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Hidden Diversions

Romance Lives Forever welcomes
Selena Illyria to the blog for an article on writing and writer’s block. This article
could have come from my own heart – after reading it, I felt I knew my friend Selena
much better. If you’re a writer, you owe it to yourself to read this. If you’re
a reader, this might make you appreciate writers a little bit more.
I’ve been
meaning to write this blog for quite some time but something or other always came
up. Over the past few months I’ve been having computer issues so that didn’t help.
Those issues made both editing and writing difficult. I was in panic mode during
those times; it was a fight to get in every edit or finish a sentence. After I turned
in my edits, which was a relief, I still had a book to finish but soon it became
evident that my old laptop wasn’t up to the task. Recently, I was able to get a
new laptop that would allow me to continue with writing and other things, which
was a relief. That sentiment didn’t last long.
As I waded
back into the world of writing it became clear that I was in trouble. For weeks
I’d been going around in manic mode to get things done. And once my edits were done,
I started to seep into depression with every day that I didn’t get to write or I
didn’t get to write enough. That depression turned to anger and stress. I became
mired in frustration at my inability to get anything done. I thought that getting
a new computer would help with all those emotions. It didn’t.
Now I
was in a new form of hell. One where every word was like pulling teeth or mucking
through molasses. No word was right or enough. I found myself falling backward into
old bad habits that I’d been trying to break after my burnout a year before. I became
angry at myself, frustrated that it wasn’t as easy at it once was. That my mind,
fingers and brain didn’t seem to want to cooperate or work with each other like
they used to. Even though I knew I couldn’t go back, I still wanted to recapture
that hubristic little shit that I was when I first started. When you finish your
first book and get it published you’re on a high. You can do anything, write anything.
Book after book can pour out of you like water. Phrases like writer’s block or burnout
don’t even apply. They’re like distant lands you’ll never visit and have no intention
of stopping in, not even for a moment. Those two things would never happen to you,
because you’re kick-ass, you’re made of so much awesome sauce that it comes out
of your pores.
Yeah right.
Then they both come and you get your ass handed to you, even if it’s temporary or
lasts longer than a week or month. The first time burnout happened to me, I needed
a few weeks to recover. Then those periods lasted longer and longer until it seem
never-ending. Now, I find myself in a new kind of Hades, one where I can finally
write but the words aren’t coming. Everything I put down sucks and my internal editor
is playing kickball with every sentence, comma, and my confidence.
The one
thing you never truly understand until you become a writer is that it’s truly a
solitary career. No one else can write what you write. Your editors can clean up
your work, improve your voice, and your publishers can put out your books, but in
the end, they can’t write them for you. They don’t have your voice or vision or
phrasing. You can write with a partner but you still have to pull your own weight.
And none of those people can give you confidence when you fall down or start to
wonder how you could ever have gotten published in the first place. Things get doubled
or tripled if you have people in your life that question why you write or make you
feel like crap because you don’t have “a real job.”
much wallowing, hiding in reading “comfort books” and pretending that
I’d get to writing the next day, eventually I had to stop hiding. So, I opened my
story and got back to work. Unfortunately I’d ended with a sex scene. Nothing says
sexy like depression. *rolls eyes* And that’s when the self-doubt and self-hatred
started. Writing the sex scene was painful and I’m still not done with it. Nothing
about it screamed emotional or enticing. I had to stop before I sabotaged myself,
but I still had to write. So, I put away that story, for now, to try a palate cleanser,
to write something that wasn’t contracted and something that wasn’t paranormal (which
the other story was). It wasn’t perfect, if an editor saw it there would be lots
of knuckle wrapping and tsk, tsk, tsking, but in the end I’d written something,
anything and it was pretty good. I had accomplished something.
from all the pain, heartache, self-doubt, frustration, writer’s block, and writer’s
fear will take time, and baby steps. But in the end I am a writer and damn it, this
is what I’m meant to do. Even if it is painful, it’s my job and I love it even if
it can be a pain in the ass at times. Also, I know that I’ll make it through this
patch because I’m surrounded by awesome people. One more thing: I’m stubborn.
For more information about
Selena’s latest release:
Their passion may be the
death of them…
Werewolf Chief of Police
Torger, is running into walls while tracking the Draven’s Crossing serial killer.
No matter what he tries to do, he can’t find the clues needed to stop the terror
that stalks the streets of his city. Things aren’t helped by his attraction to the
dragon shifter and Draven City News Reporter, Isadora Jones. With political pressure
and bodies mounting, can he get through all these distractions and find the truth
before it’s too late?
Reporter Isadora Jones wants
to help with the investigation into the serial killer but Torger refuses to let
her. She decides to do it on her own, but her world goes upside down when the killer
sets his sights on her. Under Torger’s protection, they start to put the pieces
together but will it be too late for them?
Things go from bad
to worse when another killer appears. Draven’s Crossing just got a whole lot more
Buy Links:
Purple Sword Publications:
Barnes and Noble
Death of Anyone

