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I validated my *NaNoWritMo win today with 63,000 words on a first draft of Ghost Walking (A Maggie York Paranormal). Still lots of work to do, but a great start with new characters I really enjoy writing.

Congratulations to all the participants who hung in there and reached their 50K goal this November!

*National Novel Writing Month

Have a wonderful holiday from our house to yours...


It's Wednesday, Booklovers!

You're invited for book talk and a chat with another awesome author! This week's guest is Kayelle Allen, romance author and a great friend to other authors.

Welcome, Kayelle! How do you take your coffee?

I like Starbucks, and want it sweetened with agave and pale with cream.

Ally:  Perfect. While my magic coffee pot gets our mugs filled, please introduce yourself.


Kayelle Allen is a best-selling, award-winning author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.

And something unique that isn't in her bio? I am a veteran, and served in the US Navy. I met my husband while on active duty. We were assigned to the same base, and met in orientation. We had joined the same day, and ended our enlistment the same time. We are still married (43 years this December). He is the love of my life. (Note from Ally: Thanks for your service, Kayelle. I hope you both had a great Veterans' Day.)

Contact the author:

Unstoppable Heroes Blog

Ally:  What made you decide to write romance novels? Do you stick with one sub-genre or many?

KA:  I love writing, and romance has many readers in multiple genres. Since I write scifi, scifi romance, fantasy, contemporary romance, gay scifi romance, and non-fiction, this is a good fit for me. I can't write just one thing. My imagination is on hyper drive. I'm never at a loss for ideas and have trouble narrowing down what I want to say. I tend to write complex stories with lots of plot and characterization. It's always the people in the stories, isn't it? That's what I like to create, and writing romance allows me to do that. I* make readers a promise. I promise them a great roller coaster ride of a story that brings excitement, fun, and takes them in directions they didn't expect. I can do all of that within a love story.

Ally:  Which part of writing do you enjoy the most: first draft or revision/editing. Has that preference changed over time?

KA:  Oh the editing, probably. I do enjoy worldbuilding, and creating, but the joy of seeing the words become precise is more satisfying. I enjoy seeing comments by beta readers and editors. It's good to know when I've made a difference. Perhaps I started out preferring the creation process, but over time, I've learned to appreciate sharpening the tools.

Ally:   Many writers owe you for helping us connect with each other and with online resources. Please tell readers about Marketing for Romance Writers: what it is, how it got started, and your hopes for its future.

KA:  Thank you. It's gratifying to hear that. When I was a new writer, I learned there were a few friends like me who studied not only the craft of writing but also the craft of marketing. They learned tips and tricks and would share them. We emailed each other. I started noticing that I'd get the same question from different people and would end up writing the answer to all of them. One day, I thought -- there's got to be a better way to do this. I'm repeating myself endlessly.

I had a Yahoo group for myself, as many authors did, so I decided to start one for authors who had marketing questions. Many times over the years I've regretted calling it Marketing for Romance Writers, and wished I had just called it Marketing for Writers. We have members who have never written romance, but they have the same questions. I began the group with about twelve people and remember being excited when we reached a hundred members. Then we reached five hundred. By then, I realized this was going to be huge. The Yahoo group now has over 2300 members, and as I write this, there are 5680 members on our Facebook group. We have blogs, a Pinterest page with 72 boards and over 1000 pins. We're on Goodreads, Twitter, and Triberr. We've done blog hops, and had workshops and seminars. All this with a volunteer staff and no budget. This October 31st, it will 9 years since I created the group. It's been amazing to see what you can do when you work together to help other authors. For anyone who wants to know more, here are our links. We promote for one another at no cost.

MFRW Website
MFRW Yahoo -
Twitter our hashtags are #MFRWauthor #MFRWorg #MFRWhooks
Facebook group
Facebook page

Ally:  Thanks for giving readers that overview. Maybe there's someone reading this who's been looking for a support group just like MFRW. Now, getting back to your writing, what is your next work in progress?

KA:  I'm working on a book called Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas. It's set in the distant past and shows how my immortal Sempervians came to be the manipulators of humanity. Pietas is their leader, and he is probably the most dangerous person ever created. The tag for the book is "Sempervians never die. Neither does their love. Or their thirst for revenge."

