Honey Butter

Honey Butter
Current mood: blessed
Category: Travel and Places

So I am in chilly, but beautiful Austin, TX visiting my best friend Tam and her two-year old daughter Lola. We have been friends for 15 years and although Tam travels a lot, with a baby and her busy working life — not to mention my busy working life– I am finally on her home turf visiting her and little Miss Lola. I came armed with a Fancy Nancy tutu, matching purse and sunglasses (am I gay or what?) and tried not think of all the deadlines I have. It’s only four days I reasoned with myself and I can still work.
Besides, it’s research.
Tam mentioned there’s a gay section of Austin — 4th Street– so from the second I arrived, I’ve been making notes.
I really like it here. Arrived late yesterday afternoon and Tam said she would drive me down the gay section of town so I could see it.
Austin has a very laid-back vibe. Tam describes it as a cross between Berkley and Venice Beach and I totally see that. It’s an eclectic town and she pointed out Whole Foods – this was the very first Whole Foods ever) and I saw tons of hippies and funky coffee shops you wouldn’t normally associate with Texas.
Tam’s family took me to dinner at a local barbecue place. I’m a vegetarian but managed to keep my squeamishness to myself when I saw these gigantic bones coming out of the kitchen. I’ve never seen ribs this size.
Things are bigger in Texas, I reminded myself. I scribbled this in my notebook. Of course, this opens up all kinds of possibilities for a gay romance set in Austin, right?
My mood got even perkier when a massive loaf of fresh bread arrived at the table.
“Try it with the honey butter,” Tam advised.
Honey butter?
They actually sell honey and butter mixed. It’s even in convenient packets on the table. I tried to imagine this idea flying in California and I couldn’t.
You have to beg a waitress for butter in L.A.
But I digress.
Honey butter makes me swoon. I love this town! It sings to my senses!
On our way home, Tam and I discussed my setting one of my books here.
She daid she’d drive me down 4th street so I could check it out, get a feel for it. Groove to the vibe.
“I can’t wait to see it,” I said.
“We just did. we just drove right past it,” she said. “Didn’t you see it?”
No, I did not. Okay, so…not all things are bigger in Texas. the gay district is apparently two clubs next door to each other.
But there’s always Honey butter.
And my seriously overactive imagination.

Aloha oe,

A.J.
Currently listening:
Nina: The Essential Nina Simone
By Nina Simone
Release date: 2003-05-12

Paden: Phantom Lover the Final Chapter

                                  

                         What Price Would You Pay For Immortality?

                                PADEN: Phantom Lover the Final Chapter            

                                                         by A.J. Llewellyn                                                              

                                   Now Available at www.eXtasyBooks.com 

Paden “Keneti” Campbell’s metamorphosis from a Scottish medical student in the Hawaiian Islands to an immortal, shapeshifting warrior husband of a Samoan Cannibal King has come with a heavy price. His path takes a twisted, unprecedented turn when he is granted his freedom, thanks to his son, Lopaka. Both Lopaka and his husband, Kimo, have rescued Paden, who is now in search of his own destiny and a kinder, gentler love than his violent, powerful husband. Can he find redemption in love and can he forge a new relationship with Lopaka and his twin sister, Maluhia, whom he abandoned at birth. And can he find his way back to…Paden? This is the final book in the bestselling Phantom Lover series. 

For an eXcerpt and to Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/y8s44xo