Romance Lives Forever welcomes DJ Swykert to the blog.
Here’s his article about writing The Death of Anyone.
The underlying theme in my latest
book, The Death of Anyone, poses the Machiavellian question: Does the end justify
the means? I developed this story around an impulsive homicide detective, Bonnie
Benham, who wants to use Familial DNA, a search technique not in common use in the
United States.
Only two states even have a written policy regarding its use, Colorado
and California.
Bonnie is a no nonsense cop who describes
herself as a blond with a badge and a gun. She has her own answer to the ethical
use of Familial DNA, but the actual legality of its use will be determined in a
real life courtroom in the California
trial of a serial killer dubbed by the media: The Grim Sleeper.
Lonnie David Franklin, the Grim Sleeper,
was caught because his son’s DNA was the closest match to DNA collected at the crime
scenes in the database. Investigating Franklin’s
son led them to investigate Lonnie Franklin. But there was no direct DNA evidence
that linked Lonnie to the crime scene until they obtained a sample from him after
his arrest. Lonnie Franklin will be the first person in the U.S. to ever stand
trial based on Familial DNA evidence, and its admissibility issues in court will
be thoroughly tested by defense attorneys. These are the very same issues that face
Detroit Homicide Detective Bonnie Benham and form the plot of my story.
I’m a blue collar person from Detroit. I’ve worked as a truck
driver, dispatcher, logistics analyst, operations manager, and ten years as a 911
operator, which was the very best job of them all. I have a pretty straight forward
style of telling a story. I write a book like you’d watch a movie and put it down
on paper.
Detroit Detective Bonnie Benham has
been transferred from narcotics to homicide for using more than arresting and is
working the case of a killer of adolescent girls. CSI collects DNA evidence from
the scene of the latest victim, which had not been detected on the other victims.
But no suspect turns up in the FBI database. Due to the notoriety of the crimes
a task force is put together with Bonnie as the lead detective, and she implores
the D.A. to use an as yet unapproved type of a DNA Search in an effort to identify
the killer. Homicide Detective Neil Jensen, with his own history of drug and alcohol
problems understands Bonnie’s frailty and the two detectives become inseparable
as they track this killer of children.
I first heard about the use of Familial
DNA working as a 911 operator in 2006. It came up in a conversation with officers
working a case. I thought at the time it would make an interesting premise for a
book. I began writing the mystery some three years later after leaving the department.
I had just finished editing a first draft of The Death of Anyone in the summer 2010
when news of The Grim Sleeper’s capture in Los Angeles was released. I read with interest
all the information pouring out of L.A.
regarding the investigation and the problems confronting prosecutors. All of which
are explored in The Death of Anyone.
DJ Swykert

About the Author

DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in
The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Zodiac Review, Scissors& Spackle,
Spittoon, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, a novel
from Cambridge
Books; Alpha Wolves, a novel from Noble Publishing, and The Death
of Anyone is his third novel, just released by Melange Books. You can find out more
about him and how to buy his books on the blogspot:, they
are also available at Melange Books, Amazon and at select mystery bookstores. He
is a wolf expert.
Buy links

Previous Books

Maggie Elizabeth Harrington (also titled as The Place Between.)
(I Live in Two Worlds)
Children of the Enemy

Find Me Here

Today’s article is “Punching a Hole in the Literary
Universe” by Margie Church.