Ally:  I'm overly fond of quick answer questions, so here's a few for you to try:
  • a. favorite tv show -- oooh, tough. I never miss The Flash, Arrow, or Agents of SHIELD
  • b. an item on your bucket list - visit Middle Earth (New Zealand)
  • c. favorite holiday song - Silent Night
  • d. your go-to comfort food - Burger King Whopper, no mayo, no ketchup, or pizza!
  • e. last movie you saw in a theater - Jurassic World, but I have plenty on my go see list for this fall, including Star Wars VII.
Ally:  It's been terrific sharing some time with you. I hope you visit again. What book did you bring for show and tell?

KA:  I brought a free read!
Bro is part of a sweet scifi romance series, but it deals with the relationship of two brothers, before either of them meets his special lady. It's rated PG13 for adult themes. The two books that go with it used to be erotic, but are now sweet, and contain no graphic content or profanity. Bro is the prequel to At the Mercy of Her Pleasure (He's a thief. She's a soldier. Do opposites attract? Oh, mercy!) and For Women Only (His secret truth is her people's darkest lie.) I plan a fourth book that will round out the tale.


Bro - the Story Behind the Antonello Brothers

Senth and Khyff, the Antonello Brothers from At the Mercy of Her Pleasure and For Women Only, did not grow up together. They were separated at Senth's birth. Bro shows how and why, and what event reunited them.

Funny and yet touching, Bro takes you inside the Tarthian Empire and introduces you to three of its major denizens: Senth and Khyff Antonello, and Luc Saint-Cyr. You'll find them in many stories in the Empire. Come and meet them in Bro. It's free.

Get Bro for FREE:


At the Mercy of Her Pleasure:

For Women Only:

Kayelle's entire booklist can be viewed here: Booklist

Or purchased here:  Amazon

Other buy links are listed on her website:

Good Morning, Booklovers!

It's Wednesday and time for book talk!

It's also Veterans' Day and today's author, Colleen S. Myers, is a veteran, so the first thing I want to do is thank her and all our service men and women, present and past, for their dedication.

Welcome, Colleen. We're so pleased to have you with us. How do you take your coffee?

COLLEEN:  Thank you, Ally.
I like coffee with lots of cream and Equal. (My mother was diabetic so I am used to Equal)

Ally: No problem at all. I'll pour while you show readers your bio.


plays many roles. Not only is she a veteran, a mother, and a practicing physician, but she is a writer of science fiction and contemporary romances. Colleen’s dreams include surviving her son’s teenage years, exploring every continent on this planet, except Antartica, cause that’s way too cold, and winning the Nobel peace prize. Dream BIG!
She writes
Sci Fi/Fantasy and Contemporary Romance and published her first novel, MUST REMEMBER, on November 3, 2015.  Look for her at Three Rivers Romance Writers.

Her favoite pasttime
when not writing is cross-stitch. It is so relaxing and mindless, she can do it while watching TV.

Author Contacts:

Google +:

Ally:  Why did you decide to be a writer? Did a book or person inspire you?

There are many ways to answer this.  When I was little, I loved reading. I would spend hours wrapped in books-romances of course.  As I grew up the dreaded Real Life intruded until one day I read one of my favorite authors and hated her ending. Hated it.  So I decided to write my own. There were lots of other things involved, and I am sure my hubby will claim credit but that's the gist.

Ally:  Most of us had preconceived ideas about the publishing business before we got into it. What surprised you the most?

COLLEEN:  I think most people believe 1.) It is easy, which it is NOT, not in this day and age. There is a ton of work maintaining a presence and platform that most people don't anticipate nor wish for.  I think the second preconceived idea is 2.) you make a ton of money writing.  Not that you can't, but a newbie author, writing one book. No, we are not doing it for money! (Comment from Ally: Lol. So true. :) )

Ally:  What are your writing/publishing goals in the next year? Where do you hope your career will be in five years? Twenty?

I honestly love writing fantasy and just hope to keep on, keeping on. Writing and making up new worlds.

Ally:  What are you writing now? Is it a sequel or standalone?

I am working on the third in my Solum Series titled Distant memory. It is the final confrontation between my heroine, Beta, and Xade. It should be juicy!

Ally: Here are your quick answer questions. Ready, set, go...
  • a. favorite seasonal pastime - winter? Curling up with a blanket reading a book.
  • b. favorite shade of nail polish - mauve
  • c. favorite love song - right now I am loving, All of me by John Legend.  You are so Beautiful to me By Joe Cocker was my wedding song.
  • d. a wish on your bucket list - visit Europe.
  • e. last kind of sandwich you ate - PB&J (still a kid at heart.)
Ally: Thanks for having coffee with us today. Happy Veterans' Day! Before you go, let's take a look at your book...


