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.

The Camino

By A.J. Llewellyn
Some years ago, I was in Spain with my brother. He had a mad urge to run with the bulls in Pamplona. I love bulls and saw the whole thing as animal abuse, especially since the bulls are running for their lives to a certain death in a bull ring.
We went to Pamplona for a couple of days and it was gruesome because a young man was gored to death. People chastised him for not being prepared for the annual festival. He was ill dressed, too casual, I remember people saying.
Me, I was more interested in the people who’d arrived around the same time to participate in The Camino, the spiritual walk thousands of people take each year through Spain and France.
To me, this was more worthy than killing a bunch of bulls. I like bulls. I guess being a Taurus maybe I feel an affinity. I certainly feel a respect for them. I am certain they could kill me and I have no desire to prove my superiority.
I became obsessed with The Camino, the antidote to this mindless pursuit.
My brother and I walked only to the first town on the route. To be honest it was not much fun because it was jam-packed and we stayed in a crummy hostel that had no sheets and scrubbly blankets.
He has not stopped reminding me of that long, long night ever since.
What I learned long after that was that this particular route of The Camino is called the French Way and is the most popular because the towns are picturesque and designed to cater to the pilgrims, as those who walk The Way are called.
I am sorry now we didn’t keep going and I know my brother is, too.
Recently I had lunch with my friend Gina who walked The Camino for thirty days. She took a different Way and it changed her life.
She is married with kids and was questioning her life. On The Way she met a man who dazzled her. His name was improbable, he was sexy and she fell hard. She almost called her husband and asked for a divorce when she glimpsed her new man’s passport and opened it up. He wasn’t who he said he was. He was just a guy, like her, walking The Way.
The Camino is like that. You search for your truth and find it. It’s just not necessarily the truth you think you’ll find.
When I started writing my book, The Camino, I remembered what Gina had told me. She said, and I get emotional writing this, that she missed hearing her children’s voices every day. I like that. My story is about Antonio, a young man destined for the priesthood who meets a Storm Demon on The Way. Improbable?
Maybe, maybe not.
The Camino is a story of love, lost voices…and finding your Way.
We are all pilgrims in this life, no matter which way we walk.
The Camino is out now at eXtasy Books, I hope you’ll feel inspired to check it out! Here is the purchse link:

http://bit.ly/mQxauK

Aloha oe,

A.J.

How Hot Should You Trot?

By A.J. Llewellyn

One of the questions new authors often write to me about is their sex scenes.It is obvious from my books that I am pretty comfortable writing the ‘hot stuff’ and as I always say, sex sells. But how hot SHOULD you trot?
In short my response is as hot as you can make it, but it HAS to make sense – AND it must be alluring.
Write what you know is the old cliche for authors and it is a cliche for a reason. It’s true. We’re writing fiction so this gives us a whole world to explore and titillate our readers.
However…
I’m seeing a disturbing trend in er…alleged M/M romance books that have scenes that are just grim. There is no other word for them.
I had to stop reading a book that had had an extensive scene with a coffee enema in it as a rousing sexual practice.
Eeeww~
Look, I am sure there are people out there who like ‘brown sports’ but most of your readers won’t like it. And most publishers won’t take it.I was surprised this one was published for that reason but I have since heard this scene was removed from an updated, renamed version of the book.
In other words, it was repackaged to actually sell…
So if you can’t write what you know, know what you write.
So at least do some research and find out if gay men really enjoy doing this and if your straight female readers will get their romantic highs reading it.
It’s easy to ask your friends on FB, Yahoo,Twitter, whatever…a plain old Google search also works…
Similarly, I stopped reading a book written by a prolific author in which her virgin male lead is fisted without any preparation, no lube and, improbably sitting on the roof of a car on an open road.
Hello? Is this hot?
NOT!
Plausible? Oh, hell no.
I think fiction is a safe place to explore your fantasies, good, bad, bold, whatever…but do a little homework first.
D/s relationships still seem to have a healthy fan base but the few I’ve read make no sense. Yes, it’s fiction, but it takes me out of the book and makes me laugh my ass off when your sub is ordered to go to the supermarket dressed in his dungeon wear of puppy ass dildo (you know, the ones with the wiggling tail), leather g-string and a dog collar.
Judging by the extensive torture this clueless sub had just received it’s apparent that blood is on his nipples and chest – all those needles, you know.
I mean, come on. Seriously?
Wouldn’t you call the police if you saw a guy sniffing around the produce section looking like a torture camp survivor?
No, in this book, he shops and returns to his Dom, and more painful torture ensues.
Hot, or not?
Not to me.
Now, how about you?
I am curious about the weirdest, funniest, un-hottest scenes you read. Please don’t name names, just give us the SCOOP.
Let me know what you think – I really want to know!

