Leaving Well Enough Alone

By A.J. Llewellyn

Writing is a funny thing. I can go back over each and every book I’ve written and find places where I could have improved things. I’ve asked other writers this and all agree…especially when it involves our earliest works.
As a college professor once told me and the rest of our class, “even Casablanca isn’t perfect” but I am not sure about that!
I turned in a new story over the weekend and it’s a very personal one…I guess they all are, butIf Come, which is based on a situation that just happened to one of my dearest friends is one of those that I…well…just cannot leave alone.
If Come came to me when my friend Lizzie signed an If Come deal with a major movie producer. I’d never heard of it before but loved the name. An If Come deal is when a writer signs a contract with a producer who will shop his or her screenplay and if it comes to pass that it’s produced, he or she will get extra benefits for having signed such a deal.
It’s like a dream…will you wake up and find it’s a) real, b) a dream or c) a nightmare?
I had fun writing this story and fell in love with my characters but dammit, I’ve now sent two updated drafts to my editor who has been very gracious about the updates.
However, I wonder why this book won’t leave me alone.
I’m not sure if it’s because the whole rigmarole of pitching screenplays to studios is so personal to me since I’ve based the scenes in the book on my own experiences…or if it’s that…well…I just want to keep hanging out with these characters. I grew to love Zam and Dominic and they will not get out of my head.
I think this is why we authors write series. We fall in love and never want the dance to end.
These men keep chattering in my mind and they keep…doing things to each other. I can be driving and Zam and Dominic do something so cute it has to go in my story. Am I crazy or is this normal?
How about you? Do you feel this way? Just curious…

Aloha oe,

A.J.

The Blancmange

Book two in the Elemental Superpowers Series – OUT NOW at http://www.total-e-bound.com/

Finn wants justice in the Water Court’s controversial murder trial – but two jurors have already been killed and now an assassin is after him and won’t give up…

Finn Garrison is a Water Mage who lives in Bermuda and teaches swimming to water-phobes, assists in the salvage of ship wrecks and rehabilitates local wildlife in his spare time. When he gets called to be a juror in a high profile Water Court trial and his life is endangered, he knows he needs help.

Ty Anglin is an experienced Water Marshal who doesn’t really want to become someone’s glorified bodyguard. When he meets Finn, he’s not only attracted to him, but also suddenly very protective. Two attempts on Finn’s life later, they are both sure there is more going on than meets the eye.

Will they be able to find out who is behind the assassinations? Was the sea monster on trial really framed? And are freshwater people really being discriminated against by their saltwater cousins?

Reader Advisory: This story contains scenes of terrifying sea creatures and delectable blancmange variations.

 For purchase and a cool, delicious excerpt please click this link: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1392

A Test of Faith

By A. J. Llewellyn

I had a wholly different blog planned today…but in hindsight, perhaps it isn’t so different. I’d planned to address the issue of faith and how everything we do daily, as writers tests our boundaries.
I think each thing we do with our lives really is an act of faith. 
Last night I had a discussion with a dear friend who agreed with me, saying how amazing it is that each time we get in our cars and hit traffic lights, it’s an act of faith that EVERYBODY will abide by the rules. How utterly astonishing it is that we all sit there waiting for the lights to change, Of course there are people who don’t, but that’s a whole other blog. Besides…
He’s right!
I find my notions of faith are tested constantly as an author and that was going to be my subject here…and then my dog was attacked by a pit bull this morning.
My elderly, frail, but valiant girl is doing fine though neither of us has stopped shaking. I believe divine intervention saved her.
Taking her for a walk every day and arriving home safely I suppose can be seen as an act of faith, but I refuse to dwell on fear or random acts of violence.
As an author, every day I work on writing, editing, promoting, reading, emailing, blogging…all of it geared towards reaching readers and other authors, sharing ideas, entertaining people (one hopes) and really, isn’t it all an act of faith?
I keep thinking how lucky I am to be published when not so long ago, I collected rejection letters and dreamed of actually selling something.
I love what I do but the whole process really is a beautiful act of faith. When it works, when it gels, how lucky we all are, and yet this very fragility of existence reminds me never to assume. Never take it for granted and never stop working my hardest to produce the best stories I can.
Each and every day, like taking my dog for a walk is a test of faith.
The one thing I realized as Venus and I stumbled home today is that I could honestly say if I had lost her today, I have cherished every second of being her doggie parent. I never want to live without her but one day, I will. If my life were a romance novel she would never be old, infirm and of course, she would never die.
I won’t take her for granted and will remind myself how lucky I am that there are medical advancements that have helped her live longer and more comfortably so we can be together. I think faith is fate in action. I don’t know how else to explain it except to say make the most of every moment, whatever it is that you are doing. It’s a lesson I keep learning.
But as ever, I roll with the punches and lead with my heart…
Aloha oe
A.J.

