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Guest Post: Lindsay Debout Talks About Writing Warming Stories…

Warming Stories
Today I’m welcoming an old friend of mine, Lindsay Debout. Lindsay has just self-published a book for the first time. That’s an exciting and nerve-racking time in anyone’s life, and Lindsay’s here to tell us a bit about it.
I’m pleased you invited me to drop by, Christina. Thank you! I juggle a full time job in computing with home and family life, so writing is very much an occasional pastime for me. At the beginning of the year I had an idea for a short story, and Christina persuaded me to write it down. More stories followed, until I had enough for one volume and the beginnings of a second. It’s that first volume, Warming Stories, which I’ve just self-published on SmashWords. 
Tell us about Warming Stories…
Warming Stories is a collection of erotic short stories for an adult audience. Each one is centred around a different female character and her reaction to the situation in which I’ve put her. Although I classify my stories as ‘erotic’, sex isn’t the main focus of most of them; as in real life, sex is an important part of the journey but not the only part.
I’ve done some sexy scenes in my books, but not to that extent. Is the sex very explicit in Warming Stories?
Depends on what you mean by ‘explicit’.  I wouldn’t call it hard-core, but there’s no doubt what’s happening.
So, on the scale from vanilla to kinky, where do your stories fit?
I’m not sure these days anyone would call any of it ‘kinky’. My stories are more about the relationship between the individuals rather than what they’re doing to each other. If my readers want anything at all extreme, they should look elsewhere. None of my stories feature drugs, children, animals, cruelty, or anything like that. 
How can we find out more?
Warming Stories is free to download here It’s in the Smashwords Premium catalogue, so it is available through several outlets including Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and it’s in some libraries as well. I might charge a small amount for the second volume, but we’ll see how popular Volume 1 is first.
Why did you want to write in the first place?
I loved writing the first one so much, I got wrapped up in the whole idea of telling more stories. I hope people will enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.
I’m sure they will, Lindsay! Your first volume of Warming Stories is already available free here,  so how about giving us a taster of your current work in progress?
I’d love to. These are the opening paragraphs from my next short story, ‘Skater Man‘:
Pippa gazed up at the misty San Francisco sky. What just happened?
Mentally she reran the last few seconds. I was walking towards Fisherman’s Wharf. There was a clang behind me, then a shout, then something hit me in the back and spun me around.
She was lying on a very lumpy mound. Strange. It’s all pavement and benches around here. An arm lifted and waved in the air. I’m not wearing anything yellow. And I don’t have tanned hands.
Her brain finally connected the dots and she hurriedly rolled sideways. The figure she’d been lying on grunted and sucked in a lungful of air. “That didn’t go well,” he gasped.
No doubt about it, he was a local. Rollerblades, knee and elbow pads, helmet, disgustingly healthy teeth and the fashionable amount of sun tan. He was probably tall, probably fit and probably healthy, but right now he was sprawled full-length on his back. The impact and then Pippa’s weight on his chest had knocked the wind out of him.
Pippa scowled down at him. “What the Hell do you think you’re doing?”
“Trying to breathe,” he wheezed. “Give me a minute.”
Slowly he eased himself up onto his knees. Pippa parked her indignation for the time being and helped him clamber to his feet. Between them they got him to a bench and he took off his helmet.
“Sorry about that. I was trying a reverse slalom around the bollards and I got the timing wrong. Are you okay?”
He was definitely tall – she’d found that out when guiding him to the bench. The T shirt stretched over the unmistakeable shape of a muscular torso.  His hair was curly. At a guess he was early thirties. Not quite Greek God material, but definitely in a pantheon somewhere.
Pippa’s analysis was interrupted by his raised eyebrow. “Oh! Sorry. I think I’m all right.” She gave herself a quick once-over. “It feels like my hand smacked the ground and my dress must have got caught somewhere.” She sighed as she inspected the rip. “Looks like I’ll be making more dusters.”
“We can sort that out. Can I buy you a coffee? It’s the least I can do.” Without waiting for her answer he stood up and offered his hand.
Pippa hesitated for a moment. He’s a complete stranger, and a hooligan on skates. Why on Earth should I trust him? And yet… I don’t get the feeling he’s making a pass. I think this is just his way. She took his hand and he pulled her to her feet.
“There’s a restaurant right across the street. I can recommend it. I often eat there.” He led her across the boulevard. Pippa followed – not that she had much choice. He hadn’t let go of her hand, and she hadn’t tried to pull free. For some reason it felt fine.
Anyway, it’ll be more interesting than what I had planned for the day. So long as I’m sensible, what can possibly go wrong? Don’t answer that.

Thanks for visiting my blog, Lindsay. Best of luck with Warming Stories!
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Four Tips To Help New Writers Succeed…

These ideas will start your writing career off on the right page:

MAKE THE EFFORT…
Turn up and write. Do it every day. The only difference between someone who dreams of writing a book, and the author who produces one is a plan. Decide your SMART goal. That’s something Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and with a Time limit. “I’d like to write a book” is a dream. “I’m going to write a 70,000 word crime thriller by 31st December 2015” is a dynamic resolution. You’ll either do it, or you won’t, so stop dreaming and start work. Hint: failure is NOT an option.