Book Blurb:

Nineteen-year-old Elizabeth ‘Beta’ Camden is a survivor.   When the E’mani—those pale alien freaks—destroy Earth with a plague of madness and scoop up the remains, Beta is one of the ‘lucky’ ones. For years, she endures their tortures, experiments and games. Then one day, she manages to escape their ship with her life, and no memory of her time with them.  

Stranded on their world, Beta wanders the mountains, looking for a way home. She stumbles onto the Fost—the E’mani’s ancient enemy.  Their war with the E’mani is old and rooted in magic that the Fost once had and the E’mani crave. Magic Beta soon discovers she’s developing along with strange tattoos and disturbing glimpses of her past. The Fost take her in and train her in their ways. As she spends more time with them, she falls in love with their culture and with Marin—he of the hot hands and slit eyes. 

But the E’mani took her for a reason and they want her back—dead or alive. If Beta doesn’t remember that reason soon, they’re all going to die.

Buy links:       
Amazon –
Barnes and Nobles –
Kobo –
All Romance/ARE: http://preview.tinyurl.comAREmustremember
Champagne books –


From the Author: 

When I originally blogged about my first rejection in response to a manuscript query, the article drew considerable interest and a few readers asked for details about how I got beyond that point to eventual publication
. So, here's the original post, followed by the rest of the story.

                                                                      Getting Beyond That First "No"

My heart was in my throat as I opened that first email. I'd finally gotten the courage to send  query letters to a handful of literary agents, and this was my first response. Were they dying to read my manuscript? Was it an offer of representation? Did they have the perfect publisher in mind who would snatch up my book?

I clicked, and this is what I read (actual email with names omitted):

Dear Author:

Thank you for querying me about your manuscript. I've read your sample pages and I'm sorry to say that the project        just isn't a perfect fit with my current needs. Although I liked it very much, I just didn't love it. This has less to do with your strengths as a writer and more to do with my goals as an agent and the trends of the current literary marketplace.

 I wish you the best of luck in your search for the right agent and publisher. Keep writing!

 Kindest Regards,

Name  (Assistant to agent)

Wow, what did that mean? Oh, I got it that she wasn't offering to represent me, but what about all the rest? Why didn't she love it? How could a manuscript be against her goals? What were these mysterious market trends?

I read it through again. She said she liked it. Surely agents didn't tell everybody that. And she urged me to keep writing. That was encouragement, if I ever heard it. She must think I have strengths as a writer since she mentioned them. On the other hand—"Dear Author." It was disconcerting that she'd already forgotten my name, and I hadn't failed to notice that my rejection had come at the hands of an assistant.

After all that initial angst, I soon learned that the response I'd gotten was pretty standard for the industry and meant nothing except "no." I licked my wounded ego and on the advice of other writers, I sent out more queries. My skin got tougher, I became more tenacious, and I took the one piece of advice she offered. I kept writing.

Over two years and several re-writes later, I received another first, the first yes from a publisher, followed by a signed contract, a published ebook in September 2012, and a paperback edition in December 2012. I've been fortunate enough to continue writing and publishing with Etopia Press.

And here's the rest of the story...
                                    The Road In Between

Not only did I keep writing after that first rejection, I continued to query.  I was persistent, if nothing else. In fact, queries were sent to more than 150 agents. There were a few yes, if's along the way. One agent wanted me to change it to a story about zombies, another to a novel about angels. I wasn't interested. Another agent suggested I make it a straight mystery and make all the characters human. It might have worked, but it wasn't the story I had written. About two dozen agents read the full manuscript and a similar number requested partials. In the end, I received 72 written rejections, but the remaining queries had no response, the new way that agents say no.

In the meantime, I wrote two more fantasies with the same characters and two espionage thrillers. From time to time I worked on strengthening the first fantasy. By now I realized I had started submitting it long before it was ready, but those bridges were burned and I quit sending it out. During the winter of 2011 I did one more complete rewrite, switching all three fantasies into third person rather than first person, changed some of the character names, changed titles, deleted and added scenes. Then I set them aside because frankly I didn't know where to submit them.

Instead, I concentrated on the thrillers and sent queries for the first one directly to a handful of small presses. I received encouraging responses but no contracts. A couple of those presses suggested I submit something else. In fact, one letter was so encouraging I decided to send the first of the fantasies, Awakening the Fire. I ended up submitting it to three small presses, and I went back to writing. I was working on a series of short stories based on the characters in the thrillers. Six weeks passed, and I hadn't heard from anyone. It seemed like the same old story again.

