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The Were Chronicles Revealed

              Six ebooks and two print volumes with many more to come in the Were Chronicles series.

 Thank you for joining me on my blog time today with Total-E-Bound. To celebrate Friday’s release of The Were Chronicles Print Volume 2 I thought I would share some fun facts about the Were Chronicles world. Things you probably do not know about the books.

I love the characters and hope you do also…but here are some secrets revealed!
#1- Pack Enforcer (book 2 of the WC) was actually written before Pack Alpha (WC1)
That’s right. I wrote about Cain and Emily, which was supposed to be a single book release, before deciding to try my hand at a series. I’d never written series books before. Once I decided to write the series I knew I had to start with an Alpha. That’s where we get to meet Gage Wolf.
#2- I’m still in love with Gage Wolf. Okay, I know that’s not a big huge secret. But I just had to throw that in there. Gage was everything an Alpha should be. Plus he helped launch my writing career. What better man is there? Lol
#3- Cain, Tony, and Lamont did not have a last name in their book. They didn’t get a last name until book four Pack Rogue.
#4- Here is a shocker though. In the first draft of Pack Enforcer- Cain’s brother, Tony, died. Yes, I know…crazy isn’t it. Luckily I came to my senses. Tony is still alive and well. Although I do not know how happy he is with me.
#5-Tasha is book three Pack Territory was never meant to be the main character. Adam was supposed to find his mate while searching for her sister. But Tasha insisted in tagging along.

#6- Book four was supposed to be Tony’s book. He wasn’t ready to find his mate yet I guess.

#7- Once Austin became the main characters of Pack Rogue, Austin was supposed to be shot instead of Tony. But Tony took the bullet and is really mad at me.

#8- Austin’s sister, Ginger, was planned to mate with Gray Mason at the end of Pack Rogue.

#9- Gray took Tony’s place in book five Pack Community. Poor Tony just doesn’t want to give in and find his mate for me. I think he still holds a grudge from almost dying in book two and getting shot in book four.

#10- Casey, Zack, Mike, Jess, RJ, and Mike have opened a new window in the Were Chronicles world. At this time all I can tell you is that there is something huge in the works!!! Come on, I can’t reveal all of my secrets. You’ll have to wait a little longer for that. J

#11- Nikki has been the funniest female character to write so far. I just love her. I think her and RJ are the best couple so far. Oh, and we are not done with Dylan’s story either.


#12- In book seven Mike travels to help a Pack in need as the consequences of the shifters going public are known.

#13- We met a deadly and dangerous foe that we battle in three books. Book seven, eight, and nine. It’s one of the most complex plots.

Well, I hope you enjoyed finding out a little more about the world that I have created with the Were Chronicles. When I first started writing I had no idea what this series could turn into. I can’t thank all of you, the readers, enough for accepting me and my weres.

Without you there would be no shifters trying to find their mates while trying to live their lives. With you the possibilities are endless…

Crissy Smith
Romance on the 'WILD' side...



Wonderful new things happening!

Please go to my new web site at this address. It is in the process of being redone and I'm loving it. I hope you will, too.


Taboo... by Lily Harlem

As an author I’m familiar with the taboo list publishers flash up on their websites. There's just some things that don’t yank their chains and they don’t and won’t go there. Of course it's not just the publishers who don’t want this content, their distributors don’t either! It all makes for pretty good reasons not to write the stuff.

Haven't seen a taboo list? Here is an example taken from the Total-E-Bound submission page.

NO paedophilia - Don't even dare go there!
NO rape as titillation - We accept that it may sometimes be used as part of a plotline, especially supporting character development, but definitely not for the use of getting your rocks off!
NO bodily functions - i.e. watersports, toilet play - eeeew!
NO necrophilia - The dead definitely don't do it for us - of course, we don't count the bloodsucking undead variety!
NO bestiality - This does not apply to shape-shifters and might not apply to certain breeds from a sci-fi perspective.

I should point out that I'm happy to avoid the subjects on this list and although That Filthy Book pushes the boundaries of the second taboo subject (It does come with a reader warning) I steer clear. 

However today I’m going to pick on one of these subjects to chat about - watersports. 