Stolen Memories

Current mood:  bouncy
Category: Life

My love for Hawaii is no secret to anyone who has ever read my books. My passion encompasses the island’s myths, its spiritual history and its monarchy, of which I feel fiercely protective.
So it came as a shock today when I saw an item on Ebay claiming to be the last Queen, Lili’uokalani’s music cabinet.
Priced at a hefty $12.5 million, I felt indignant that this item was not being returned to Iolani Palace, where, had it truly belonged to the Queen, means it was stolen along with all her other belongings during her controversial 1893 overthrow.
Anyone who has ever visited Iolani Palace, which a few years ago was lovingly restored and opened as a museum, will tell you that the only palace on American soil is a lovely building but almost empty of furniture and other things that would make it a truly spectacular experience.
Without going into too much detail about who stole the Queen’s belongings (some of which included items she inherited from previous monarchs, particularly her brother, the last King, Kalakaua) but let’s just say they were Americans.
The Provisional Government which took over the Palace (when the Queen was imprisoned and tried in a shameful chapter of this country’s history) apparently saw little value in keeping her priceless objects, yet amazingly to this day, pieces are being found all over the world.
In the last decade, many things once stolen have found their way back to Iolani Palace. So when this music cabinet appeared on Ebay, the Palace’s charming and brilliant curator, Stewart, leapt into action.
I had no idea this item has been on Ebay more than once. The man who owns it has no desire to ‘do the right thing’ he wants money. Stewart checked into its provenance, but, he told me today, he has no proof the cabinet belonged to the Queen.
He also doesn’t have at his disposal the kind of money to buy it at $12 million.
So many wonderful miracles have happened that have led to the Queen’s treasures making their way home…from the King’s majestic writing desk being found at a thrift store…to portraits of King Kamehameha IV and his wife being found in a Scottish cottage. The most recent discovery he told me was of a table with a four-foot elephant tusk that was given to King Kalakaua on his 50th birthday by the then-Prime Minister of Hawaii.
“That came from Minnesota,” he told me. “The first item we’ve ever received from that state. That makes 38 states where royal treasures have shown up.”
He knows where the companion piece to the elephant-tusked table is – it’s right in Hawaii and he is trying his best to have its owner return it.
To that end, President Obama gave the Palace $147,000 in funds to help bring the Palace’s belongings back to where they belong.
Some families who have inherited pieces they know belong to the Palace have promised to return them in wills. Some simply refuse.
“It’s a case by case basis,” Stewart told me.
He is on a mission to refurbish three bedrooms, one of them being the small room that once imprisoned the Queen during her trial. It was where she sewed a quilt (which disappeared for years only to turn up at the Palace door one day) and where she wrote over 200 songs during her captivity.
I don’t know if the cabinet is hers and neither does the Palace. If it does, it belongs with its host of ghosts. Not on Ebay.
The Queen loved music and her gifts to us remain. Her song Aloha Oe is still sung every day somewhere…I know the cabinet is just a thing. But the children of Hawaii deserve more than photographs to remind them of how things were before we stripped them of their monarchy.
They deserve their rightful heritage. Each and every piece of it.
Aloha oe,

A.J.

Currently listening:
Nostalgia
Release date: 1999-11-02

Will Work For…Saucepans

Current mood:  amused
Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

So with the economic slump still in force (no matter what the TV pundits claim) I took a catering job this week and found it was grueling but fun work. I am a food whore so this was also a side benefit, free eats.
I was amazed at the array of catering staff. There were four writers, five actors, a poet, a musician, a war vet…but I was particularly tickled by a woman I shall name Zelda who is a hooker. Not just any hooker. Zelda has a niche field.
She whores out her titties (her words, not mine) and for around $100 allows guys to come over and jerk off into her er…massive assets. Zelda is proud of her ability to eke out a living with her breasts, but now that she too is experiencing a ‘slight financial crisis’ she refuses to corrupt her niche by having actual sex with her clients.
Business isn’t bad she told me, except that some guys have been finding it difficult to come up with cash. So Zelda, being another food whore, will work for saucepans. Yep, saucepans. She told us that she’s given discounts to regulars (a nice thing to do when you work in customer service) but newcomers who ask her to reduce her rate are scolded. One guy told her he had a brand new ten-piece saucepan set he’d give her in exchange for her services.
She asked him to email her a pic and he did. The entire wait staff at this big Hollywood shindig stopped working to examine the pic as she showed it to us on her camera phone.
The pans looked good to me but then what do I know? I’m much more interested in what is going on inside a pot than outside of it.
She told us the client went to her house and had his fun and she kept her eye on the prize: the saucepans. He’s going back next week with a George Foreman grill – not really, I just made that up, but really, it got me thinking.
The saucepans cost way more than a hundred bucks and were unopened. Where did he get them? Did he pinch them from his wife? A store? Did they ‘fall off the back of a truck?’
“I gave them a good washing,” Zelda said. “Not that I cook much, but they look so pretty in my kitchen.”
This didn’t make sense to me. “Why didn’t you sell them on Ebay if they’re new and worth good money?”
She looked embarrassed. “I took them into one of those Ebay shops. they wanted 30% of the sale and they told me they probably wouldn’t sell too good because of the shipping charges.”
She became upset when other people mentioned Craigslist and Pennysaver.
“I made a good deal,” she shouted. “I got expensive saucepans.”
Yes, that to her are apparently completely useless.
“Is there any cooking utensil you wouldn’t work for?” Our boss asked her. He said it jokingly but she took it seriously.
“Potato peelers,” she said. “I already got way too many of those.”