Thanks for hosting me today, Kayelle. As a marketing
professional, I really appreciate your approach to book marketing. A lot of
authors don’t realize that the moment they sign their book contract (or
self-pub their book), that they have opened a small business. For the majority
of us, the lion’s share of the promotional work falls on our own shoulders.
Often, we’re really unprepared for this to happen. Even those of us with a
significant back list know that we cannot rely on past accomplishments to
ensure our future success.
Here’s a key sentence to remember:  Plan for success.
What does that mean? You need to create a little marketing
plan for your new book to give it the best possible chances of success. Here
are 10 tips to help you.

  • Write a solid blurb, no more than 200 words long, to attract
  • Have a 25-30 word version of the blurb ready for Twitter and
    casual conversations about the book.
  • Put your web/blog/buy links on everything.
  • Hunt for readers in your genre. Conventional thinking is to
    just sign up for a whole bunch of blogs, give away amazing prizes, and wait for
    success. Don’t count on that. Readers are getting very fed up with having our
    books and promotions shoved down their throats. Choose your blog locations
    carefully. Match those blogs to your genre. Write short, punchy pieces that
    engage readers – remember, they’re choosing to spend time on you – don’t waste
    that chance!
  • I don’t recommend giving away huge prizes if you haven’t
    squirreled away the royalties from previous months to pay for them. I always determine
    how many books I must sell to recoup the cost of my prize AND make a profit. I
    also don’t like giving away gift cards that allow readers to buy books that
    aren’t mine. I prefer to give prizes unique to me and my work so they will
    remember me. This is a business.
  • Don’t pay for reviews. Consider how many books you’ll need
    to sell to recover the cost, and be honestly prepared to suck it up if you get
    a less favorable review. Keep reviews current on your website, with hyperlinks
    to the full source. Always cite the reviewer.
  • Insert a hyperlink from your book cover to the buy link.
  • Consider an ad, but recognize that ads are passive forms of
    advertising. Pick your

    Desire’s Edge.

    location to match the audience you’re seeking. I don’t
    always follow the crowd. If I have a spectacular cover, and the chance to
    caption that cover or link it to more information, those get stronger purchase consideration
    from me.

  • Be available. If you post in yahoo loops, Facebook groups,
    have a fan page, hold a blog hop, etc., show up to say hello and respond to
    comments even a day or two after your appearance. Spread your announcements out
    to avoid a morning flood that disappears by evening when many people might have
    more time to focus on social media. Twitter is a very valuable tool to help
    share your information globally. Please don’t forget to thank your blog hosts!
  • Realize this activity is ongoing. It takes time, patience,
    and hard work to build a readership.

My newest book, Love’s Storm, is co-authored with K.B.
Cutter. We used several fun tools to help us reach readers and increase
excitement for the entire series. Those included creating a QR code to our Facebookseries fan page, and partnering with a company to feature their product as
a give-away item as part of a very sexy prize package. We also did a blog talk
radio interview. There are lots of other things we did and will do through the
end of May.
Get creative, stay focused, and keep track of your results
so you know what worked and what didn’t. I bet you’ll see some great sales
numbers, too.
I’d love to show off our new book now!