I’m not into it, never tried it, can’t imagine I ever will but, recently I was playing around with a manuscript and it came very near to being part of a scene. It was a dirty degrading scene about a girl living out a slut fantasy. She was having a great time being used and abused and having orgasm after orgasm, but when she was about to be pee’d on it was just a step too far. She called a halt to the whole thing with her safeword – which is of course what they are for.

It left me thinking though, what if instead of it being a dirty scene, the watersport was part of the fun. Clearly some people enjoy it otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about it. I’m an author, I make stuff up all the time, fiction is my world as is empathizing and figuring out the emotions of my characters. So what is it that gets people off about peeing on each other?

There is clearly much more involved than the physical act of urinating. There must be so much tension and anticipation in the build up. Perhaps it could be a treat or reward for a Dom or sub. The span of plot lines are wide. The pee-scene could be humiliating and degrading or a gratefully received anniversary surprise. Depending on the context and the characters the watery moment could be great fun or dark and edgy. It gets right to the very core of a relationship, playing with psychological, emotional and of course physical aspects.

I’m not saying I’m about to add a golden shower scene into every book I write, and it's true you have to delve deep to find watersport fiction out there. But as a writer I can’t help the way my mind wanders into these complex corners of human behavior and ponders the 'what-if's' for a little while.

Do share your thoughts on any of the taboo subjects, I’d love to hear them.

Lily x


not quite the same

Unless you avoid the news studiously, it's hard to miss the growing number of countries who either legalised same-sex marriage, are in the middle of making it happen or at least are talking and thinking about it.

I'm Dutch, and that means I'm lucky enough to be able to get legally married since 2001. And that's what my wife and I did. We've been together since October 1981, so we assumed our relationship could be considered reasonably stable. Our sons preferred saying that their mums were married instead of having a registered partnership. We walked to the town's administration centre, filled in the form and that was that. We were finally accepted in exactly the same manner as any straight couple.

Only... we weren't... and we still are not. No quite.

Now, let there be no misunderstanding, being married means something and it's a overwhelmingly good thing. It's worth fighting for, and no mistake about it. 

But in the 30+ years my wife and I have been together (12 of those officially married) the number of  individuals we meet for the first time (outside gay-settings), who assumed right away we are a couple and addressed us as such is exactly zero.Yep, zero.

"Your sister..."  (We don't remotely look alike)
"Obviously best friends." (I sure hope so, but there's more)
"Sisters-in-law?"  (Just because she shares my family name doesn't mean she married my brother)

 I have to admit, neither of us read very much as gay (if butches are your point of reference) and once we have corrected them, all react friendly and respectfully enough. I do understand people want to avoid  misunderstandings.  That it's never with any bad intentions. That 98% of married couples in the Netherlands are m/f (yes, I looked it up)

And still...

It's such a small thing, everything considered. And it's such a huge thing, everything considered.

S. Dora
Ella Laurance
R.A. Padmos


1st day of summer…

It’s officially the first day of summer. Yay! But it’s been so hot already that it’s felt like summer for over a month. This will be a long summer. I’m looking forward to getting out and having some fun in the sun. A few of the things I do for summer is go to the park, sitting on a blanket and reading a bit then getting some ice cream. Or going for long walks and enjoying the day. I meet the most interesting people when I do either of my summer fun things. This leads to great conversations. Also there are many movies coming this summer I plan to see. I love summer! Summer is here and it’s time for fun.

Talia Carmichael
Fill Your Cravings



Summer Fun

Its summer and I’m looking forward to the fun that is coming. I have family coming to visit and I will be acting as usual like I’m a tourist in my own city as I show them around. It’s fun to see the things I see all the time with them. To them it something new and their reaction is different than mine. There’s also going to be the fun of just relaxin’ and chillin’ with each other. We’ll be chatting and catching up with each other. Love being with my family. I’m ready for the summer fun.

Taige Crenshaw
…increasing the sizzle factor
Chat Group:


Recycling - It's not just for plastics and papers anymore

I have a confession.

I recycled a novel.

Many years ago, all right, to be precise, it was four years ago this July, I had an idea. I was driving across a tumbleweed-infested scrap of Arizona desert on a very hot afternoon. There were monsoon storm clouds piling up in the sky to the northeast, but after 7 years' of living in the desert, I knew that the clouds would never make it over the Rim to give us the much-needed rain. At that moment I was listening to 'Fields of Gold' (the Eva Cassidy version) on the car stereo and I experienced a fierce rush of homesickness for a gentle English summer rain. At the time, I knew that wish would not be granted but I had to do something to put me in touch with those memories.