Aloha oe,

AJ

Pocket Dialing

By A.J. Llewellyn

I’m currently working on “Peridot Dreams” in which my protagonist, Konu, a 500-year old Tahitian wizard, is sent from the spirit world to modern Waikiki to help in the centuries-old war between good and evil. He has tremendous trouble with modern conveniences. Things like flushing toilets, light switches and cell phones confound him.
I’m discovering he’s not the only one.
How many times have you picked up your ringing cell phone to hear a series of random, ambient noises….vague chattering, traffic, indistinguishable conversation, only to find whoever called you probably did it by accident?
And I don’t know about you but these accidental calls can be damned hard to get rid of. I’ve ended the call, picked up the phone a few minutes later only to find the line tied up with someone else’s gibberish.
In the good ol’ days, stationary phones didn’t have minds of their own. They didn’t embarrass you by calling people you didn’t really want to speak to.
And I wouldn’t mind being pocket dialed – yes, this strange phenomena even has a name – if the strange, echoey sounds on the other end were kinda interesting.
I’ve listened sometimes to try and figure out if somebody really is trying to contact me or to see if their conversation holds any fascination and let me tell you, most people are damned BORING!
I did some screenplay critiquing work for an actress three years ago. It was a horrible experience. She’d written a dreadful screenplay and flailed about like a drunken dolphin as I tried to help her improve her work. Instead she ran out of here in screaming tears.
And she’s been pocket dialing me ever since.
Her calls come in at inopportune times. She must be a bit of a party girl. She always seems to call me around midnight. And her conversations with whoever she’s driving with would have you snoring in your salad.
My friend Greg’s cell phone called me 14 times the other night. I didn’t want to wonder what he was doing to nudge his pocket that it decided to call me every twenty seconds.
It drives me nuts.
I rarely use my cell phone so I don’t call anybody unwittingly, or pocket-wise. As a five year old growing up in Australia, we used to think the odd prank call was the bomb. I’ve learned my lesson, trust me…but I think cell phones’ inner five-year olds need a time out.
After all, it can get expensive for the dialer and I’m sure, sometimes for the dialee, if he/she has left their cell phone on. These pocket-dialed calls don’t end quickly. They go on and on and on…
Pocket dialing also has other potential hazards for those who make them.
A dear friend of mine overheard her husband’s entire, sex-talk filled conversation with a woman he’d met online. She was aghast, he was in denial and last I heard they were in therapy.
Another friend I know told me her cell phone bill skyrocketed when her darn phone chose to keep reaching out to her brother in Tokyo. Repeatedly.
Niiiice!
I am filled with angst about this because last night my niece Eleanna came to stay and her parents pocket-dialed us. She answered the phone and looked at me.
“I think my parents are having sex,” she said.
“Really?” I grabbed the receiver and listened. Just to be sure, you know. Ahem.
They were. It made me smile. Go Daddies! Her two horny fathers were having sex in their car. And I will never let them live it down…lol
But how about you? Are you a dialer or a dialee? Does it bother you? Or should I just shut up, grab a pocket and dial?

Aloha oe,

A.J.

The Sins of Summer

By A.J. Llewellyn

With much of the US gripped in a rare and terrifying heat (Iowa officially reached boiling point today) it seems apt that I’m part of a new and spicy-hot anthology with my wonderful co-authors, D.J. Manly and Serena Yates. The Sins of Summer, coming to Total-e-Bound on August 1 is the first of four seasonal anthologies that addresses the seven deadly sins.
Several months ago I came up with the idea and pitched it to DJ who always listens to my hair brained schemes. He said, “I’m in!” We approached Serena Yates, with whom I’d co-authored The Cake and we were off and running.
With our first group of stories set in the summer , it didn’t take me long to pick my location – the Greek Islands or my sin. Jealousy.
I admit I’m a jealous guy. I’m jealous of my friend in Argentina who writes to tell me how chilly the weather is there when I’m dying of heat over here. I’m jealous of people who can eat and not gain weight. I’m jealous of John Barrowman’s husband (only half kidding. And I would willingly share John B. with D.J. who always calls him “our guy”).
Some years ago I had a boyfriend and I played amateur detective when he canceled a date. And I mean amateur. I got in my car, drove by his house with my best friend who thought she was cleverly disguised in a Santa Claus hat and to my horror, said boyfriend was standing outside his house in his boxers. The poor man was enjoying the cool night air having a quiet cigarette.
Not only did he see me, but the shock of being caught sent me off the road into a fire hydrant on the corner of his street. He called 911 when the street became flooded. My car was soaked and had to be towed and…he was absolutely right to break off our relationship.
I assure you, Leo Gannet, the Private Eye in my story, Burnt Island, is a lot more savvy than me. He’s just…unfortunately dealing with a jealous guy.
The Sins of Summer weaves a general thread of deception loosely tying tales of sin together. Envy, lust and wrath are explored in these scorching m/m tales involving action, burning hot sex and sinful adventures that will have you cranking up the Air Conditioning.
In his wonderful tale, paranormal tale Mayze, D.J. addresses the super-hot sin of lust. In her wickedly simmering tale, Summer Escape, Serena addresses the sin of wrath.
Having read all of these fine stories, I can only say it’s soon gonna get a whole lot hotter everywhere when this antho is released.
You can check it out here: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1313