Aloha oe,

A.J.

Currently listening:
Je l’ai jamais dit à personne
By Étienne Drapeau

A Single Man

Current mood:  chipper
Category: Movies, TV, Celebrities

 

I was heartened this morning by the news that one of my favorite actors in the world, Colin Firth has been nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of a gay man learning to cope with the death of his lover in Tom Ford’s movie, A Single Man based on the 1964 novel by Christopher Isherwood.Though the movie has no other significant nominations, it is encouraging to me that an actor of Firth’s stature considers this one of his best film roles and a part that he wanted so much, he was willing to physically transform himself for it. It’s interesting, he notes, that this role came to him after a huge body of work.

It’s also encouraging that his peers within the ranks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated him at a time when gay Hollywood is still battling straight Hollywood for equality.

Though I hope Firth wins, I suspect it’s Jeff Bridges’s year and I wouldn’t mind that at all. I am pleased that we have such a rich pool of talent this year in movies both serious-minded and funny.

A small corner–no, a large part–of my heart hopes Colin Firth wins, although I am a huge fan of Jeff Bridges. I hope Colin Firth is proud and pleased with his nomination. I hope he continues to pick the roles that call him. He’s never struck me as being a money-grabber. He’s always struck me as being an actor to lead with his heart.

He recently gave an interview where he talked about the significance of Isherwood’s book. A Single Man, considered to be one of the earliest and best front-runners for the gay lib movement, is still a searing book to read, perhaps because its core issues remain to this day.

Firth’s role in the movie focuses on a professor’s life after the death of his partner. I was impressed that this notion of a man–not necessarily a gay man’s–emotional life is the subject of intense scrutiny in the movie.

Ford has not shied away from the heart of the book.

Firth has won a legion of new fans for his work. I hope he and Tom Ford team up again.
Regardless of what happens on Oscar night, I hope Ford comes away with the idea of telling more significant stories of GLBT life. We need all the help and recognition we can get.
Both of these men stepped way out of their comfort zone for A Single Man. yes, Isherwood deserves nothing less. But Tom Ford, stepping away from his flashy career as a fashion designer to direct this labor of love took a huge risk, as did Firth, for trusting Ford with his ‘image.’

With California battling over the issue of gay marriage and the rest of the world still struggling with the notion of gay rights more than forty years after Isherwood wrote his novel, it is a step in the right direction that a love story, not a war movie, should lead the fight.

I wonder if Firth and Ford can know how much they sincerely achieved through their passion, their creativity…through love alone?

Aloha oe,

A.J.

Currently listening:
Ke’Alaokamaile
By Keali’i Reichel
Release date: 2003-12-09

Taller, Meaner, Darker – More Men, More SEX!

                                                  

Taller, Meaner, Darker…M/M/M/M, M/M, M/M/M More Men, More Sex!

Gavin’s wife is back from the dead, loving life inside the hot body of Jackson…except Jackson wants to have fun…with lots and lots of guys.

Taller, Meaner, Darker                                    

The new M/M paranormal erotic romance                              

By A.J.Llewellyn and Stephani Hecht                                        

Now Available at www.eXtasyBooks.com  

Purchase Link: http://tinyurl.com/yet8kbu  

In this sequel to the best-selling book Tall, Mean and Darkly, Gavin Jago and his wife have never had better sex since Chrissie died and came back as a guy. The tall, dark and handsome Jackson Avery. But dead guys…and girls, just wanna have fun. As Gavin adjusts to life as a very public gay man, Jackson is keen to experiment with his new, prodigious manly assets. This is a side of Chrissie’s personality he’s never seen before. Gavin realizes that Jackson, the real Jackson’s personality is emerging and the once depressed, suicidal man has found new life and love.

