Gina Writes Words: January 2015

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Men! Can I just say MEN? Starla Kaye - Guest Post

For Ruby’s Love
Published by: Decadent Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, erotic romance, LGBT/gay, western, ménage
Heat Level: 5
Word Count: 33,000

“Can I just say MEN?”

It’s not that Ruby Tuesday McMurtry doesn’t like men, but sometimes…. Sometimes they can drive a woman nuts. One man in particular is on her bad list: Calhoun Cordell. The big, stubborn rancher is enough to make her want to scream, kick his sweet ass, and, okay, have him kiss her again.

Then there’s his “friend,” his lover: Daniel Patterson, aka a seriously handsome businessman. He’s got not only good looks, but also a good shoulder for a woman to cry on. The problem with him is that while she knows he’s gay, she desires him.

“Can I just say WOMEN?”
If there ever was a more troublesome, independent female than Ruby, Calhoun she didn’t know one. She shows up expecting him to let her work with his traumatized prized breeding mare. Not happening. First, she’s a woman. Second, she’s too damn small. Third, she’s a woman!

He’s known a lot of women, but never once has Daniel been sexually drawn to one. Until Ruby. He can’t figure out what about the spirited cowgirl gets to him. She just does. He’s even willing to end his virginal days with women, but he’s not willing to lose Cal because of his lusty feelings.


Rancher Calhoun Cordell and businessman Daniel Patterson have struggled for almost two years as a couple, with careers and goals often in conflict. A tragic fire, leading to a traumatized valuable breeding mare, has Calhoun sending for a well-known horse whisperer. Except the man is dead. His daughter, Ruby McMurtry, shows up for the job instead and complicates their lives even more.


He pulled open the over-sized front door and gaped at the bit of a woman shivering on the porch. She appeared a foot shorter than him and a good sixty or more pounds lighter. What hit him most were her eyes—an odd dark green, like jade or something. Her eyes narrowed as he looked her over.
Finally, she stretched to her full minimal height and bristled at him. “When you’re done checking me out, do you think you could let me inside? It’s colder than cold out here.”
Daniel stepped beside him and intervened. “Let the lady in, Cal.” He looked around her and asked, “Where’s your car? Assuming you drove here.”
She slid between them into the tiled foyer before turning back. “No car. And I didn’t drive here, at least not exactly.” Her teeth chattered.
Calhoun closed the door against the sharp winter breeze and watched her pull off a battered pink Stetson, unveiling chin-length strawberry-blonde hair. “What does ‘not exactly’ mean?” He added, “Who are you, anyway?”
She worried her trembling lower lip and glanced from him to Daniel and back. She pulled off a glove and stuck out her hand. “Ruby McMurtry.”
Instead of taking her hand, he puffed up in annoyance. “You’re late! Where’s your father?”
She started to lower her hand, glowering at him.  But he noticed something besides anger in the depths of those enchanting eyes. He couldn’t get a handle on the emotion.
While he tried to calm down, wishing he hadn’t jumped on her, Daniel reached out and shook her very red-looking hand.
“You feel like ice,” he said in concern. He took a second to scowl at him.
As she blinked at her hand sandwiched between Daniel’s, her already pink-chilled cheeks turned pinker. “I should’ve worn my thicker gloves,” she muttered in clear discomfort. When she managed to slip free, she glared at him.
A twinge of guilt about his rude behavior passed through him, but his anger came out first as he repeated himself. “Where’s your father? I have a serious bone to pick with him.”
Those eyes that still captivated him welled up with tears. His gut tightened.
Her lower lip wobbled and she sputtered, “He…he…he’s dead.”

Buy Links

CONTEST: In honor of my spirited cowgirl, I am giving away a necklace in a pink velvet cowgirl hat box. Leave a comment and include your email address. One lucky commenter will be chosen on February 5th.

Starla Kaye Contact Info

Monday, 26 January 2015

Merry "Chris"Mas by Clare Dargin - Book Spotlight

[Ménage Amour: Erotic Ménage a Trois Romance, M/F/M, HEA]

Jilly Reimers wants love but can't find it. Chris Spinell is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who suffers from PTSD and a haunting feeling that something is missing in his life. Chris Poole is also an Afghanistan war veteran is ready to break out of his shell but is unsure how.

With Christmas just around the corner, they decide not to spend it alone. Believing The Love Play Matchmaking Service to be just what they need for a night of fun and passion, they sign up. But when the guys show up and see that they've been set up on a menage, the only one happy about it is Jilly. 

Their consultant, called an Eros, assures Jilly that the service has a perfect track record but she's certain they'll be the first ones to get their money back. Will they have a very merry Christmas? Or will the three spend yet another one alone?