Aloha oe,

A.J.

Naked in Hong Kong

By A.J. Llewellyn

No story is safe with me. Just ask any of my friends who’ve told me something naughty…or nice… and they know that somehow, some way, their story will wind up in one of my books. Only sometimes the story is so outlandish even I can’t use it!
I recently had dinner with a wonderful friend I haven’t seen for a while because she’s madly in love with her new man.
She took a couple of hours away from him to spend a little time with me. Knowing my passion for travel, she told me how he took her to Hong Kong and she mentioned how an ‘unfortunate incident’ almost wrecked their hot romance.
Of course, I had to know more. She told me a complicated story that boiled down to this: one night, she waited naked for him in their hotel bed and had champagne chilling on ice along with a few essential sex toys on hand (God, I love this woman!!).
For some reason, she had the urge to check if the ping of the elevator across the hall was him.
Don’t ask me how, but she wound up TRIPPING herself as she peered out of the door and fell SPLAT in the hallway.
Naked.
In Hong Kong.
With the hotel door locked closed behind her.
Did I see a book in this? Hell, yeah…except my story of course involves a man and has a different kind of ending.
My friend told me that a group of Chinese businessmen rallied around her (I bet the did!!!) and one of them lent her an itty-bitty towel. But hotel security wouldn’t let her back into the room without ID (she’s naked, people) and when they did let her back in, they got an eyeful of her sex toys laid out on the bed.
Then her boyfriend arrived to find her Naked in Hong Kong with five strange men and her in an itty bitty towel.
Aahhh…that was a good laugh. For me. Not for her.
It begs the question. Is truth stranger than fiction? Absolutely. Had I written her story as told it, it would not be believable. Her story went on. She will never live it down…not now that she’s inspired a book. Naked in Hong Kong was released this weekend and I hope you’ll check it out:
http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/NakedHongKong.html
How about you? Have you heard a story that’s really cool but so UNREAL it needs to be toned down?
Please post a comment to win a free ebook from me!

Aloha oe,

A.J.

Manacled is OUT and a New Interview!

Manacled: Mingo McCloud Book 6 is now available at eXtasy Books! And in a fab coincidence, the gorgeous and generous Erin Sinclair interviewed me. Please stop by and comment for a chance to win a free ebook! http://erin-sinclair-author.blogspot.com/?zx=57d506f8335f9bdc

 MANACLED

Mingo McCloud Honolulu Mysteries

 Book Six

 By A.J. Llewellyn

Purchase Link: http://tinyurl.com/6lxedzy

Logline: Mingo McCloud is launching the criminal investigation he never dreamed possible. The perp? Himself.

Synopsis:  It’s wedding bells in Waikiki! Honolulu’s hottest forensic accountant, Mingo McCloud is set to marry his lover, Francois. Friends and family are coming from all over the world and just as the intrepid pair gets ready to say “I do”, they don’t. A mysterious woman shows up at the service claiming to be the long lost wife of…not formerly single and straight Francois but Mingo!

       Mingo is stunned. Not the least because he’s never dated a woman, much less married one. The whole family’s now in an uproar, especially when the shady lady produces wedding pictures and love letters allegedly written by Mingo. He and Francois are determined to unravel the plot. For Mingo, the shocks don’t stop coming. Seems he has a trail of busted female hearts behind him, as well as some serious grifting. What the heck is going on? Is he the victim of a conspiracy, or is something else afoot? Are parts of him awake when he is sleeping and doing things he knows nothing about?

Note to readers: This title is Number 6 in the Mingo McCloud series, but can easily be read as a stand-alone book.

 For a hot eXcerpt and Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/6lxedzy

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