About the Books

Razor: Love’s Storm by Margie Church and K.B. Cutter
Their delicious, naughty secret is out, and it’s open season
on Amy and Bryce’s decision to add a third person to their marriage.
All the talking in the world can’t convince critics that Amy
and Bryce’s marriage is rock-solid, and there are no secrets between them.
Others meddle to undermine Bryce’s business and marriage. Even Raine’s Master
thinks she’s making a huge mistake.
With no allies, and scorn coming from every direction, love
and determination must lead Amy, Bryce, and Raine through love’s storm.
Their journey began in Razor: Desire’s Edge and continues
after Love’s Storm in Love’s Reflection.
Margie Church
Love’s Storm is the second book in the Razor trilogy. It’s a
polyamorous love story written for 21st century romance readers. We hope you’ll
find the premise fascinating and take a chance on this book. You won’t be
disappointed. It contains strong BDSM elements and plenty of erotic love scenes,
but at its core, Love’s Storm is a marvelous romance.
Available in eBook and print, get Love’s Storm at Amazon
and Barnesand Noble Get Desire’s Edge, the first book in the series, at Amazon
and Barnesand Noble Learn more about our amazing RazorRomances Booty giveaway here.

Find Me Here

Today’s featured book is Surrounded by Roses by Nicole Morgan.
After years of working on submarines and loving what he does,
a training exercise goes horribly wrong. Suffering from the loss of his best friend,
Trevor Purlington comes home to try and get past the demons which keep him awake
at night.
Emily Dennis spends her days working as a nurse and her nights
anticipating correspondence from her deployed submariner boyfriend. The last thing
she expected was to find him at home waiting for her after a long shift at the clinic
where she works. After being apart for so long, she was ecstatic to finally have
him home.
Trevor came home to Emily a different man, one who was starting
to overshadow the man she once knew. Overwhelmed and confused, she refuses to give
up on the man that she loves and vows to do whatever it takes to knock down his
walls and bring back the Trevor she once knew.
Buy link:

Find Me Here

Legally Undercover

Rachel Kall, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let’s talk about
your book, Legally Undercover.

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Entranced Publishing
Cover artist: Suzannah Safi
Length: 78,500
Heat rating: Sensual
Tagline: An ambitious lawyer’s quest for partnership is threatened
by a top secret government investigation and the mysterious man invading her heart.
Blurb: Attorney Alex Popov’s dream of partnership is put to the
test when she’s pulled into a top-secret investigation involving arms dealers and
one of her clients, Rodrigues Capital. The only good part about her association
with the secretive organization is her client contact, Pedro Martín. She’s drawn
to him, but he’s hiding something.
When Jacob shows up as a new attorney at Alex’s firm, it’s clear
Pedro isn’t the only one with secrets. As Alex tries to determine Jacob’s true identity,
she’s drawn closer to Pedro and deeper into the mystery of Rodrigues Capital and
its shadowy networks.
Everyone has an agenda. In a world of lies, where no one is what
they seem, Alex puts everything — even her dreams of partnership — on the line for
Buy links:
What are your main characters’ names, ages, and occupations?
Alex Popov is a thirty
two year old attorney
Pedro Martín is a thirty five year told businessman.


What is the most important thing you do for your career now,
as compared to when you first started writing?
Constantly working on
craft. When I first started, I really had no sense of what it took to write a book.
Now I’m constantly trying to learn more about craft.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love the sense of fulfillment
I get from writing. When I write, I’m not focused on anything else but the story
and being transported to another place.
What is your work ethic when it comes to writing?
I believe hard work is the key to success in writing and in any
other endeavor. Discipline and time management are key to making it work as a writer.
How do you cope with stress as an author?
I enjoy writing so much that so far I haven’t felt much stress.
If anything I write as a mechanism to de-stress.
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
All of my characters are purely fictional—except for the furry
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your
own writing?
Romantic suspense if
my favorite genre. I believe that to write in a genre you really need to read in
it. I also really enjoy contemporary romance.
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only
one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview.
What will you take with you and where will you go?
I think Grand Cayman is the most amazing place on earth. I’d pack
light—as long as I have bathing suits, my Kindle, and laptop, that’s all I’d need.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
I love Christmas. I have
so many fond childhood memories of that holiday. I believe it’s better to give than
to receive, and the Christmas season really embodies that for me.
What good book have you read recently?
I read all the time, so it’s hard to limit it to one. But I loved
The Marshal’s Witness by Lena Diaz.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
Please underline which statement is more like you:
I am a vacation spa because I am laid back and relaxed.”
“I am a ten-countries in ten-days tour vacation, because
I do things as fast as possible.”