But Gavin doesn’t like this part of Jackson’s persona. He wants the woman – er – man – er giraffe, he loves. Can they work things out or is Jackson likely to be the next one who finds himself under a bus?

For an eXcerpt and purchasing

click this link: http://tinyurl.com/yet8kbu

Stealing My Heart


Current mood:  ecstatic
Category: Writing and Poetry

 

I know that many people involved with ebook publishing – and those who critique it – roll their eyes at the mention of ebook theft but the fact remains, it is killing us. It is killing those of us who sit there day after day creating stories for people to read. It is killing the publishing industry. I am not going to listen to comments about libraries and friends sharing paperbacks.

The average lending life if a book is 200 lends before the book is withdrawn from circulation. I know this because I’ve worked in a library for 3 years.

The average lending life of a pirated ebook is limitless. The theft goes on and on.

So rather than whine, my lovely co-author on many books, D.J. Manly, decided to lend his considerable weight to actual change.

And now, I am pleased to say our project, the anthology Stealing My Heart is soon to be published by Total eBound. Its objective is to provide the thrills and gasps we normally do BUT to also make readers aware that we do this job with passion – and stealing from us comes at a price.

We want to thank the dedicated readers who spend their hard-earned dollars on our books. We also hope to make persistent ‘file-sharers’ aware that when they upload books and thank one another, they really ought to be thanking the people who really made these books possible in the first place.

In this antho, we have stories from me and DJ, my other frequent co-author Stephani Hecht, Jaime Samms, Jambrea Jo Jones, Carol Lynne and my soon to be next co-author, Serena Yates.

I am also thrilled that my cover-model-for-life Adam Killian donated a pic from the shoot he and I did together last year for this cover.

He is gorgeous and his face tells our story.

Ebook theft is not a nameless, faceless crime. We are all people who are wounded where it hurts every time an ebook is uploaded and shared illegally.

Money raised from this book will go to a fund to directly combat piracy.

I hope this is the beginning of a huge, wonderful, sexy sea of change.

Ebook theft steals from our wallets but also steals from our hearts.

Thank you to Claire and the wonderful staff at Total eBound for supporting our cause. For realizing our dream.

And thanks to our many, many wonderful readers who make us want to sit in our chairs and to keep writing. You all in so many good and glorious ways, mend our hearts, each and every day.

Aloha oe,

A.J.

Currently listening:
Gentleman Cambrioleur
By Garou
Release date: 2009-12-08

Apocalypse: Blood Eclipse Book 4

                                                      

                                                                         Apocalypse                                                            

                                                                  Blood Eclipse: Book 4                                                       

                                                       By A.J. Llewellyn and D.J. Manly                                                 

                                                  Now Available: http://tinyurl.com/y9tr8cx  

The Apocalypse which has been foretold is now here. Vampires and humans scavenge for survival. Carden, the Pureblood vampire must decide…fulfill his destiny or sacrifice Rory. 

Carden, Roy, Thiago and Dennis have survived the carnage of the Vampire/Human war. Carden is destined to battle his uncle for the title of King of the Vampires, whilst struggling with his own urge to drink human blood. He must make desperate choices – but the war is not over and an unexpected new enemy emerges from the fire.Rory fights for his life and his soul mate.

With a new world order emerging from blood and ashes, he’s convinced he and Carden can be together. Thiago and Dennis have their problems too. Dennis is dying from his injuries sustained in his abduction. Will any of them survive the Apocalypse, and emerge from it, together?

Click here for HOT eXcerpt and for purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/y9tr8cx  

Playing Nicely Together


Current mood:  blissful
Category: Writing and Poetry

One of the questions I’m often asked by readers is how does a collaboration work between two writers living far apart?

