Category Archives: Random Musings

#Writing Authentic Characters: Spying for a Cause!

ExposingEllen_highres~ This POST was originally published on The Decadent 1Night Stand blog ~

As an author, one of my goals is to make my characters as human as possible. That means spending a good amount of time studying how people talk and behave “in the wild”. While I do need to often turn off my Steve Irwin voice while people-watching, I try to fit in these five research activities as often as possible:

  1. Watching shows like Justified and Lie to Me: The writers for Justified have an amazing ear for authentic dialogue. Watching that show is like a full hour of studying the use of timing and pauses and snappy verbal exchanges. Lie to Me is a brilliant complement, as it’s all about body language and what microexpressions and movements people make when they’re subconsciously thinking about something.
  2. Observing couples at an amusement park: There’s something about long lines and crowds that bring out the best—or worst—in a couple. Watching a pair in love interact under such “strenuous” circumstances is wonderful fodder for how couples fight.
  3. Studying couples on dates: One of the only reasons I enjoy going out on traditional date nights (I’d much rather spend Friday and Saturday lounging at home!) is to watch other couples in their best romantic light. Do they sit on the same side of the booth? Do they fight under the strain of having a “perfect” evening? Who orders the food? If amusement parks bring out the worst in couples, a date displays them on their best behavior.
  4. Reading magazines outside my interests: Writing a young, brilliant billionaire? You know he reads Forbes. Dark, brooding hero has a fast car? Pick up Car and Driver. In 30 minutes, you can snag enough knowledge to make small character details authentic. I particularly love fawning over the expensive men’s clothing and accessories in GQ.
  5. Listening to everyday conversations: If you catch me out at a coffee shop, I’m usually in the corner with my headphones on. Most of the time, I’m listening to music and writing. The rest…well, people have the illusion of privacy in coffee shops, and will talk about everyday things. This is an amazing way of listening to verbal cadences, studying when full sentences are used versus sentence fragments, and the way questions are answered in real life (i.e. not always directly).  This is also a great place to pick up casual tics, like gesturing with a coffee cup, smoothing out eyebrows, and fiddling with purse straps.

So next time you see your author sitting in the corner being antisocial, just remember—she’s not a misanthrope, she’s a spy!

#OrangeCounty writing workshop with Michael Hauge. Register now with @occrwa!


During this special, all-day seminar, Hollywood script and story consultant Michael Hauge, best-selling author of Writing Screenplays That Sell and Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read, will give you his unique approach to creating compelling screenplays and novels, and to eliciting emotion in your readers through story concept, plot structure, character development and theme. Michael will then reveal his proven method for getting the people in power to read your screenplay or manuscript.

Topics covered will include:

  • The primary goal of all story
  • The power of desire, need, longing and destiny
  • The essential conflict all characters must face
  • Turning plot structure from a complicated concept into a simple, powerful tool you can easily apply to every story
  • The single key to creating character arc and theme
  • Creating unique, believable and fulfilling love stories
  • Adapting a novel into film
  • The single biggest mistake writers make in pitching their work
  • The eight steps to a powerful pitch

If you want to elevate your writing to the highest possible level, this event is a must.

For more information and to register, click here


Cover Reveal: @TaraLain’s Wolf in Gucci Loafers

Wolf in Gucci Loafers 
(Tales of the Harker Pack #2)
by Tara Lain
Socialite Lindsey Vanessen wants someone to love who will love him back — an impossibility for a gay, half-human, half-werewolf. Too aggressive for humans, too gay for wolves, and needing to protect the pack from human discovery, Lindsey tries to content himself with life as a successful businessman. But when someone starts kidnapping members of wealthy families, Lindsey meets tough cop Seth Zakowsy—the hunky embodiment of everything Lindsey wants but can’t have.
Seth has never been attracted to flamboyant men. What would the guys in the department think of Lindsey? But intrigue turns to lust when he discovers Lindsey’s biting, snarling passion more than matches his dominant side. It might mean a chance at love for a cop in black leather and a wolf in Gucci loafers.
Release Date:
April 16, 2014
Available for Pre-Order on 
March 17, 2014

 “Lindsey, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing, sir. I’m doing well.”

“Come talk to me.” His grandfather turned
and walked into the living room.