A Siren Erotic Romance


Jilly idly twirled a lock of her hair as she gazed at the fire. The meal was good, a bit awkward, but all right. Now with Chris S. in the shower, she and Chris P., who’d freshened up after her, sat beside her. She hoped she’d get a chance to know him a little better, now that they were alone.

Unlike Chris S., Chris P. was quiet, more reserved. His warm smile could melt ice. They’d spoken a bit about his life in Australia and how he met the other Chris when they were on Diego Garcia, a tiny atoll in the Pacific. It was there he garnered a better perspective on life, friendships and love. She reasoned that war tended to do that to a person.

She looked at him again, admiring what she saw. He was gorgeous. If only she were a femme fatale like her friends. She pictured grabbing him by the scruff of his collar and planting a long seductive kiss on his pouty lips. Anything to ease the tension between her legs and the moisture dripping from her swollen pussy.

Golden and sun-kissed like a surfer, he had a look impossible to have around this time of year in Michigan, unless he spent countless hours in a tanning booth. But at the same time he didn’t look like the type who’d go to one. He seemed too rugged. She glanced at his short, flaxen hair, which he wore pulled back in a stubby tail. It accentuated his keen facial features. His physique, like that of a gladiator, made her want to whimper. Built like a brick wall without being too thick, he was three words—supple, etched, steel. And his Australian accent added to his raw sexiness.

Whereas Chris S. was the perfect picture type of the all-American, boy-next-door type, with light brown hair and sandy-colored tips and eyes so blue they looked like the color of tropical water. He reminded her of the high school captain of the football team who’d gone into the military and become a man, except he had a sensitive edge that permeated his being. While Chris P., who looked like he could take on a few guys at once, was more lighthearted and outgoing.

Either way, she knew she hit the jackpot because both guys were like something out of a magazine called Hot Guys “R” Us. They were a perfect ten. It was best Christmas gift anyone could have ever given her. She hoped a Chris Sandwich was definitely on the menu for the night. But how to get past the talking stage, she had no clue. She wondered if all of her Love Play’s match ups started like this.

Wearing some leggings and a cami, and he a T-shirt and shorts, she suddenly felt overdressed. The art of seduction was not something they taught in any of the schools she’d attended, and she sure as hell never picked up any pointers from her so-called “friends.” And her exes never gave her any encouragement in that department either.

This date should have come with instructions. I think I’m in trouble.

She let out a long sigh.

“Did you say something?” Chris P. asked, stirring from his long silence.

“I was just thinking how beautiful this place is,” she lied. What? How lame is that?

“It is. I’ve never been to a place quite like this.”

“Love Play has quite a reputation.”

“You’ve used it before?” He perked up, facing her.

Heat burned her cheeks. “No. It’s what I heard from some of their clients.”

“So have you been married?” he asked.


“Neither have I. Never found anyone to get serious with,” he said, shrugging. “I don’t know. Maybe cupid’s arrow doesn’t work on me.”

“For me they’re defective. Or maybe his aim is bad,” she said, trying to suppress the memory of her ex-boyfriend.

“What do you mean?”

“My relationships, they never work out.” She shrugged her shoulders. “For whatever reason, they seem to choose my friends over me. Or it ends up that way once we get together.”

He shook his head. “Nah. They were bad blokes from the start. Believe me. I know. I’ve been around those types my entire life. The randier they are, the worse they will be. If a man wants you, he’ll stay.” His tone was soft, almost vulnerable.

Author Bio

Clare Dargin is an author of Science Fiction and Romance and has been writing stories all of her life before being published in 2007. She’s a great fan of the two genres and loves promoting them.

An educator by profession, she possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in English from a major mid-western university. She presently resides in the Midwest and she hopes to expand her writings to include non-fiction, historical romance, and contemporary novels.


Sunday, 25 January 2015

Flogging My Dying Horse

There is a finished draft taking up space in one of my folders that I have the biggest Love/Hate (capitalised on purpose) relationship with.  I love the concept, I love the characters... and I hate how rough it feels now, how I'm losing confidence in the story and how I don't actually know if I will ever get it to work.

I want to. I want this story to work.

I want it to work so badly I gritted my teeth, ignored all I think is wrong with it, and submitted to the North Texas RWA chapter's contest, 'Great Expectations'. If nothing else, I will get some fresh eyes on it, and hopefully get some feedback to allow me to see it more clearly. Then I might get really brave and drag it back out to work on again.

For anyone who missed it the first time Melissa Shirley made me a very lovely trailer for it.