I have been extraordinarily lucky that D.J. Manly first contacted me 19 months ago and asked me if I wanted to collaborate. I’d always seen myself as a lone wolf – and so did D.J. – but he had an idea and sent me the first few chapters via email. I loved it.

I’ve said this before so I am not telling tales out of school, but D.J.’s idea of two romance writers meeting over the Internet and falling in love just grabbed me.

He wrote the chapters from Thomas’ point of view and his growing feelings for Marcus.

As I read the pages, I realized I’d be writing from Marcus’ POV.

I emailed D.J. saying I couldn’t get into the name Marcus, would he mind if I changed it to Matt.

He didn’t mind at all and I jumped all over the story that became Black Point. The funny thing is, I’ve sat in rooms with people and had difficult collaborations, but not this time.

A friend of mine is an author and approached me to write a book with her. She had a wonderful idea but presented me with sloppily-written pages and inserted A.J. – SEX SCENE NEEDED HERE.

I don’t write like that. Neither does D.J. Thank God.

The sex scenes must be organic to the work, I think.

She also freaked when I did write the first sex scene – a blow job. She thought it was dirty.

I knew right away we couldn’t work together. It saved our friendship and our sanity.

To write in any genre, it’s important that you both have a love for it. If one author is squeamish about explicit sex, you are doomed to failure.

Trust me on that.

If one of you has trouble writing and the other keeps pulling the wagon, ditto, as Patrick Swayze was fond of saying in Ghost.

Oh, D.J. and I didn’t always agree, but it was one point we argued and D.J. turned out to be right. I think the success of any collaboration lies in trust.

At some point, one of you is gonna jump the shark. So somebody has to be unafraid to paddle the canoe back to the right pool of water. Sometimes it’s me, sometimes it’s D.J. To be honest, it doesn’t happen much with us, because we seem to be so in tune.

I trust D.J.’s heart and his mind. He loves the characters we have created as much as I do. As we wrap up the final work on our 15th book together, Blood Eclipse 4: Apocalypse, I find it hard to do anything except think about Rory, Carden, Dennis and Thiago.

We have become so comfortable writing together now, our styles blend so well even our editor can’t tell who wrote what. Neither can many of our readers.

I think this is the sign of a successful series. I’ve had conversations with other authors about their collaborations and from what I see I am lucky. Some collaborations become volatile and painful. I feel especially lucky because I now also have a fantastic partnership with Stephani Hecht.

We have the same wonderful discussions, nutting out ideas, leaving each other to float and dream and when sharks approach, we yell, “Ahoy!”

As D.J. and I wind up work on Apocalypse, I feel a sense of sadness saying goodbye to our characters. This is our last book in this particular series but D.J. and I have many more lined up. It’s just so hard to say goodbye.

I think this is a good sign though, that the characters cling to me, and I to them. We play so nicely together.

Aloha oe,

A.J.

Currently listening:
Heart Full of Wine/Chocolates & Cigarettes
By Angus & Julia Stone
Release date: 2007-03-19

January 1st, 2010: Mingo McLoud’s New Guy is Hot, Sexy and…WANTED

When Mingo met Jason, he thought this was it…except that Jason, apart from being sexy, hot, mysterious and mercurial, is a WANTED man… 

                                                                                  

WANTED

A new XXX-rated M/M Romantic Mystery Novel 

by A.J. Llewellyn

Purchase

Honolulu forensic accountant Mingo McCloud’s lover has cheated on him again. To escape his heartbreak, a severely depressed Mingo moves to the North Shore of Oahu. Eager to start a new life and to forget, Mingo soon learns that Turtle Bay might be the home of big surf, but it also has even bigger secrets. He catches the eye of a mysterious stranger, Jason, a sexy lone wolf with a troubled, sketchy past. The two become embroiled in a tempestuous love affair that turns dangerous when Mingo discovers Jason is spying on him.

Involved in his first big murder case, Mingo needs all his emotional resources to help find a missing young housewife…yet his private life just turned deadly. He has no idea why Jason would be tracking his every move—or even who hired him. Determined to find the truth, he hires big black, bad French former mercenary, Francois, to help him…and discovers shocking truths…Mingo McCloud has gone from wanting to wanted.

Click here for an excerpt.

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