Then THE email arrived offering a contract! It was the press that had been so encouraging.

After I quit celebrating, I sent the courtesy emails to the other two presses stating that I'd received an offer, and one of them asked me to give them an extra two weeks to firm up an offer of their own. I didn't wait. I didn't hear from the third press, but I've never regretted the decision I made. Etopia Press has a great staff. I was very happy the Guardian Witch series had found a home.

Of course, that isn't really the end of my story. The three Guardian Witch books expanded into a series of seven, and an elven urban fantasy trilogy is with the same publisher. I'm not through writing yet. Who knows what worlds will call me next . . .

Thanks for sharing my journey. Come back soon...


Good Morning, Booklovers!

Happy Wednesday! Thank you for stopping to have coffee with us.
Our guest this week is author Neil Plakcy who writes in several genres from romance to mystery, but brought with him an usual paranormal mystery, Genie for Hire.

Welcome, Neil. How do you take your coffee?

NEIL:  Good morning. I like to take my own cup into my local Starbucks (that way they don’t have to cover it with a lid) and get a grande raspberry mocha with whipped cream and a mocha drizzle. The baristas know me and take lots of pleasure in creating a great-looking coffee piled high with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.

Ally: I hope you brought your favorite cup, because my magic pot can do anything! While I supervise the creation process, please introduce yourself to readers.


Neil Plakcy lives in South Florida, and if there aren’t genies around there is certainly a lot of crazy activity, which inspires his mystery and romance novels. Additional inspiration is provided by his two golden retrievers, Brody and Griffin, who are always getting into mischief.
You also asked for something unusual:
I was a contestant on Jeopardy! when I was much younger, and flubbed a question about a food item that was “hopping onto restaurant menus.” I guessed kangaroo, when the correct answer was rabbit, and that clip was part of the New York channel’s ads for weeks afterward.


Ally:  What inspired you to write a story about a genie? How does this ability help and hinder him as a PI?

I started to see a lot of paranormal mysteries inspired by Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books, but I didn’t want to do the same old thing. I thought for a long time about what kind of paranormal hadn’t been done to death in mysteries, and came up with a genie. From there it was easy to start listing his abilities and how he can use them as a PI. He can’t transport himself from place to place, so he has to drive, but he can transform briefly into a wisp of smoke—which gets him underneath locked doors. He’s loyal and determined, and contractually obligated to fulfill the wish he’s hired to do.

Ally:  When and where do you do your best writing? Do you write on a schedule or whenever you can catch a few moments?

NEIL:  I have organized my life so that I can get to Starbucks every morning for at least an hour before I have to go to work. My brain is trained that when my butt hits that hard chair and the smell of coffee fills my nostrils, it’s time to get to work. I also will use the voice recorder on my phone to catch details or plot bunnies before they slip away.

Ally:  Describe your route to publication. ie Are you indie or traditional? Whichever route you chose, would you consider the other?

NEIL:  I’m a hybrid author. I started out with traditional (read: small press) publication, and began working my way up the food chain. Because I have a tech background I jumped at the chance to create my own ebooks back when Kindle meant “start a fire” and I’ve been happy to continue on both tracks.

Ally:  What are you working on now?

NEIL:  Right now I’m working on edits for my seventh golden retriever mystery, HONEST TO DOG. Reformed computer hacker Steve Levitan and his crime-sniffing golden, Rochester, begin sniffing out clues when a college classmate of Steve’s drowns in the Delaware Canal,which runs through the center of town. Did he fall in? Or was he pushed? I hope to have it out soon after the new year.

Ally:  I love quick answer questions, so here's a few for you:
  • a. favorite dessert: Reese’s peanut butter cups, or anything that mixes peanut butter and chocolate
  • b. an item on your bucket list: An African safari
  • c. a car you wish you owned: Jaguar convertible
  • d. a book you have reread: Laurie Colwin’s Happy All The Time
  • e. two tv shows you hate to miss: Inspector Lewis on PBS, and Longmire on Netflix

Ally:  I'm not a Netflix user, but Longmire may drive me to it. I loved it on A&E. Neil, it's been a pleasure having you, but I see our time is almost up for today. I've reserved just enough for you to show readers your book! :)

There is real magic in the world, and false magic, and it takes a genie to tell the difference.