Back to Black

Back to Black is OUT NOW!!

Honolulu detective Quinn Novak has to enter another realm to find scorching-hot sex…how far does he have to travel to find true love?

Quinn Novak is a Honolulu Police Department detective working an unusual case. A string of robberies have taken place in homes tented for termites in the economically depressed town of Makaha Beach. A gang of thieves appears to be trailing pest control units, then breaking in…so Quinn is assigned watching over a particularly important dignitary’s home late one night. Quinn has a problem, however. He’s afraid of the dark.
He’s never told a soul and seems to be coping with his phobia until he spies two men breaking in and follows them, despite of the dangers of the pesticide—and the dark.
Once inside the house, he appears to enter another realm…one filled with hot men who want…him. Quinn has the most incredible threesome of his life, but then must leave the house. How the heck does he get back in? And can he? Now, suddenly, he wants to get back to black…back to the dark and the two men he left inside the house…can he ever find them again?

For HOT eXcerpt and Purchase please click this link:

http://www.extasybooks.com/back-to-black-3/

From Cereal to Serial

 

By A.J. Llewellyn

As a kid, I was obsessed with my morning cereal. It wasn’t so much the crunchy stuff that got my attention but the toys at the bottom of the box. The other thing I loved was that I ate my Coco Pops (the Australian version of Coco Puffs) I could read the Superman serial on the back of the box.

I looked forward to those little yarns each week and kept them for a while. I cut out the stories and kept the cardboard pieces in a box until my step mother did a sweep of my bedroom one day and tossed out the box which not only contained the Superman serial but the beginnings of lots of little story ideas I’d developed. She didn’t realize this was important to me and I guess all these years later it still bugs me.

Serials have always intrigued me. As I grew older and went to school and college, I was fascinated to learn how many of my literary favorites had started producing their stories as serials. I did find an old copy of a Charles Dickens story and an Agatha Christie piece that had been serialized. In fact, I adore Agatha Christie and I was surprised to learn many of her short stories were published as serials.

This idea has lived in my brain for so long that when it popped, finally, I asked the astonishing and talented D.J. Manly to work on it with me. As we wind up our 12-month serial, Blood Slave: Nibiru Vampire Warriors, I feel satisfied and full. We invested so much into each 16,000 word chapter, every snippet of ideas tossed into the mix that I feel as if I finally got my own cereal box. I love the idea of our readers receiving big chunks of action-packed drama and romance and having to wait a month for the next installment.

Judging by the emails we are getting it worked! I am grateful D.J. said yes and that our readers have taken our heroes, Zero and Stride to heart. We are almost done with Chapter Eleven and Chapter Twelve will start taking shape soon. I don’t want to say goodbye to these beloved characters but I hope that in the future we can revisit them in a different format, a novella or novel perhaps. In the meantime, enjoy the serial, whether you read it with cereal or not. I know it’s one of my great pleasures still, to enjoy reading over breakfast.

Coco Pops boxes may no longer be involved but my heart is always open to great adventure.

And the perfect bowl of cereal.

Aloha oe,

A.J.

Dinner With a Hero

 

By A.J. Llewellyn

I was asked by the wonderfully talented author Silvia Violet to guest blog at her website as one of my characters on the subject of food. Silvia and I are foodies and frankly this idea totally intrigued me. One of my favorite series to write was the Waikiki Vampires and I still miss Div and Tem.

Being in Honolulu this past week evoked so many memories of elements in my stories, especially the food, that I had to blog from Div’s POV. I wrote it from my kitchen window looking out over the garden that inspires the one in the series. In my heart and mind I can see Tem, Clancy and Heavenly pulling vegetables from the garden as Div waits for his supper. He might not be handy in the kitchen but he always makes it up to Tem in the bedroom right after dinner.

Ahem.

Yes, my vampires eat and Div has a passion for exotic flavors. he is, after all, a tropical vampire in Waikiki. Please stop by and check out the blog and leave a comment to qualify to win a free ebook from the series.

http://silviaviolet.com/blog/2011/09/16/dinner-with-a-hero-aj-llewellyn/#comment-1311

Yum yum!

A.J.