Did he want to talk? He’d have to be careful, but yes. Pop-Pop was a smart man. He walked down the stairs and into the large, comfortable room. His grandfather sat on a love seat at one end of the room, so he took the identical seat across from him. He leaned back and crossed his legs. Look relaxed.

Pop-Pop sat forward. “Romantic troubles?”

The old man had a way of diving to the truth. “Not exactly.”

“I heard you had a date with the Westerberg son. Your mother’s doing, I believe.” The old man could have been talking about a date with a girl, he was so comfortable with it.

“Yes, sir.”

“Did you like him?”

“Well enough.”

“Ah, so he’s not the issue.”

Lindsey grinned. His grandfather was enjoying the guessing game.

“So if it’s not exactly romantic troubles, what exactly is it?”

“I guess you could call it unrequited romantic interest.”

He rubbed his hands together. “Now this is interesting. I’ve seen you with many men over the years since you returned from school, but none of them lasted more than a few dates, and none of them ever sparked
what I would call romantic interest. How odd that you should affix your affection on one who 
doesn’t care about you. Have you considered it might be a form of self-protection? Only wanting the ones you can’t have has a way of keeping you single.”

Lindsey grinned. “I guess that’s possible sometimes, but not in this case. He’s just highly inappropriate. A tough cop I met while helping Dave with the kidnapping issue. Dave asked if I would take him to the polo match to give him a chance to investigate among people we know without being too obvious. So I did it.” Lindsey shrugged.

“And got caught in your own trap.”

He smiled, but it hurt around the edges. “Yes, I guess. I found him attractive from the start but assumed he was straight, so it was just a harmless flirtation. After the match, I found out he’s gay, so that made the vast expanse between us more real.”

Pop-Pop frowned. “It’s not like you to discriminate based on class.”

“Nothing like that, sir. He’s the one discriminating, I’m sure. I’m simply not at all his type. A bit too lavender silk for his black leather, shall we say.”

His grandfather steepled his fingers and stared over them. “You’re not just one thing, Lindsey. I’ve know many men in my life and you’re one of the very best. Smart, decisive, action-oriented, kind, and basically good. Unlike your father, I might add. You need a man who sees that. But you’ve got good judgment, so if you think this cop is romance-worthy, then my bet is there’s something there worth pursuing. Ride him down, son!” He laughed that big robust sound that had comforted Lindsey since the day he was born.

About the Author
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best­selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

You can find Tara at

Presented By

Four truths and a secret about #MyWritingProcess

Thank you Sabrina Sol for including me in this blog tour!

1) What am I working on? Right now, I’m dividing my writing time between two projects. The first is another novella in the Maison Domine series, featuring Evan and Ellie–two characters you meet in Surrender to Fire. The second is a super secret project that I’m working on with a writing buddy. We’ll share details as things get moving!

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? Each book, I want to do something that not only makes me uncomfortable (trying out a new plot device, writing a character who is challenging, setting a book in a new location) but something that pushes the reader to think differently about love and sexuality–whether its writing lesbian love or wax play.
3) Why do I write what I do? I write romance because love is beautiful and every story I read or write lets me fall in love all over again–and reminds me just how lucky I am to have found my One. I write delicious, dirty erotic romance because sex is beautiful, too. It’s a very physical expression not just of how much we love each other, but of how much we value our own pleasure.

(/steps onto  soap box) We should not be ashamed of our bodies or our desires–so long as they’re not dangerous and are consensual–and for too long sexuality, especially female or fringe, has been cast in a negative light. Erotic romance is my small way of pushing back against those ridiculous cultural norms (/jumps off soap box)

4) How does your writing process work? I spend a looooong time mulling over the characters and plot. When I get a new idea, I sketch out what I think will be the three turning points. I’ll write down basics about the characters–names, what they look like, their careers, maybe their favorite musical artists or where they grew up. Then I let it stew. Over the next days or weeks, the story grows in complexity as the backstories and goal/motivation/conflict of my characters interweaves for maximum conflict and emotional impact.

For a long time, I was a pantser, but thinking about it now gives me anxiety! I like knowing more about my characters and direction before I write. Usually, after the first big chunk of the book (Act I, most often) I tweak my plan and write the next chunk. So while I don’t always stick to the initial roadmap, it’s nice having it to fall back on in case of writer’s block. It’s hard to not know what to write if you have a plan for what’s happening next!