The hero of Genie for Hire, Biff Andromeda, is a centuries-old genie in a buff body who can’t use his powers for his own good – he must earn his keep by granting wishes for clients of his private detective agency, located in the Miami suburbs. To solve a series of crimes from theft to murder, he’ll have to go up against members of the Russian Mafia. Biff will need all the help he can get, from his squirrel sidekick Raki, his butterfly operative Sylph, and his lady love Farishta, a marid, or genie whose powers come from water. One problem, though – Biff is allergic to water and can only tolerate it when Farishta’s around.

Buy Links:, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, and in print from CreateSpace.

Reviewers have called the book charming and praised its combination of magical elements with a solid mystery.

Other books by Neil Plakcy:

Touched to the soul (Etopia Press)

Contemporary romance, mostly PG but scenes with a 4 heat-level.
Novella of about 45 000 words


A passion that runs soul deep...

Zoe Sutherland can't stand the pushy, arrogant architect David Cavallo. He was just too damn sure of himself, too handsome, too…everything. Maneuvered into working as the interior decorator on his latest project, a glamorous new hotel, Zoe can't keep her mind on the job. And worse, the strange man won't give her access to the hotel's floor plans. How is she supposed to finish the design when she doesn't have the plans? And when the obnoxious man distracts her with every smoldering look, every touch...

David has one goal: get rid of the pesky interior designer. Since he's been forced into close proximity with the beautiful Zoe, everything's gone downhill. And to make matters worse, she's only out to further her own career—and he's not about to give her the hotel's plans so she can steal his ideas. He needs to get her out of his system, and sleeping with her seems like the best way to do that. When it comes to women, he's found the best way to handle them is to love 'em and leave 'em. But something strange is happening...because after a night of loving Zoe, he's finding it harder than ever to leave…

Buy links:
All Romance:

Short excerpt:

And then she swallowed. He bit the insides of his cheeks to prevent him from smiling. So, the lady wasn’t as cool as she pretended to be.

“I tried to contact you after Don and Caitlin’s wedding but you never answered any of my messages.”

She narrowed her eyes. “You know perfectly well why I ignored those messages,” she said primly.

He leaned forward, enjoying her obvious discomfort. “You see, that’s just it. I don’t know. You kissed me, stormed away, and ignored all the messages I sent you.”

Her lips trembled slightly. “You were the one who kissed me,” she said, her eyes stormy.

“You didn’t kiss me back?” he asked, not quite understanding why he couldn’t stop baiting her.

She inhaled audibly, bent her head for a few seconds before she opened the file. “We can go ahead with the contract. That is, if you still want me to.”

“Oh, I still want you…” he said solemnly, waiting a millisecond before he added “…to.”

Her flared nostrils were the only indication that she’d caught his meaning.

“Good.” She got up. “I’ll ask Susan to contact you for the next meeting. Please make sure whoever you send has all the information available—budget, timeline and of course if…”

He also got up slowly. “Seeing that my brother suggested we make use of your firm, I will be working with you. Directly.” He emphasized the last word. “I don’t mind doing favors, but when money is involved, I have to protect the investment we’ll be making. I have to make sure you are not just a pretty face but can actually do the job. You obviously don’t really want to work for me, but you’ve realized it’s good for business. Therefore, I have to make sure our business doesn’t suffer because of yours.”

About the Author:

I have been reading love stories for as long as I can remember and when I ‘met’ the classic authors like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry James The Brontë sisters, etc. during my studies, I was hooked for life.

I married my college boyfriend and soul mate and after 39 years, 3 beautiful children and 3 grandchildren, he still makes me weak in the knees. We are fortunate to live in the picturesque little seaside village of Betty's Bay, South Africa with the ocean a block away and a beautiful mountain right behind us. And although life so far has not always been an easy ride, it has always been an exiting and interesting one!

I like the heroines in my stories to be beautiful, feisty, independent and headstrong.  And the heroes must be strong but possess a generous amount of sensitivity. They are of course, also gorgeous!  My stories typically incorporate the family background of the characters to better understand where they come from and who they are when we meet them in the story.

Social Media Links:

Personal Facebook page:
Author Facebook page:
Twitter: @elsawinckler

Good Morning, Booklovers! Yes, it's Wednesday, but we're doing something a little different today. Instead of our normal coffee chat, I'm posting a guest article discussing what it's like to be a male author in the female-dominated romance genre. I think you'll find it interesting to read his perspective. With that brief intro, I'll turn it over to Serge de Moliere...