I wrote a story.

It was my first attempt to write a novel for publication. It turned into a 120k word historical set in England during the Great War. Oh, it had all the ingredients: the surly Mrs Bridges-type cook ruling the kitchen, the lovely old house set in even lovelier grounds, complete with a flourishing rose garden. It had a gentle heroine and a tall, handsome soldier who went off to war to defend the country where his true love lived. I completely lost myself in it, I lived it. I sat in my office at work, stared out the window and didn't see the Union Pacific line running past the end of the street, or the Pinal Mountains rising into a cloudless, hot, blue sky, I saw a bucolic English countryside, all lush and green.

Once it was all written, polished, ripped to shreds by a fabulous beta reader and polished again, I started querying agents. The letters went out all stamped with hope and optimism, and the rejections trickled in. All polite variations of 'Sorry, it's not for me.' After 100 or so attempts, I consigned my behemoth to the trunk and wrote a sequel set during WW2. But that's another story. Poor little WW1 historical had breathed its last.

Or had it?

A year or so later, I got to thinking. After all, I'd learnt a lot since those first hopeful days. I dragged the story out of the trunk, brushed off the dust and cobwebs and looked at it. I really looked at it. That's when I realised what the problem was.

The heroine was a total drip.

She didn't do anything. Things happened around her. Things happened to the people she loved and it was only right towards the end that she finally put on her big girl's panties and did something. Heck, no wonder the story put countless hardworking literary agents to sleep. So, I had a think. I decided she needed a life. She needed to do something. But, she was a girl from an upper middle-class family in early 20th century England. What I wanted for her wasn't possible.  I stepped back even further and looked at the bare bones of the plot and I had one of those light-bulb moments. I moved the story to the present day, I gave the main character, Grace, a career and I sent her boyfriend to Afghanistan.

The story is called 'Christopher's Medal'. It's set in England, centered around the grit and glamour of horse racing. Grace trains racehorses, she has a backbone and I love her. And the good thing is, my lovely editor at TEB liked it. So my recycled, amped-up shiny story will be released by Total-E-Bound in November. It's M/F, and written by myalter-ego S A Laybourn, but I hope you'll give it a try.

Watch this space!


First Chapter of Arresting Behaviour Out Now!

It has been a wonderful and busy month for me. I have been getting ready for the release of Part 2 in the Uniform Encounters series - Arresting Behaviour - and hard at work getting the final installment ready.

The thing that I've loved most about promoting this book has been all of the one line teasers. Seeing them out of context like that gave me a sense of how a reader might respond. Thank you to those who have given me feedback - it has been very encouraging. Here is the most recent one:

The graphics department did an amazing job at putting these together - just the right image. But best of all is that you can read the entire first chapter right now - yes - this very moment! Just go HERE to the product page, and scroll down to the excerpt where you can read the first chapter. Happy reading - and I hope you enjoy the intense connection between Jake and Quinn as much as I enjoyed writing it. Until next month! ;-)


Going for the Gold With Megan Slayer

From time to time I like to write as my pen name, Megan Slayer. It's fun. Megan gets to write different things than Wendi does and she makes no bones about it. So what is she up to these days? This past summer we all got to watch the Olympics. I'm not in the UK so I didn't get to see them in person, but it was just as good on television. I also learned there is a training facility for Olympic athletes not too far from where I live. The more I watched and learned, ideas sprouted. I loved watching the grace of the male gymnasts. Oh, and their arms and legs were darned good looking. So much muscle...


So I wondered, what would happen if two of them met. What if they were on the same team and fell in love? I had to run with the idea. So I did. My fantastic editor also happens to be a former gymnast, so that helped, too. I learned as much as I could about the male categories of the Olympics gymnastics. Terminology, moves, and what events are the male events and which are only female events. It was very interesting.