Don’t forget to visit Kate Davies next week in the My Writing Process blog tour!

Where in the world is Skylar Kade this week? On a blog tour!

I’m hosting a big giveaway for the release of Surrender to Fire. Winners will receive a $50 Amazon gift card and $30 Stockroom gift card! Increase your chances of winning by visiting these tour stops:

Tara Lain

Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

Rachel Leigh

We Love Kink

Harlie’s Books





5 Pervertibles from Damien Winter

SurrenderToFire72lgMeet Damien Winter, Dominant and hero of Surrender to Fire (coming Feb 18 from Samhain Publishing). Like all good Doms, he’s got a wickedly creative mind. He was kind enough to stop by the blog today and give me his 5 favorite pervertibles.

“What’s that?” you ask?

Damien, evil Dom grin on his face, explains: “A pervertible is something incredibly innocent that can be used in naughty ways in the bedroom–or wherever you decide to play.”

Damien Winter’s 5 Favorite Pervertibles

1. Ice: As I taught Camille [Skylar: she’s the submissive who gives Damien a run for his money in Surrender to Fire], ice is for more than cooling your drinks. It can soothe bruised muscles, tease skin, and “torture” a sub when you’ve commanded her to stay still.

2. Novena candles: go for the white wax and you ARE going to research and practice on yourself first. But once you know what you’re doing, wax play is a cheap (messy though!) and fun part of your toy bag.

3. Tangerines: indulge all her senses. A blindfolded and bound sub is expecting impact play, not a juicy, tangy slice of citrus.putty knife

4. Putty knife: Cool the blade. Warm the blade. Drag the edge along her skin (be careful of the sharpness of the blade!). Smack her skin. This is a versatile tool for a creative Top.

5. Chains: anything metallic that can absorb hot/cold can be used in devious ways. For example, chill links in cold or hot water (test the chain’s temperature on your own skin first), then drape across a sub’s back.

I do feel obligated to include a caveat with all of this. Aside from the usual “Safe, sane, consensual” mandate that accompanies ALL kink play, you must research and practice (on yourself) and/or be trained by a more experienced player before trying something new. The least sexy thing in a scene is injury.

One scorching-hot lesson could leave her begging for more.

The Maison Chronicles, Book 3

Reeling from the double whammy of her Dom’s abandonment, and accusations of colluding with a plagiarizing author, all literary agent Camille Winter wants is some low-profile, drama-free quality time.

Just as she’s settling into a Maison Domine cabin with her to-be-read pile and a full slate of spa appointments, she finds herself sweet talked into playing topless assistant so some Dominant can run a BDSM educational demo.

Architect Damien Winter is on a relationship hiatus, so he focuses his dominant energies on teaching BDSM classes. A chance encounter in Maison’s parking lot with a woman who angrily insists she’s no sub—though every line of her body screams otherwise—turns shocking when she winds up as temporary replacement for his demonstration partner.

Damien is unprepared for the way her beautiful submission gets under his skin. And Camille never thought she’d fall, hard, for just the kind of man she’s sworn off. But when her ex’s vague threats turn serious, Damien fears he’s already lost the chance to claim her for his own.

Product Warnings

This book contains a fiery woman burned one too many times and the Dom who entices her to submit to the heat between them.

Writing Wednesday: Maison Domine updates

ImageSurrender to Fire, the 3rd book in The Maison Chronicles, comes out next Tuesday. I’m excited to return to the world of Maison Domine and can’t wait for you to meet Camille and Damien.

I’m also working on the next book in the series, featuring two characters you’ll briefly meet in Surrender to Fire. Not to be a tease, but here’s a little excerpt:

She shook against him. Damn it, he could be a grouch to this woman in the office and she’d just give a sweet smile back, but one moment of empathy and she broke down.

 A laugh burst from her, then another, until she was cracking up in his arms. Letting him go, she patted him on the chest. “Thanks. That was exactly what I needed.”

 Now he was confused and aroused. Rule #1: Don’t fuck the staff.

 Right now, though, he was tempted to change that to Rule #1: Fuck the rules. He had less than seven hours to get his head on straight before Los Angeles, because he’d never hear the end of it from Damien if he caught on.