Every time I think I've consigned "What You Wish For" to the drawer under my bed for the last time, something makes me get it out and dust it off for one more go. Maybe it's destined to be that story - the one to haunt me for the rest of my life as the 'nearly there'. Nearly, but not quite. Or, maybe one of these times when I get it out ands it off and hunt through it for whatever it is that just isn't working, inspiration will strike.

I built a play list for it, although it's always in progress:

Keane - Somewhere Only We Know
Pink - Just Give Me A Reason
Christina Perry - A Thousand Years
John Legend - All Of Me
Aha - Take On Me
Air Supply - Two Less Lonely People In The World
Bruno Mars - When I Was Your Man
Bryan Adams - Please Forgive Me
Olly Murs - Dear Darlin'
Bruce Springsteen - Sad Eyes
Gloria Estefan - Can't Stay Away From You
The Bangles - Eternal Flame
Rod Stewart - I Don't Wanna Talk About It
Plain White Tees - Hey There, Delilah
Harry Nilsson - Without You

I even started a Pinterest inspiration board for it, but that needs a whole lot more work and very many more pins before it even gets close to being inspiring:

Today, is my birthday, though. I'm touching "the wrong side" of my thirties. A good day to use the metaphorical duster again and remind myself why I love this story. Anything negative about it can wait until a different day, I think. 

Friday, 23 January 2015

What's in a Name?

"Don't get too attached to your titles," a friend warned me recently, after I mourned the working title of my recently contracted project. "They change them all the time."

Too late, the cry came..

It's a tricky thing, a title change. My rational mind understands it, but I feel distance from my story, like the finished product is a little less mine. I know 'it takes a village to write a book', but when that village was just little me, at the very beginning, during my 'creation' phase, before I even switched the lights on, I'd named it. Because, how could I not?

I probably kid myself that the working title was "Last Dance of the Doll Maker", because any reference I made to it was only ever with the two words "Doll Maker" as I understood the full thing was a bit of a mouthful. And who really wants the entire cover of their romance novel eaten up by the words in the title, especially when two of those are 'of' and 'the'?

Before I introduce the new title to you, I just wanted to give my explanation of the old one because, truly, it is a very bizarre choice for a romance book, when I think about it.

It wasn't about a literal last dance. It was a comment on an old man's choreography with regard to pairing the main couple in the book, and his machinations in breaking them both free of their pasts. 

And if that sounds at all interesting to you, please read the book - the content hasn't changed. 

So, with a modest fanfare, and enthusiastic waving of flags, the new title is:

Her Dollmaker's Desire

Leave a comment and let me know what you think of the new title. Or have you ever had a title change? What was your old title?

 (Please be aware the new title does not refer to the afore mentioned old man. :-D)

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Happy Book Birthday, Starla Kaye!

Today, author Starla Kaye kicks off her celebratory blog tour of the publication of her book, "For Ruby's Love", at the Decadent Publishing blog.

You can follow Starla's tour over the next couple of weeks at the following blogs:

Jan 20 - Decadent Publishing blog - Buck up, cowboy, Ruby's here! - For Ruby's Love release (with contest)
Jan 21 - Vicki Ballante blog - Who exactly is Starla Kaye? interview - For Ruby's Love
Jan 21 - Lea Bronsen blog - Character interview - For Ruby's Love (with contest)
Jan 22 - Nana Prah blog - Book spotlight on For Ruby's Love
Jan 22 - Jennah Scott blog - 1 cowboy + 1 CEO + 1 cowgirl - For Ruby's Love (with contest)
Jan 26 - Krista Ames blog - Character thoughts on love and romance-For Ruby's Love
Jan 27 - London Saint James blog - Book spotlight on For Ruby's Love
Jan 28 - Jessica E Subject blogBook spotlight on For Ruby's Love (with contest)
Jan 29 - Gina Wynn blog - Men!- For Ruby's Love (with contest)
Jan 31 - Landra Graf blog - Character interview - For Ruby's Love
Feb 2 - Tara Quan blog - Writing tip - For Ruby's Love
Feb 3 - V S Morgan blog - Book spotlight For Ruby's Love
Feb 6 - C R Moss blog - Interview-For Ruby's Love
Feb 9 - Mary Quast blog - Book spotlight For Ruby's Love
Feb 10 - Eva LeFoy blog - Book spotlight For Ruby's Love

As you can see, Starla will be back on my blog on January 29th with a contest, so do come back then for a chance of winning, and for finding out even more about her book and characters. 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Ermahgerd! Mah Werds!

For just over a week, I have been taking a leisurely wallow in the quicksand way at the back of my editing cave.  It is so easy to get sucked in to revising, editing, and - my personal favourite - tweaking.