I had to figure out which events my characters were competing in. Turns out I didn't have to worry. They let me know themselves. The vaults. They talked, I listened and wrote about vaulting. I hope I captured the team spirit as well as the bubbling passion between these two guys. I love this story. Here's a little more about Vaulting:

Vault for the gold or fall in love? What about both? 
Available here!
Dylan Parker wants nothing more than to win the gold. He’s worked on his vaults long and hard to be the best. And he is…until the best, Aiden Conrad, shows up at his gym. What’s a guy to do when the object of his affection also happens to be his stiffest competition?
Aiden’s no slouch when it comes to competition. He’s got more than a couple of medals under his belt, but finding love? That’s his one weakness. When he meets Dylan, all bets are off. Dylan might be damn good on the vault, but is he just as good in bed? Aiden’s next goal? Dylan.
Can these two hard-headed men find common ground and passion in each other’s arms or are they destined to fail in the biggest competition of all—the game of love?
Reader Advisory: This book contains lots of gymnastics fun, voyeurism and hot sex in the locker room.

Available here!

Want to know more about Wendi Zwaduk? Here you go: 

I always dreamt of writing the stories in my head. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are my favorites, as long as he has an independent woman keeping him in line. I earned a BA in education at Kent State University and currently hold a Masters in Education with Nova Southeastern University. 

I love NASCAR, romance, books in general, Ohio farmland, dirt racing, and my menagerie of animals. I also write under the pen name of Megan Slayer. 

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I love my new cover!

I'm still not past the stage where I get over-excited at the sight of a new cover (do we ever get past that stage?) so when I received my new cover art for "Ready for Him", my submission for the Tied to the Billionaire anthology, I spent a lot of time bouncing off the walls.

Here it is.

In the bar at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Jade Bleecker celebrates with her three best friends, all of whom are there to get married - Jade is their bridesmaid, and beginning to believe that three times a bridesmaid really does mean never a bride. Tattooed, pierced and a martial artist, Jade is used to inspiring fear rather than desire in men, and even if she did find one who could handle her - well, no man is worth trusting with her body.

But, as she is leaving the bar, she comes upon a mugging in progress and, with a few swift moves, makes short work of the mugger. Invited up to the victim's room for a nightcap, she is stunned to discover he is Will Vandenmeer - billionaire poster child of the Vandenmeer hotel and casino chain, and owner of The Sanctuary, one of the best known BDSM clubs in New York City.

Jade finds herself hopelessly attractive to the sensual, dominant Will, and when he offers to induct her into the world of BDSM, she accepts... but can she truly give herself to him, and is Will ready for what Jade has to offer?

I love the tattooing on the cover model - so much so that I might make use of it next time I get inked. Well, it's only appropriate, right?


A Night Alone

So, last Friday night my husband and I thought we'd have a lovely evening alone. Our oldest has moved to Oklahoma (with a fabulous job!) and the youngest and his beautiful girlfriend were off to the symphony. We knew we had hours so after dinner, we sat on the front porch, sipped wine and enjoyed the cool summer breeze. Hubby went in to re-fill the wine. That's when all hell broke loose. The phone rang and the tornado sirens went off simultaneously. Larry, a friend of the family, was driving through town when the sirens hit so he came to our house and asked to hide out in the basement. Of course!! Then the phone rang again. Oldest son calling from OK asking if we could check the radar since he was out of power and sirens were going off around him (keeping in mind the horrific tornado on May 20 in Moore - about 5 miles from where he now lives!) We did so and a tornado was heading right for him. Then he decides to grab his idiot - I mean sweet dog - and hit the road. Then the sirens in our town stop. Then the neighbor texts me and asks me to get his terrified dog. Then the town sirens go off again. Then our son calls again and says he is lost and wants us to look up on the net where the hell he is. Then we figure out he's driving straight into the heart of the storm and I FREAK OUT. Then hubby calms us all down and directs him out of danger. Then Larry and I grab the dogs - the neighbor's and my little princess and head downstairs to the basement. (Hubby thinks this is all SUPER COOL and stays to watch and check the news channels. Then after about 10 minutes the sirens go off again and the storm has passed us by - sort of. We are still getting "build the ark" type rains, but no tornadic activity. Then we all go back upstairs. Then the neighbor's dog poops and pees in my living room - the poor baby is terrified. Then Larry decides it's safe enough to leave. Then my son calls again and tells us - something - but between the loud pinging (hail) and the staticy connection, we can't hear a thing. Then I freak again and hubby tells me to get a nice whiskey to drink. Smart Man.  Then son calls again and says he's on his way home and all is good. the hail and story have passed him by. Then youngest son and his girlfriend get home.