Romancing the Reader   by Serge de Moliere

Are women writers better at “romancing” the reader than men? I don’t think so. Perhaps the greatest romance ever written was Romeo and Juliet, the passionate, tragic story of two ill fated lovers from warring families. As everyone knows, that tragedy was popularized as a play penned by the great William Shakespeare. Whatever the true identity of the Bard, which remains rather clouded, one thing is certain: Shakespeare was a guy. And like many men, Shakespeare was a romantic. Yet in the contemporary world, women often seem to scoff at male romance writers, even though the single most popular romance writer of modern times is also a male: namely Nicholas Sparks (author of the tremendously popular tear jerker, “The Notebook” and many other titles).

I recently read an online interview with a senior editor at one of the major romance publishing companies. This was a woman who by all accounts is highly talented, established and well respected in the field of romance. Yet, during the interview, when asked her opinion of romance writers, she noted that “the ladies are great” (emphasis added). With that single off hand phrase, she unconsciously demoted the ranks of male romance writers to also-rans, assuming they were even included in her lexicon of romance writers.

Why is it the prevailing opinion still seems to be that only women can write compelling romance novels? Whatever the reason, it impelled many popular male romance authors of the last quarter century to write under female aliases. For example, Leigh Greenwood’s writing career spanned more than twenty-five years and a multitude of romance novels. And yet he hid his gender for most of that time, preferring to have fans believe that he was a woman. Asked why he chose to do this, he explained he believed that “cultural obstacles” prevented most people from considering men as “romantic”.

Another highly successful male romance writer was Thomas Elmer Huff, who also veiled his male identity under pen names such as Jennifer Wild or Beatrice Parker. But his masculine gender did not prevent him from creating admittedly strong, memorable romantic heroines. Bill Spence, another highly successful but disguised male author, wrote under the pen name “Jessica Blair”.  He did not reveal his true identity until he was 89 years old (which fact, by the way, also busts the myth that only young people can write romantic novels). Bill said that it was his publisher who insisted that he write under a female pseudonym to help ensure his popularity with women readers.

Incidentally, women occasionally object to such subterfuge by male writers, even though this practice was followed by women authors for many years and still continues (e.g. Louisa May Alcott published as A.M. Barnard; also, J.K. Rowling recently wrote outside the Harry Potter genre, authoring The Cuckoo’s Calling, a crime novel published under the pen name Robert Galbraith. That is, until she was unmasked by journalists using forensic linguistics software.). Some claim that the “power disparity” between men and women makes such practice acceptable for women but prohibited for men.  Personally, I prefer to write under my actual gender, although I would not criticize men who do not in order to gain an “edge”. Men who write successfully under female nom de plumes, however, do perpetuate the stereotype.

Recently, in one internet discussion of the subject, a woman tweeted that it made her “uncomfortable” if men wrote and/or read romance novels. I’m not sure why this is. Both men and women have romantic and erotic urges and impulses that may be directed towards either the same or the opposite sex. A male who writes romance, whether erotic or not, is no more or less “normal” than a woman who does so. Women who generically dismiss male romance authors appear as sexist as those males who disparage women who are surgeons or soldiers. The great mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey seriously debunked the idea that only men can be great fighters. She did this by her continued success and obvious skill in the hexagon, which rivals that of the great male fighters of our time. Sadly, despite his parallel success in the romance genre, Nicholas Sparks has failed to carry the banner for male writers; and so many readers retain outmoded ideas about the male romance writer.

After I identified myself as a male romance writer, a woman tweeted me, asking if I thought that my writing career was “hindered” because I don/t write under a female alias. I replied that, while I hoped this was not the case, I’m not really sure.  Probably 95 percent of the authors carried by my current publisher are women. Further, most editors in the romance genre are female (just take a look at the staff listing of such behemoths as Harlequin, Loveswept or Forever Yours and you can confirm this for yourself). Consciously or unconsciously, some female editors may view a manuscript differently when they know that the author is male. If this is true, it is unfortunate.

Bruce Jenner and others have demonstrated that a person born biologically male may have a feminine persona and may successful convert to that gender, if they feel the urge. Likewise, authors, whether male or female, may have the sensitivity and skill to write from either a feminine or masculine perspective. In fact, many great authors write from both perspectives. Harry Potter, while not a macho protagonist, still represents a fully formed and highly popular male character who was created by a woman (J.K. Rowling). Contrarily,  the great filmmaker James Cameron wrote Titanic”, the celebrated tragic romantic film, which boasts the memorable female character “Rose”.