…THEN GO FURTHER
Put in the hours, do the research, check everything, then have an unbiased reader go through it all. Make any revisions they suggest, then repeat the whole process. Make use of feedback, employ an editor and in short, do everything you can to make sure anything with your name attached is your best work.
Start a journal. If you do nothing more than download the notes or tag the selfies you made during the day (and you do carry a notebook or phone with you everywhere, don’t you?) it’ll be something you can flick through for inspiration when your ideas aren’t flowing.

WORK SMARTER, AS WELL AS HARDER
Make a commitment  to study a different type of writing for half an hour a day. That could mean newspapers, social media, non-fiction, fiction, long form work or short. Take classes, whether ‘real’ or online. Visit your local library to discover groups for readers and writers, and check out online sites such as http://romanceuniversity.org. Join groups such as The Romantic Novelists’ Association (http://www.rna-uk.org/) in the UK or Romance Writers of America (http://www.rwa.org/) for information and contacts. If you want to sell your work, research markets and target your work before you write a single word.

And finally, the most important tip of all…

NEVER GIVE UP
Start with a good story, use all your skill to hone your craft, and you’ll always find an outlet for your talent. Never put restrictions on your creative writing. If you get frustrated with your novel, don’t give up. Try turning the basics of its plot into a short story. If your novella gets out of hand, see if you can develop it into a longer work.

For more writing tips and insight, follow my blog at christinahollis and my author page on FB at http://on.fb.me/1Ee1urM

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Guest Blog: Summerita Rhayne’s New Release—Against All Rules

Everyone loves an office romance. Fancy getting swept off our feet by a rich, successful boss? Then Summerita Rhayne’s sensual contemporary romance is the book for you…

The efficient PA out of her depth…

Samara knows getting attracted to Tahir is like asking for trouble. Not only is he her boss but he’s got divorced recently and has sworn off any commitment. Short term is not on her list but temptation has never been stronger…
The man who doesn’t have faith in rainbows anymore
Tahir doesn’t believe in enforcing a code of conduct he cannot follow. But Samara might just make him make an exception! An affair at the office might seem a solution to his troubles but how can he avoid treading uncharted territory…?
Here’s an extract to whet your appetite:
Coming into her office to ask if everything was ready, Tahir stilled as his gaze found the woman with her neck arched back in abandon in the chair. What the…his jaw went slack focusing on the darting tip of a tongue moistening soft pink flesh and the expression of pure sensual enjoyment on her face. 
This wasn’t his usually staid and prim PA. Muscles clenched low in his body witnessing the sensuous slide of that tongue tip. Like he’d wandered into the live filming of some erotic edgy scene. It only needed her hair unconfined and the prim buttons on her top loosened for the picture of sexy siren to be complete. With her head thrown back like that and her chest thrust forward, full curves straining the buttons, she wasn’t less than a siren now. His gaze moved back to the promise of her lush parted mouth and it required no imagination to picture the feel of it beneath his, to picture capturing that errant tip… He inhaled. Blood rushed through his body at double the speed, surging strategically southward.
Samara became conscious of something different in her surroundings and sat up, guilt flooding her skin with warmth as she saw Tahir looking at her from his six foot vantage point, narrowed brown gaze focusing on her face. The dark brows lifted sardonically, his well shaped mouth with that velvet sheen it had, curving oh so slightly. 
‘I – I was just…’
She stopped, unable to explain and unable to decipher why she felt the temperature of the room increase till a wave of heat bounced around her body. 
He stood feet apart, every inch the inflexible, demanding boss man that he was. He was also jaw dropping handsome, looking like a honed and toned version of a male deo model. Forget the chocó, I could settle for a bite of that anytime. That well shaped mouth, with a fuller sensual lower lip, dark eyes, the colour of ground coffee, thickly lashed. Those spikes, he gelled his hair into as a concession to trend. No wonder women chased him any and every chance they got. 
‘I don’t pay you to indulge your time fantasizing in my office.’ He ground out, a curt edge to his deep voice, his eyes still narrowed on her face. 

About the author
Summerita Rhayne loves to write sensual and emotional romance. There’s no knowing when some quirky – or sometimes even not so quirky – happening in daily life might trigger her right brain and then she’s off craving a new story. She loves writing characters who learn and grow and find their way out of their troubles and emotional hang-ups. Hot, sensual heroes and sassy but sweet heroines mostly fit the bill in her stories. She also believes that a touch of humor never goes amiss in a book.

She divides her time between family, job and writing – and loves winding down with music, movies and the internet!

Or follow via Twitter @SummeritaRhayne

Buy the ebook at :

Thanks for blogging here today, Summerita, and best of luck with Against All Rules.

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Happy New Year!

That was then…
By Cymbella

I hope you had a lovely holiday, and managed to do everything you wanted. Christmas has become so commercialised, it’s easy to lose sight of the fun and enjoyment that just spending time with friends and family can bring. Our house was silent for much of the time, as we all love books and everyone received something to read.