So much for our night filled with red hot monkey sex! Sometimes, things don't work out as well as they do in novels, but they work out for the best. We were lucky. Our sons and friends and family and houses were all safe, so I am very, very grateful. Not far from us in St. Charles, Missouri, many homes were totally destroyed.

Later, we found out that more deaths occurred in Oklahoma. The people of that area will be re-building and recovering for quite a long time. Please, be generous with prayers, positive energy and support - especially to the Red Cross - to help with their recovery.


HIS DELECTABLE COOK on the kitchen table, in the dining room, on the floor...

I am so delighted to debut my cover for my late Regency-early Victorian, HIS DELECTABLE COOK. Don't you think this is wonderful? Lickable? Tempting?
The story stars a young woman who answers an advert for a position as cook to the new earl.
Does she know he is such a rogue?
Does she anticipate that he likes to share his women with his staff and his younger brothers?
Might our little cook relish the very idea?
You must come and learn.
No date yet for this single release. But it is in the anthology, AT YOUR SERVICE, for to be released June 30!
Need a nibble?
Of course you do!
Copyright, Cerise DeLand 2013.

     Bess Deveraux stood before her new employer, prim as a blushing bride, which she most definitely was not, and proud as the virago she wished to become. And all because the man she faced was precisely the type of master she had yearned for since she first discovered the joys her body could give her six long years ago. He embodied all the essential qualities she desired in a lord and master: He was handsome, self-possessed, filthy rich and scandal-ridden. At the moment, he was also astonished at her appearance before him. The tick in his left cheek told that tale.
     “Mrs O’Brien assures me you are qualified for my household.” Lord Taryn Wentworth sat, loose-boned, maddeningly louche, in a large leather chair examining her from across his sun-dappled library.
Betty flushed with pride at her accomplishment to jump the gauntlet of the acerbic housekeeper and appear before him as the woman’s choice for the cook’s position. The servant had riddled her with questions for hours about her previous experience and her employers.
   “She informs me you are experienced with supper parties and balls.” One long well-muscled leg across the other, Wentworth pursed his full lips together as his searing sapphire eyes assessed her chin, her throat and her bosom in the cook’s shapeless white attire.
   At his gravelly base voice, Betty refrained from shifting on her feet as her nipples peaked high and hard against the rough cotton of her new uniform. She was so right not to have donned a corset this morning. Nor worn any pantalets. After all, she had taken this position to be free of all social restraints.
   “Betty!” Mrs. O’Brien chastised her to respond to the man who had recently inherited this Mayfair house, an older pile in Dorset, an earldom and twenty thousand a year income. “Do answer his lordship.”
   Betty locked eyes with him, the rogue. “I was not aware it was a question.”
   “Careful, girl,” O’Brien growled.
   Betty caught his lordship fighting a smile. “Yes, of course. Pardon me, Went— “ No, not so familiar, Bess! “Sorry, my lord. I am very accomplished at preparing party menus. Game, beef, puddings.”
   “Red snapper?”
   Betty suppressed a chuckle at his lewd reference. How like the scoundrel to try to make her laugh. “I have it on good authority that my fish is superbly prepared. Always in a savoury sauce.”
   He rubbed his lower lip with the tip of one index finger. “How are your sweet things?”
   When properly prepared? “They melt in your mouth.”
   “Tempting,” he conceded with a tour of her body from generous breasts to tiny waist and the length of her legs. She had heard his eyes could scald and titillate. Her cunny swelled with the proof. “And what of your cakes? Do you work with chocolate?”
   “I can bake one for you, my lord.”
    Irritable and commanding this morning, are we, my lord Wentworth? Hmm. “Of course. Marzipan. Vanilla glaze. Whatever you—“
   “What do you do with strawberries? Peaches?”
   The devil. Her nipples pebbled like strawberries. Eager to have those luscious lips of his sucking them. And her peaches? She squeezed her pussy walls together. Yes. Her peaches were plump and ready to be bitten into. “Such delicacies, I offer ripe and sugared with—”
   “Ices?” he cut her off with a narrowing of his sparkling eyes and a shift in his chair.
   Uncomfortable, my lord?  This is your fault, you realize. You did ask. “Yes. Sculptured, my lord. Swans, birds and—“
   “I see,” he said though what he was looking at was her nipples peaking against the muslin uniform.    “Where did you learn to carve ice?”
   “In the house where I grew up, my dearest friend was the cook.”
   His cool façade fell from his face at hearing this tidbit. “Was your friend, the sculptress, also expert with her dishes?”
   “A fine chef, my lord. My father became enchanted with her finesse and claimed no one could make a soufflé that compared. I learned much from her.”
   “Such as?”
   Ah. You taunt me at your own risk, Wentworth. “She declared if one fed a man what he loved, he would return, hungry forevermore.”
   “Astute of her.” He, over the shock of gazing at her heart-shaped face and limpid eyes, grew more relaxed. Even jovial.
   “True, my lord.” Betty rocked back on her heels, bolder now that she had him in conversation. “She was most particular instructing me on how to prepare any organ from a large animal, most especially his brain.”
   He arched a brow at her. “For example, what?”
   “How to tenderize a big piece of meat.” She used her hands illustrating her passion to pull and draw on one specific part of a male animal.
   O’Brien cleared her throat.
   Betty clasped her hands behind her back, rising on her toes and thrusting out her heavy breasts. “I roast a succulent duck, as well. Do you like duck, my lord?”
   “I appreciate all things succulent, Betty.” He flashed a smile at her, a rueful twitch of that libertine’s mouth. One Bess had to trace and taste very soon. “Leave us, Mrs. O’Brien.”
   “My lord, I depart here in the morning for the house in Dorset as you requested,” the housekeeper bit off her words, miffed at her dismissal from this interview, “but I have not yet discussed the menu with her for tomorrow evening and with a new butler and footman—“
   “I will tell her what to serve.” Wentworth waved the woman toward the door, though his gaze locked on Betty’s. “She will inform you after I am done with her. You may go to your duties, Mrs. O’Brien.”