There are many other examples of compelling females penned by males. Arya Stark is a fictional character created by American author George R. R. Martin. She is a prominent figure in Martin's award-winning A Song of Ice and Fire series, and also a main character in HBO's adaptation of the series, Game of Thrones. The romantic film, Silver Linings Playbook features Jennifer Lawrence as the female protagonist, Tiffany, a strong woman not to be trifled with, as the male protagonist/lover (played by Bradley Cooper) finds out. Tiffany is assertive and more than a match for the domineering father (played by the very macho Robert DeNiro). Notably, Jennifer was nominated for an academy award for that stirring role. 

One of the strongest and most memorable female characters in Science Fiction is “Ripley” from Alien, who single handedly battles the horrific, acid spewing space monsters of that film. Daniel O’ Bannon and Ronald Shusett wrote the original story upon which the screenplay for “Alien” is based, and Shusett wrote the film script. The film, for those of you who may not recall this film classic, starred Sigourney Weaver as the outspoken and indomitable “Ripley”.  We may also mention Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a TV character who engaged in romantic flings while battling vampires and demons. And her character was written by Joss Whedon.

My own writing is based on people- both males and females- that I have known or been acquainted with. While protagonists in my stories are blends of more than a single person, they are based on reality. And so are the romantic story lines. If anyone out there still thinks men cannot write stirring, romantic female characters, I urge you to try reading a few male authors, including yours truly. One proviso: my romances tend to be a bit spicy, so they may not be for everyone’s taste.

My ebooks may be found on Amazon (18+ adult content):

NOTE from Ally: Watch for Serge's new romance novella coming soon, "The Abduction," about a young woman who is taken hostage by space aliens and falls in love with one of her captors.


Serge de Moliere lives and writes in New York City, where he draws on the astonishing diversity of this great metropolis to create compelling and often racy characters and stories. Many of his titles are published by Etopia Press and are available on Amazon.

Contact the Author:

Twitter @Serge_deMoliere
Etopia Press:

I recently sat down with the lively Esty Ryndel to talk about her big sister Kam, the main character in the Elvenrude series. (I asked about her own part in the coming series finale, Cross Keys: Unity, but without much success). Anyway, let me introduce her.

Estelle Ryndel is the twenty-three year old sister of Kameo and the younger by five years. She presents herself as a more traditional elven woman. Since elves have a longer life span (up to two hundred years), they mature later than humans.
Female fertility peaks from thirty to eighty, and Esty would be considered just emerging from her adolescent years.
She is an Elite elf, a member of Elvenrude's aristocracy, with the black hair and blue eyes that identifies her Ryndel clan. Her fine features are the mirror image of her sister's, except Esty has a dimple.
Esty lives with her parents, Meotta and Sawyer Ryndel, and occupies much of her time with lady-like pursuits: trips to The Bookstore and needlework, but she's developing a more independent streak and very much admires the adventurous life Kam lives as a member of the King's Guard.
Esty has occasionally dated Rhyden Lormarc, the cousin of Kam's boyfriend, Seth, but she's had several bfs in the last year.

Ally: Thanks for sitting down with me, Esty. Aren't you afraid Kam will get you for doing this?

Esty (gives me a mischievous look): She's out of town, and I'm betting she doesn't read your blog.

Ally (sighs): You're probably right about that. So let's see, where to begin... What's the worst thing Kam ever did to you growing up?

Esty: Oh, gee. It's hard to choose. Maybe when I was seven and she tied my pigtails around a branch up in a tree.

Ally: And left you there? What had you done to deserve that?

Esty: I told Mother that Titus Baeker had kissed her.

Ally: Was that her first boyfriend?

Esty (giggles): Nope. She didn't like it. She screeched and kicked him. It was pretty funny!

Ally: What's one favorite memory of the two of you?

Esty: I cut up one of Mother's favorite quilts as bedding for a pet rabbit. Kam took the blame and didn't get scones for a week. I wanted to tell the truth, but Kam said there was no sense in us both getting punished.

Ally: That's a nice sisterly memory.

Esty: Yeah, but maybe not as nice as the nights we talked late into the night when we were supposed to be sleeping. And she included me a lot in trips to the market and The Bookstore. We were always close. (she grins) Except when we were fighting.

Ally: Why do you think she joined the Guard? It isn't what most elven women do.

Esty: It didn't surprise me. She was always into something different and never worried about whether it was proper or not. She's not big on rules—at least not for herself. She expects me to follow them all.

Ally: Is it hard to live up to her expectations?

Esty: Sometimes, but there's a lot Kam doesn't know.

Ally: Oh, really? Care to share?

Esty: Not on your life. This interview's about her, not me.

Ally:  What do you think of her boyfriend, Seth?