Please complete the sentences

I love pizza with pineapples.
I’m always ready for a long walk with my dogs.
When I’m alone, I belt out tunes.
You’d never be able to tell, but I’m a bit of a comedian.
If I had a halo it would be sparkly.
If I could be a cat for a day I’d love it_
I can never jump out of a plane because I’m too much
of a wimp.

Find Me Here


Loving Leonardo
Loving Leonardo – The Quest

Rose Anderson, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. We’re excited to interview
your character, Nicolas Halstead from the book, Loving Leonardo – The Quest

Genre: Erotic Romance/Historical m/m/f
Publisher: Calliope’s Writing Tablet
Cover artist: Kim Van Meter
Length: Approximately 200 pages
Heat rating: R
Tagline: Love transcends all barriers.
Never in his wildest imaginings as an art historian, could Nicolas Halstead conceive the book Leonardo
da Vinci created for his lover Salai existed, let alone lead to the discovery of hidden declarations of love worked into da Vinci masterpieces.
Happy and content in their polyamorous relationship, Nicolas, Ellie and Luca embark on a quest to learn all they can about the greatest mind of
the Renaissance. But their world takes a devastating and deadly turn that sends Nicolas into the deviant underworld of Victorian London. It becomes clear that Conte Acario Bruno lives, and the madman wants far more than Leonardo’s book. He desires Nicolas’ death, and Luca for himself.
What are your main characters’ names, ages, and occupations? 
Nicolas Halstead 11th Earl of Halstead: 31 years old. House of Lords, Art Historian for the famed Ashmolean
Museum. He acquires and manages her Majesty’s art collections.
Elenora Schwaab Halstead: 24 years old. The new Lady Halstead. Student of philosophy, Suffragette, and American Progressive. Daughter of the American Consul to her Majesty Queen Victoria.
Luca Franco: 32 years old. The new Professor of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum. Son of a Venetian merchant. Head of the Franco family. He acquires items of history to add to the vast museum collections.

Interview with Nicolas Halstead

Tell us about yourself.
Nicolas seated himself
and crossed his legs comfortably before him. “Well, let me see…My name is Nicolas
Halstead, 11th Earl of Halstead.
I’ve assumed my deceased father’s seat in House of Lords. Though my travels puts
me hardly ever there. As a young man I was educated at Eaton, and then finished
my art history education at Oxford.
From there I did my internship at the Ashmolean, where I recently became a fellow.
It falls to me to add to her Majesty’s collections of state, and to do so, I acquire
artworks from private holdings and collections.
I’m an exceedingly private
person. To maintain that desired privacy, I live in London, away from the family estate. Mrs. Fletcher,
my housekeeper, looks after me and has since the accident that killed my parents.
My grandmother, Lady Augusta Halstead did me immeasurable kindness when she gave
me over to her trusted servant’s care all those years ago. She has no idea of the
bond between Mrs. Fletcher and me, or what we truly share. You see, my Grandmother
comes from a time of little deviation from the path society placed before you. The
old dear would come undone in knowing the truth of me.”
Nicolas’ lips twitch.
“Until recently, I lived a quiet, somewhat content, life.”
Tell us about Ellie and Luca.
The twitch transformed into a wide smile. “I’ll assume by the question, you
are aware of my nature. Therefore, to phrase it simply, we three are lovers and
I love them. It’s trite to say,
but we complete one another in ways we hardly realized were incomplete. Through them, I’ve discovered and accepted myself.
Were I to describe my new wife, I’d say she’s unlike anyone, male or female,
of my acquaintance. Bold as brass in speaking plainly…in attitude and affections
as well. She’s a suffragette, a progressive in the truest sense. If any woman deserved
the vote it would be she. Her mind is extraordinary, her heart fiercely loving and
protective. She’s American, you know. In general, Americans reminded me of impressionist artists.
The Impressionists violated the rules of academic painting, and Americans violate
the rules of conventionality. As a student of nuance, I very much like her. That
on top of the love I feel. I consider Ellie
to be a true partner in life and love.
Luca? He and I are cut
from the same cloth in our interests and we share compatible views. I see Luca as
one of the world’s purest souls. He’s kind and sensitive, loving and thoughtful.
And I’ll add to that — he’s compassionate and self-sacrificing to a fault. Luca
is also bold and brave, far braver than I. He’s been through a lot in the last ten
years. Were I able, I’d take the heartache onto myself to free him of it. I know
he would do the same for me. He’s a man anyone would be proud to know, let alone