Not Here, Not There

By A.J. Llewellyn

My good friend, the yummy model Adam Killian, is a persistent traveler. Getting on and off planes is a daily thing for him. Until I got my dog 15 years ago it was for me, too. Now, everything has to be planned, and saved for.
When I first moved here in the 80s from my native Australia, I lived like Adam. I traveled extensively and have probably seen more of the US than most Americans have. In those days a wonderful–alas, defunct–airline existed called The People’s Express. Looking back it was hilarious. You took your suitcase on board and it sat in the aisle next to you. You paid for your ticket on board.
99 bucks one way. It was packed, it was chaotic and I wonder now about the safety standards, but anyhoo, I flew everywhere. I picked a different city each weekend. There were no snacks, no movies, no niceties, but it was bloody fantastic. And then for some mysterious reason it went belly-up.
I am getting ready to fly to Honolulu this morning. It is the land of my dreams. Like many Hawaiians-at-Heart, I am filled completely when I land and bereft immediately upon departure again. It’s hard to believe that a few short weeks ago a few close friends talked me into going.
I had no intention of leaving my beloved, and elderly dog, but the truth is, I really need the break. I have a great dog sitter and the lure of showing three wonderful people My Hawaii is proving irresistible. Not only have they never been there but Ruth. Lynne and David are my kind of travelers. They want to see Oahu’s sacred places and meet my favorite Goddess, Pele.
For weeks the emails have been going back and forth until we decided. We all have things pulling at us to stay home but this is what we need. It’s not The People’s Express, but the spirit is there, willing us to be free…fly!
It’s interesting however that in the day leading up to this trip I’ve been in a kind of limbo. Not here, not there. I am somewhere in between. A boarding gate that feels both good and bad.
I worry about my pets, about taking time away from work. I worry about random, obscure fears and can’t help being mindful that the anniversary of 9/11 is next week. My plan is to visit the military cemetery, Punchbowl, the Cemetery of the Pacific. Hawaii has endured more losses in the war against terror than any other state. her cemeteries are filled. I will take a lei to a fallen soldier I do not know and thank him for his priceless gift.
I called my friend Lynn last night and asked how she was feeling. She and her husband David were waiting, just like me. It’s a strange waiting room in which we’ve dwelt. Perhaps as we’ve gotten older, travel has become such a luxury we taste and savor every moment, even the waiting and preparations to travel.
This time 10 years ago I was waiting to fly to New York to see Mike Tyson fight at Madison Square Garden. Those plans were derailed by the attack on the twin towers. I was lucky. As we all know, so many were not.
So I will happily exist, not here, not there, knowing that so many others are not. I will wallow in this day of travel, and feel humbled that I am in fact, thanks to the sacrifices of men and women I have never met, free to fly.
Aloha oe
A.J.

Come By Chance

Come By Chance: A new M/M, M/M/M, M/M/M/M, contemporary cowboy comedy set in the Australian outback is OUT NOW at eXtasy Books!

Purchase Link: http://bit.ly/puyM89

Come to where the flavor is…crazy Aussie outback cowboy country where men are men and kangaroos are nervous…

Synopsis: When photographer’s assistant Gary Holland meets three Australian underpants models–all called Bruce–on what should be a routine shoot in LA, it turns out to be anything but. He falls for the geekiest, yet sexiest, Bruce of them all, but soon learns Bruce has not only never been with another man but is an anxious virgin.

Bruce lives in the whimsically named town of Come By Chance in northern New South Wales, population 178. After a torrid fling starts in California, Bruce wants Gary to visit him in the land down under. Shocks, laughter, love, a shy kangaroo named Phillip, a goose called Zeus and a tractor that thinks it’s a horse, soon welcome Gary to a life he never thought he’d want to live. Can two men who are such opposites make a life together? Does love like this really…come by chance?

For a HOT eXcerpt and for purchase:  http://bit.ly/puyM89

Kaleidoscope

 