Esty: A great guy and perfect for her. I liked Caleb too but he never understood her like Seth does. I'm glad Caleb found someone else.

Ally: Sometimes Kam pulls back from her relationship with Seth. Do you think they'll end up together?

Esty: Are you kidding? Seth's got her number. I'm betting on him.

Ally:  Speaking of the Lormarcs, what's going to happen between you and Rhyden?

Esty: (smiles sweetly so that her dimple shows) If anyone really wants to know, they'll have to read the next book.

Ally (laughs): I guess now you've gotten the plug in, we should wind this up so I can finish writing that final book. I hope we can chat again sometime.

Esty: You bet. Next time I'll talk about the really juicy stuff. (She gives me a saucy grin, flips her hair over her shoulder, and bounces out the door.)

The Elvenrude Trilogy

Cross Keys (published 2014)
Cross Keys: Revelation (published 2015)
Cross Keys: Unity (coming soon)

Available at most online bookstores, including Amazon


Good Wednesday, booklovers!

It's time for coffee or tea (substitute your beverage of choice) and book talk. This week we're joined by romantic suspense author Liah Penn.

What may I get you to drink, Liah?

I'm not a coffee drinker, but I love tea and drink it with milk and sugar.

Ally: I'll pour while you introduce yourself...


Winner of the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense (2015) for her debut novel "Pure Death", author Liah Penn is an attorney who resides outside of New Orleans with her husband and two sons. A former prosecutor, she has worked in a major metropolis, on the Mexican border and on an Indian reservation before relocating to Louisiana with her family. She is also an accomplished artist and sells her work locally. The last few chapters of Pure Death were written on a laptop while on a driving trip across Texas.

Something unique/unusual that isn't in your regular bioI taught art at a local middle school for two years while I practiced law part time.  It was great fun, and I still run into my students from time to time.  Of course, they are much older now and almost unrecognizable.

Contact the Author:

Twitter:  @liahpenn;  Website:; Facebook:

Ally:  Pure Justice was just released in September. What did you do on release day to promote your new book?

LIAH:  I didn't get my cover art until the day before the release so I wasn't able to do much more than promote on Facebook and Twitter.  I'm now working on a blog tour that starts in November.

Ally:  How long did it take you to write the first draft of Pure Justice? Were the edits longer or shorter than the first draft? What surprised you about the editing process?

Pure Justice took a bit longer to write than I expected.  I started it in January and finished it in July.  So about 6 months.  The edits were heavier because I did less self-editing and relied more on my editor to help with the plot issues that I had struggled with.  She was wonderful and helped me pull the whole thing together.

Ally:  What is the setting for your novel and how did you choose it? Could it have been set anywhere else and still be the same novel? 

Pure Justice takes place in the future.  The genetically defective are relegated to "Impure Territory" where they have the worst jobs, have to live on rations, and are not allowed to breed.  The genetically "pure" live across the lake in "Pure Territory".  In this novel, Sam is kidnapped.  Part of the novel takes place in the salt domes off the coast of IP Territory.  The setting and world building are an intimate part of the novel.  

Ally:  What are you working on next?

I am revising an older manuscript which is contemporary romantic suspense.

Quick answer questions:
  • a. last placed you shopped:  Aeropostale -- bought a shirt for my son
  • b. your best spot to read a book:  lying in bed or on the sofa in front of the fire
  • c. Do sexy book boyfriends have long or short hair? Always a little too long, falling onto their foreheads
  • d. favorite season of the year/why:  I love fall with the cooler weather and smell of woodsmoke
  • e. a song on your current playlist:  Take me to Church - Hosier (And have you seen that video?  Yikes!)

Ally: Thanks for visiting with us today. Before you go, please tell us more about your new release, a cross-genre novel of romantic suspense and futuristic fantasy...


Pure Justice, book 2 in the Ina Stone and Sam Fujimoto Mysteries

Human trafficking. A kidnapped partner. Ina's case just got a whole lot darker.

In an uncertain future where the Impures—genetic defectives—are banished to a ghetto territory, Detective Ina Stone and her rookie partner, Sam Fujimoto, constantly fight for survival. But when a murdered Impure is discovered in the projects with only a business card in his pocket, the clues lead them into the shadowy underworld of black market trade and human trafficking. After Sam is kidnapped by the Yakuza crime syndicate, Ina must hide her own defect to go undercover as a human trafficking victim. Accompanied by a Tebori master and a new detective with her own secrets, Ina must find a way to free Sam without exposing his role in the investigation, or getting herself killed in the process.

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