What do you think is your strongest point?

“Modesty?” He laughed.
“How does one consider their strongest attributes without sounding conceited? Let’s
see…I’m a loyal friend and devoted to those I love. I have empathy. Consequently,
the unfortunate and hungry souls in Rome
laid me quite low when we were there. Admitting to that, I’d have to add that I’m
more than soft-hearted, I’m painfully aware. I suppose that is my strongest and
weakest attribute — my attention to detail. I simply do not possess a blind eye.
Given my training and interest in the artworks of the ages, I readily grasp nuance.
I see the subtle shading of life in those small details often missed by others.
It allows me to read situations quickly. Not a bad skill for a man with a deviate’s
proclivity in an intolerant world!”As a child, who was your best friend? Tell us
about him/her.
“When I was a lad of
twelve or so, Mrs. Fletcher’s orphaned nephew Thomas came to Halstead. He was a
few years older than I and possessing a ready talent with horses, took a position
working in the stables. I got to spend time with him when my Grandmother was out
and about. I found him witty and fun and although our stations in life divided us,
we enjoyed one another’s company. I went away to school and we stayed in touch through
letters. When I returned home, I went to the stable to find my friend, and instead
found him with his lover, the farrier’s son. Thom and I became lovers shortly after.
Our relationship changed. And so had I.”What do you wish was different about your life?“I was born to a world
divided by class structure and limitations. My mind sees the outward trappings of
this divide daily, especially at Halstead. But my relationships with Mrs. Fletcher
and her nephew Thomas transcend such boundaries. They mean the world to me, and
my heart rebels at the very idea that I must keep my love for them a secret. I love Luca as well. It wasn’t all that long
ago, loving him would cost us our lives. There’s no longer a death penalty for homosexual
Englishmen, but we are still not free to love. I wish I was able to openly
show my affections.”If you were given your
fondest wish, what would it be?“I’d wish to turn back
the clock to see my dear Thom living a full and happy life. We’d been together nearly
thirteen years before I married Ellie. It was he who ended our relationship out
of respect for her. I miss him.”What do you wish I had asked you? Please ask
and answer it now.
“I would have asked,
Will we ever live in a tolerant world?My answer would be,
yes. It’s 1887. Look how far we’ve come. Women will be voting side by side with
men shortly, and are soon to be equal in every way. Especially if my wife has her
say! With such social progress broadening our understanding of ourselves, I can’t
imagine it taking long for prejudice, bigotry, and hatred to fall by the wayside.
Love and kindness, tolerance and charity – these are precepts of faith around the
world. But we don’t need our faith to tell us this is best. Like water, mankind
eventually follows the path of least resistance. I have every confidence that before
long, we’ll do what makes sense.”About the AuthorI love words and choose them as carefully as an artist might
choose a color. My active imagination compels me to write everything from children’s
stories to historical nonfiction. As a persnickety leisure reader, I especially
enjoy novels that feel like they were written just for me. It’s hard to explain,
but if you’ve ever read one of those, then you know what I mean. I tend to sneak
symbolism and metaphor into my writing. You might say it’s a game I play with myself
when I write. And I so love when readers email to say they’ve found something. I’d
like people to feel my stories were written just for them, for that’s the truth.
These hidden insights are my gift to my readers.  Find Me HereMain Blog: Blog: books on Amazon:

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