I have been revising and flinging bad, bad words from my under-contract story (title tbc) like a crazy woman. CRAZY, I tell you! And it's a vicious circle. The more words I removed, the more I needed to remove or add in to keep my original meaning. I also began to question myself. On my hunt to irradicate 'ly' words (adverbs are baaaaaad!) I started to question myself and the things I thought I knew, like: is 'initially' a bad word, or is it just a word with the misfortune to end in 'ly'?

I dreamt in words I shouldn't taint my document with. My biggest crime ended up being gratuitous over-use of the word 'just', I think. But I second place might have been 'so'. Of course, there will always be the trio of mischief 'that', 'had', 'was' - and they are tricky to work out. A lot of times, the sentence can read okay without 'had' or 'that', but what if it doesn't? And what if I accidentally alter the tense of my sentence? How far did I plan to go to replace them? Rewrite whole sentences? Paragraphs?

It would be a lie to say seeing so many errors or highlights didn't prickle just a little - but not necessarily because I thought every word out of my fingers was already perfect. More because I couldn't believe I sent it away in such an rough state. A rude awakening in some respects, but a fantastic opportunity to dive back in with my red pen at the ready.

I have finished my first batch of edits a little wiser, though, I hope, and I know how to do better self editing, now, too. Before I submit anything anywhere ever again (she says) I will hunt for the following (and this is not an exhaustive list, by any means):



adverbs - do I need them, or do I like them?

filtering - heard, looked, etc.

Also, word repeats. Some scenes are trickier than others. I find any scenes with hands tricky - there aren't many synonyms for hands, and I also find any scenes that talk about mouths or lips difficult as those are usually the only two words that make sense there, too.

I'm also on Decadent Publishing's Beyond Fairytales Blog today, so please do go and visit me there, as well.

Monday, 5 January 2015

All Play and No Work

I'll be honest, I slacked off a lot over Christmas. Not as much writing happened as possibly should have done. When I look at my WiPs, they're really starting to pile up.

And I have a story that I've started... and really want to write, but just can't get motivated to write it. Well, I can - but mostly when I absolutely should be doing something else, instead. By the time I'm able to write, rather than chasing my children around the house with the vacuum cleaner, or preparing for feeding time at the zoo, the ideas feel a little stale, and I'm tired and it's a slog rather than a pleasure - or a stolen guilty (but productive) moment.

I try to get around this feeling of writing being a chore by building a a playlist for each story as I work on it. I don't go out looking for songs, I just make a note of the ones that seem to fit if I hear them playing, or if I get them as an ear worm. Then, if I need to get in the mood to write the story, or get back into the mindset of the characters, I just play the songs. Sounds simple, right?

For my current WiP (title-less, and only about 3.5K in since new year), I have a playlist that is slowly shaping up as follows:

Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud
James Morrison - You Give Me Something
Chris Isaac - Wicked Game
Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
Elvis Presley - I Can't Help Falling in Love with You
Lo Fang - You're the One that I Want

I'm sure I'll add to it as I hear more songs that bring to mind the characters and/or events - especially as the characters develop their personalities and I get further along in my word count. I have notes and bits of snippets written down, too, so those song titles aren't just as a result of a tiny word count. :-)

Friday, 2 January 2015

Ring in the Changes

It's 2nd January 2015, and all ready my mind is teeming with changes. First change, the Christmas decorations need to come down this weekend, and the knock on effect of this will (hopefully) be a tidy house for the first time since.... oh, it feels like forever since I displaced everything to begin December.

The children return to school on Monday, so that is another big change around the house. The break they have over Christmas is unlike any other. The biggest thing is they're both so occupied with everything that's going on, they barely have time to be bored. They've adjusted their sleeping habits, too, so we get to lie in past 6:30 most days. I've enjoyed having them at home, so I'm not pushing them out of the door back to school, like I do at the end of most breaks.

I've started a new story (about 3500 words since New Year's Eve) and the shift in mindset from the last one can be quite dramatic. Especially given that I'll need to switch backwards and forwards when I edit the old one ready for publication, but continue to write this one. That will be a new skill to acquire.

The change to published author is one I'm looking forward to! Hopefully, it's the first of many titles good enough for publication. I'll certainly work hard to make it that way. With a new story comes different music and a fresh playlist of songs that sparks inspiration, ideas, and 'feel' of the characters involved.

Another change coming up is a change in title for my book. The title I've been working to (almost since the day I started) is "Last Dance of the Doll Maker" but I wrote a lot of book after that and the title may not necessarily reflect it, so it's to be reconsidered.