The one big racket unfortunately came from me, two days before Christmas. My hand-mixer developed a big, irreparable crack in its plastic housing. It was a present for my 18th birthday and it’s been used virtually every week since then so it’s done good service. I managed at first by using the manual whisk I keep in case of powercuts, but after a few days of that, I checked online for electric versions. On a quick visit to Cheltenham, I picked up a brand-new Dualit that was on offer in the sales. 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/charlotte_royale_85654
Photo: BBC
For New Year’s Day pudding, I created an edible joke for DD, our tame archaeologist. If you ever wonder what the parents and partners of archaeologists do when they aren’t ferrying camping gear from site to site, take a look at the “cakes” section of Current Archaeology (yes, really). My cunning plan involved moulding a Charlotte Royale in our digital weigh-pan, which just happens to be exactly the same shape as Silbury Hill. I was going to cover the cake with green fondant icing and add a dusting of icing-sugar snow. The cake turned out beautifully, but it was already so sweet I couldn’t face adding any icing. Instead, I just added a little sign for DD’s benefit, saying: Micromorph THIS!

The cake was delicious and easy to make, although the process was a bit long-winded. It really put my new food mixer to the test. You can find the recipe I used here, although if you’re going to make it in winter it’s a lot easier and cheaper if you have home-produced eggs to spare and plenty of home-grown soft fruit in the freezer.

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Interview with Top Author Margaret Mayo

Today I’m delighted to bring you an interview with top novelist Margaret Mayo, whose latest book, Abby’s Unexpected Bodyguard, is her eightieth romance. To mark this amazing milestone, the ebook edition of Abby’s Unexpected Bodyguard also contains as a bonus  Destiny Paradise. This was Margaret’s first novel, published in 1976.

It’s lovely to welcome you here today, Margaret. Thanks for taking the time to drop by. The heroine of your latest book, Abby, is a successful business woman who runs her own salon. Lorna, in Destiny Paradise, was an executive secretary. That’s a dream job you don’t hear much about now that everyone writes their own emails. Has the profile of your readers also changed over the length of time you’ve been writing romance?

Most definitely. Some of my early readers would have had a blue fit if I’d written the sort of sex scenes I do now.  I remember an aunt of mine saying, ‘I enjoyed your book, Margaret, but – ’  And there was a pregnant silence.  My mother was unhappily no longer alive but I know her reaction would have been the same. I think most of my readers were so much older and inevitably had different views on what made good reading. Today’s readers want a good strong story line but they also want the excitement of a physical relationship to go along with it.

Tell us a bit about Abby’s Unexpected Bodyguard.

Abby is a beautician who has flown to Paris to attend a trade fair. Unfortunately nothing goes according to plan. She was met off the plane by a friend of her brother whom she had never seen before and knew nothing about. He insisted on giving her a lift to her hotel – where coincidentally he also was staying. The next morning he again insists on driving her to the place where she had reluctantly agreed to deliver a parcel for her brother. She is furious when he declares the area isn’t safe and speeds away before she can make her delivery. He even insists she check out of the hotel before driving her across France to Nantes. 

He seems to be taking over her life but she is grateful for his protection when a brute of a man turns up demanding the parcel and she begins to realise that whatever she is carrying may not be as innocent as she had thought.

It’s a roller coaster ride for Abby when on several other occasions she needs Temple’s protection, and the story does not even end when she returns home to England.

Your hero, Temple Townsend, takes it on himself to protect the formidably independent Abby. Alpha males have always been the ultimate hero, but do they have to show their credentials in different ways these days?

It generally depends on the storyline. In this book my hero was a real action man, physically jumping to Abby’s defence when the situation demanded it.  Having said that heroes have become tougher and more ‘heroic’, maybe even a little bit harder though not in a nasty way. The change has been subtle, though, and I’ve not consciously made the decision.

Where did you get the idea for Abby’s Unexpected Bodyguard? 

I wanted to create a situation where Abby, a strong, independent woman, suddenly had the rug pulled from under her feet. I only ever start my stories with the germ of an idea, so I decided to send her on a trip to Paris – and then have all her carefully made plans blown to pieces. That was as much as I knew. It was fun writing this story, creating problems and then overcoming them. For me, part of the excitement of writing, is not knowing what is going to happen next. When I introduced Temple’s step-brother, Liam, towards the end of the book I realised that I needed to tell his story too. It’s in the early stages at this moment but I’ll be sure to keep you informed of its progress.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to write romance?

What advice would I give?  Read, read and then read some more. Read romances by your favourite authors but read others too. And I don’t mean read for pleasure. I mean read to see how each book is developed. Do character studies of your hero and heroine so that you get to know how they think and feel before you even put pen to paper. But most of all enjoy it. I’ve been writing for almost forty years now and the pleasure has not gone away. 
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there, Margaret – if you enjoy what you’re writing, the words will flow much more easily and it won’t feel like work! Thank you for a great insight into Abby’s Unexpected Bodyguard and your working process.
You can find out more about Margaret and her books by visiting her website.

What changes in literary heroes and heroines have you noticed since you began reading for pleasure?