By A.J. Llewellyn
Like most writers, my ideas come from actual life happenings. Last year, I attended a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner and one of my friends was late. Keren is an emergency room nurse and arrived to tell us a breathless tale about a couple rushed in after suffering a head-on collision. The woman had been going down on the man who, lost control of the moving vehicle and swerved into an oncoming lane and crashed.
In the ensuing catastrophe, the woman giving head severed the man’s penis with her teeth.
In the emergency room, Keren and the others worked to save the couple. The penis was still lodged in the woman’s throat.
Keren never thought about the couple’s relationship, she only worked to save them. She and her crew did so. The man’s penis was reattached and all was good…until out in the waiting room a woman approached her.
It was the man’s wife!
Keren described the woman’s complete breakdown as she learned how her husband suffered such an unusual injury. Keren never found out what happened…but I came up with my own conclusion in a gay twist on this story.
Having been cheated on myself several years ago, I took it hard. It was fun to re-examine those early emotions in hindsight. I, like Teddy, became obsessed with the other man. With the internet being what it is, it’s easy to follow someone on Twitter or Facebook (back then MySpace was the hot social networking site) and I found out things about my lover that I never knew…
Kaleidoscope has been described by a couple of reviewers as “unconventional” because my character, Teddy, goes through great anguish on discovering the truth of his husband’s affair…then becomes obsessed with finding out the truth about the ‘other man’ in Auguste’s life.
Unconventional?
Perhaps…
But Kaleidoscope is part of the Amber Pax collection in a series entitled The French Connection. To my mind, telling unconventional stories is part of a romance writer’s job. Besides, being a story set in Paris, it gives the writer the opportunity to explore the themes of love, second chances and…how life really is like a kaleidoscope.
 
Here is the blurb:

Teddy Bardin married Auguste, whom he thought was the man of his dreams, and to start a new life with his husband, he moved from New York to Paris, the city of light. Now, on a rainy afternoon, a life-shattering telephone call arrives, and Teddy learns that Auguste has been in a car accident.

After racing to the hospital to visit his stricken husband, Teddy is in for another emotional shock—listed among Auguste’s injuries is a nearly severed penis. It comes as an even bigger surprise when Teddy learns that Auguste was with another man who was orally pleasuring him at the moment of impact. And that’s only the beginning in a series of heartbreaking discoveries.

Teddy quickly comes to realize he must make some tough decisions about his future, especially about his marriage and unfaithful husband…and also his growing obsession with Pierre, the other important man in Auguste’s life…

I hope you get the chance to read and enjoy Kaleidoscope, one of my favorite stories! I love Teddy and Pierre and miss writing about them.

http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/Kaleidoscope.html

 
Aloha oe,
A.J.

Opening the Bedroom Door

 

By A.J. Llewellyn

There is a literary agent who I sometimes wonder about since she is a prolific blogger and has some huge names on her roster. As I tuned into her daily rant this morning, I clicked on the right side of her page for her archives and laughed so hard coffee was coming up through my nose.
A year ago, this beacon of all literary knowledge predicted that erotic romance was on its way out.
Yeah, right. Her blog went on to say that in spite of publishers “opening the bedroom door” on a huge number of previously released books that closed them once the readers got to share in a “kiss and a feel”, the trend was cooling.
Well you know what they say about opinions and everyone having them…just like we all have a certain often-functioning part of our anatomy.
What it showed me was a general ‘literary snobbiness’ about our genre. I experienced this myself from both writers and other industry professionals I know who view what we do as ‘porn.’
With more and more hopeful publishers joining the ranks of erotic romance, I think it’s safe to say the agent was very wrong. I am asked all the time by both published authors and aspiring ones in the area of erotic romance if they need an agent. My answer is always, NO.
If you are keen on giving up 15% of your income for no apparent reason, go for it. A literary agent won’t get you in the door of a Hollywood studio with your erotic romance novel, especially if it’s M/M.
They won’t even push you toward New York publishing houses even if you sell tons. No…I’ve seen it too many times with other authors. I also experienced it myself.
Four years ago I was able to disengage from a contract with a literary agent who was never able to do much but set meetings for me with production companies who stole my ideas. When I started writing my books, she pooh-poohed them. After a bad situation where an episode idea I pitched to a TV series was swiped – yet again – I severed my ties with her.
She eventually lost all her clients who experienced the same heartbreak and she recently contacted me saying she is working as a package producer for a big agency. That means she is trying to sell all the components of a movie in one: screenplay, producer (herself), director and stars.
I realized that she is typical of the type of agent who really thinks they are producers and/or publishers. They think they know what sells and I guess since all my ideas were stolen, she was right.
The truth is in spite of all the dire predictions about the publishing industry, there has never been a better time for us authors. We can contact publishers directly and hey, they sometimes even approach us once we’ve built a track record.
I’ve also learned through my day job as a screenplay reader that erotic romance authors are generally derided by quality agents. Yes, many companies that used to lock those bedroom doors are looking to open them, but getting agents to take us seriously will still take time.
And that’s okay as far as I’m concerned because we’ll all still be here, tearing those damned locks off those bedroom doors one at a time.

Aloha oe,

A.J.

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