remembering the 1950s and 60s. Literature that deals with those times chronicles what it was like when Boomers were children or transitioning to young adults, not their coming of age as mature adults moving into the latter years of life.

Part 2 of this article series will provide some resources and possible markets where you can submit your work. But for now, whether you write for and about Baby Boomers or just want to read samples of this new genre, head on over to Boomer Lit Friday, a new blog I started that showcases short excerpts from Boomer Lit authors.

This site features a weekly blog hop event, and you can sign up to participate if you want to post a snippet from a published book or work in progress that fits the Boomer Lit genre definition. Be sure to read the Author FAQ before signing up!

If this topic interests you or you consider yourself a Boomer Lit author, join the Goodreads Boomer Lit group and "like" the group's page on Facebook. Lots of opportunity to get and share information at these links.

Hope to see you riding the Boomer Lit wave with me!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Talking Murder with Giancomo Giammatteo

Meet Author Giacomo Giammatteo.

Get all the details here.

Murder Has Consequences is the second book in the Friendship & Honor series.

I know it seems odd to be talking about murder in the same sentence as friendship and honor, but that is exactly what this series explores. It’s about two guys who grew up as best friends, almost brothers, but one became a cop and one a hit man.

Did you ever wonder how far you can push friendship before it snaps?

Thirty years ago, four boys swore an oath to be friends forever, and to always have each other’s back. In Murder Takes Time—the first book in the series—that oath pushed one of the boys to an early grave and one into hiding. Only two of them are left, but the oath remains.

Nicky Fusco’s words set the theme for the second book:

“Oaths are something you swear to when you’re young, and wish you hadn’t when you get old.”

How far would you go to honor an oath made when you were 8-years old? How much would you sacrifice? Suppose it meant breaking a promise to your wife? Or to God?

When Detective Frankie Donovan gets in trouble—and the law can’t help him—he turns to his best friend, Nicky Fusco. The problem is that Nicky promised his family, and God, that he’d go straight.

Most people don’t think of criminals as having honor; these stories might change your mind.

* * * 

Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of MURDER TAKES TIME, MURDER HAS CONSEQUENCES, and A BULLET FOR CARLOS. He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 41 loving “friends.” 

Friday, March 01, 2013

Meet the Killer Cheryl Kaye Tardif


Get all the details here


Submerge Yourself in the World of Cheryl Kaye Tardif

When people ask me what I do, I like to tell them: "I kill people off for a living." You can imagine the looks I get. Sometimes I'll follow with: "Fictitiously, of course. I'm a suspense writer." Sometimes I won't say anything else. Yeah, I'm bad that way.

Writing thriller, suspense, mystery and/or crime novels has always been my passion—especially if I throw a pinch of supernatural or paranormal into the mix. I've always been drawn to dark stories, ones that raise the hairs on the back of my neck or make me glance over my shoulder. The two greatest influences in my writing life have been Dean Koontz and Stephen King. Need I say more?

So what can I offer you if you choose to read my books? I hope and strive to give you a satisfying read, once that will impact you emotionally. If I can make you shudder or tremble or wince or even cry, then I've done my job.

In SUBMERGED, I share with you a very personal fear of mine—the fear of being in a car that's underwater and not being able to get out. I have traveled long distances by car hundreds of times during my life, twice from one coast of Canada to the other. Whenever we're along a stretch of highway with a body of water beside me, my fear kicks in. And I hold my breath…waiting…praying…

I want you to relate to this fear. But even more, I want my characters to come to life. I want you to feel for Marcus Taylor, a struggling recovering addict who has had his fair share of grief and guilt. I want you to admire his strength, even in the midst of his weaknesses. I want you, dear reader, to feel compassion for this man who has lost his wife and son in a terrible accident, who blames himself for their deaths, and who is searching for redemption, though he doesn't really know he is.

I want you to cheer on Rebecca Kingston, a mother on the verge of divorce who has left an abusive husband. I want you to feel empathy for her because this decision, no matter what others think, is not an easy one to make. I want you to cry with her when she realizes she is physically unable to help her children who are trapped with her in a sinking vehicle. And I want you to be holding your breath every time Rebecca does.

Marcus and Rebecca (and the others in SUBMERGED) may only be characters on paper, but they feel real to me. I gave "birth" to them and watched them grow. With every step they took, I wiped away their tears, hugged them and loved them. And, dear reader, I sincerely hope you'll love them just as much.

Happy reading…with the lights on…

Cheryl Kaye Tardif, international bestselling author

PS: The Kindle edition of SUBMERGED is available on Amazon from March 4th – 6th for a special price during the Killer Thriller Book Launch.

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