Sorry, Bro - Coming This Friday From TEB!

I’m so excited about the release of my second-ever romance novel, Sorry, Bro, this Friday, from TEB. I’m so excited, in fact, that I’ve been blogging about it for the past week! So today, instead of writing a unique post, I’d like to send you on a scavenger hunt, of sorts, so you can learn more about me as a writer, my inspiration, my likes and dislikes—plus even a little about my future works.

Plus, this Friday, stop by to read exclusive interviews with me at the blogs of lovely authoresses R.J. Scott, Sage Marlowe, and R.A. Padmos!

Happy reading!




Still aching from the mistakes and denials of his past, this ER nurse could heal anyone but himself…until now.

Handsome, athletic and intelligent, twenty-six-year-old Bryce should be living the high life.

But he’s far from it.

After shunning his best baseball buddy in high school, dropping out of medical school and fleeing New York to put down roots—if only shallow ones—in New Orleans, Bryce is uncertain about both his past and his future. Working long hours as a low-level nurse and confined by a sexless relationship with a questionably devoted girlfriend, Bryce can’t shake the feeling that things should be somehow better now he’s escaped the confusion and indecision of his former life.

Yet when the ghost of Bryce’s high school past, the handsome and charismatic Tim, shows up injured in the ER, Bryce’s already turbulent emotions engulf him in a vortex of confusion and regret. Haunted by his own insensitivity towards Tim eight years before, Bryce first finds comfort in the powerful arms of a resident surgeon he barely knows, then gives Tim the explosive, cataclysmic relief he had denied him in high school. As Bryce comes to terms with his sexuality and recognises his undeniable attraction to both men, he must decide, once and for all, where his fidelity—and his desires—lie.

About Me

Genevieve Bergeron has been an avid reader and writer of digital fiction for nearly two decades. A journalist, children’s author and professional communicator, Genevieve now spends her time reading and writing hi-tech inspired romance and erotica, in addition to working a fast-paced day job as a communications director at a Washington, D.C.-based national nonprofit. With her time, Genevieve does her best to avoid any steamy political scandals while collecting flavored condoms, cooking for friends, and sampling boxed wines.

For all my books published with Total E-Bound, visit my page at


The next big thing

I've heard on the grapevine - well from someone who works for a big epublisher that the next big thing in erotic romance will be Downtown Abbey spin offs. Really? That means I'm not going to be on that cresting wave because I'm not a watcher of Downtown Abbey. I'm also too lazy to do the research for historicals, though I do love reading them.
When I recently went to the US, the guy on immigration actually struck up  a conversation about Downtown Abbey - well he tried to. I looked at him blankly and he gave up. He let me in though and told me to watch it. Was it an order?
I wonder if the fascination is with the time period of the series or more with the upstairs downstairs element. I've written a few books with titled people as major characters but they've all been contemporary. I suppose when you look at it, there's nothing new about the next big thing at all. Alpha guys, girls with stars in their eyes and women growing stronger. Add lots of sex and stir furiously.
Now if only I could predict the next big thing a year or so in advance - or failing that, next week's lottery numbers....


The Ghosts That Haunt Me

The two questions I’m most frequently asked as a writer are: 1) How do you come up with ideas for your books? and 2) Are your characters based on real people?
As to the former, I’ve always been one to ask, “What if?”  In the case of the three books in my “Ghost Encounters” series, the underlying question was, “What if a woman could communicate with the dead through her unique – and powerful – sexual energy?” That woman is my Ghost Encounters heroine, Toni Bianchi – a quirky, curvy, wise-cracking psychic medium who helps the restless undead find peace through that most-powerful of human emotions – LUST!

Regarding the latter, my characters are made up of the qualities I love – and hate – in myself and the meaningful people in my life.
A minor – but pivotal – player in “Stage Fright” is the ghost of Thomas Becker’s late grandmother, Claudette. She is based on one of the dearest influences in my life, my own late grandmother, Josephine.
Josephine was a force of nature; an oft-wed mother of five who breezed through life with such an engaging and unbridled joie de vivre that even the most cynical who met her couldn’t help but be caught up in it. To Josephine, everything was magical. Life was an adventure! She truly marched to her own, private (and no doubt devastatingly handsome) drummer.  When my grandmother passed – eight years ago – I said that if I left this world making one person feel as unconditionally loved as she made me feel, my work here would be done. Her love for life was remarkable, but her love for people was boundless. And that, my darlings, is a legacy to aspire to.
I spent many formative hours with my grandmother. We talked and played cards and shared with each other the wonders of art and nature. She opened my eyes to the beauty of the world around me. Some of our most joyous moments were spent at the local multi-screen movie theatre “stealing time.” We would travel by taxi (she had never learned to drive) to a beautiful local movie house. The building was stunning. In the lobby, sumptuous curved couches surrounded a two-story lighted fountain with fat, vibrant goldfish swimming in the pool. Grandma would peel a few dollars from her pocketbook for the day’s first feature.
And then, the fun began.
We would spend a couple of hours lost in the blockbuster of the day, then while the credits rolled, we would make our move. We'd nonchalantly file into the lobby and take our place in the queue for the concession stand. At the ideal moment, Josephine would feign her impatience at the wait (as if we had just arrived at the theatre) then stage-whisper something about not wanting to miss the opening scene. Before the ticket-takers could catch on, we had found our seats in another screening room and were munching on hard candies from her purse, waiting for the next feature to begin. On a good day, we could see three films for the price of one. I can only recall snippets of the movies we enjoyed together, but I can remember, like it was yesterday, the feeling of sorority I felt with that fabulously mischievous woman.
I can also remember the day of her funeral. She’d been dressed in the outfit she’d set aside years before for the occasion and her favorite black onyx rosary was arranged in her fingers. I reached into the casket and touched her hand and understood in that moment that she wasn’t there; what she left behind had nothing to do with the body she’d inhabited in life. That night I had the first in a series of incredibly vivid dreams that have informed my writing in the paranormal genre. She appeared to me in my sleep and when I asked, “Grandma, can we go to the movies?” she smiled at me and said, “Oh, honey, you know it’s too late for that.”
And so, in my book – “Stage Fright” – I pay homage to my grandmother by letting her live on in the character, Claudette. In fact, the dedication reads, “To J.A., who taught me to love movies and bend rules.”

Darlings, I hope you will love the characters I’ve created as much as I love the people who inspired them.
With boundless love and gratitude,
xoxo ~Gabrielle