#Poll Does Stormy Weather Make Good Romance? (#giveaway #mmromance)

It’s been pouring here in Northern California. We’re in a drought situation, so we really need it, but it’s no fun driving in the rain. I love hearing the rain on the roof when I’m snug and warm at home.

Of course extreme weather can offer some nice opportunities for romance. I have a scene in Rarer Than Rubies where the main characters are stuck in a little hut during a monsoon rain. Talk about setting the mood. It worked perfectly for Trent and Reed–it was their first time together, way back when.  In Snow Job, my two boys are stuck in a cabin for Christmas when the power goes out and they have to keep each other warm. Then Zack and Monty go a few steps farther and it’s sizzling!

What kind of weather do you think makes the best setting for romance, and why? Leave a comment for a chance  to win a copy of your choice of Rarer Than Rubies (hot in Thailand) or Snow Job (Christmas in a cold climate).

 

EML_SnowJob_covertn      RarerThanRubies_pr2

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#Nanowrimo Update: At 50k and still going strong #amwriting

Winner-2014-Facebook-ProfileI hit the 50k mark and validated my NaNo novel last night. Still working away at it, but I thought you might enjoy reading the last paragraph I wrote before I realized I was over 50k.

Mike wasn’t answering his phone. Or he was just ignoring Beau. But Beau knew where Mike ate lunch at least four days a week, so he staked out a table at the Pot Sticker Emporium, a few blocks away from the Daily’s office. As Beau contemplated a doughy dumpling, the pieces fell into place. Mike was almost exactly potsticker-shaped. Apparently you were what you ate. Beau rethought all those blowjobs he’d given Jake.

Maybe he shouldn’t have swallowed.

 

Anyway, I’ve still got at least 25k to get this one finished, so I’ll just get back to writing.

Stay tuned for more updates on One Marine, One Hero (working title).

How is NaNo going for you this year?

FleetWeek14_00018     military-eye-candy-9

#NaNoWriMo at the 10k mark — Assess your villain

nanocrestIt’s November 6. Just past the 20% mark for the month.

How are you doing?

If you’re getting in your 1667 words per day, you should have hit 10,000 words yesterday.

Maybe you haven’t quite gotten there. I give you a huge congratulations if you have written anything!

For some of you, this may be the first time you’ve gotten a lot of words down in a concerted effort. For others this is old hat.

tenk_earnedLet’s take a step back and see what we’ve written and what we’re planning over the next few days.

How Bad is Your Big Bad?

For a story to keep readers reading, it needs a constant level of tension, conflict or worry. What’s going to happen? Will the hero avoid disaster? Will he achieve his goal? Will the right two people get together?

If your story doesn’t have you excited to write what’s next, chances are the reader isn’t going to be on the edge of his seat to turn the page (or screen) either.

Let’s take a look at the villain or opponent.

If he/she/it isn’t a big enough concern, then let’s find a way to make it bigger and badder.

4 Elements Every Opponent MUST Have

scaredIt has to be bigger and badder than your hero.

The hero and the reader should constantly be afraid of this opponent. If not, then there’s not much tension. Of course, readers are going to know your hero wins in the end, but you need to make that hero work for that win.

The opponent must hurt the hero or someone/something he loves

The opponent has to make his life hell in the meantime. Whether it’s physical pain or emotional pain, the opponent must have the power to inflict it and you must show this in the story. The pain or damage must escalate up to the final battle/conflict scene where it’s do or die.

The stakes must be high

If your hero’s goal is wimpy, the reader isn’t going to be engaged while he fights for it. Make sure the consequences of not getting the goal or high.

Death should be a real and overwhelming possibility. Whether it’s physical or emotional death, make it seem real to the characters and the reader.

The opponent must believe he is right or justified in his pursuit of the goal or hero

Unless you’re writing a James Bond novel, the opponent has to have a goal that can be justified to the point where the reader might believe it too. Making your opponent some psycho with no reason for his behavior isn’t something the reader can get behind and feel some inner conflict.

Of course, you don’t want the reader on the villain’s side, but if the villain’s goal is so outrageous, your reader is not going to necessarily believe the worst will actually happen. Give the opponent a goal and an appropriate motivation.

Now take a look at what you’ve written and what you’ve got planned for future scenes. Take a look at your character sheets, including your opponent sheet. (If you don’t have an opponent sheet, make one today!)

Don’t forget, you can download my free story and character planning worksheets, invaluable for creating rich, layered characters and conflicts.

Ask yourself these questions:

sad-writerWhat are the stakes here? What kind of death does that opponent threaten? Loss of a loved one, a job, his own death, a planet dies or explodes…

You get the idea. If your hero isn’t concerned about some type of death, find something to scare him with. Right now. Write it on a Post-it.

  • Joe’s biggest fear is that Henry is going to kill him.
  • Fred’s biggest fear is that Rachel is going to get the promotion and ruin his career.
  • Senator Nolan is afraid of losing the election to his opponent who will put forward terrible legislation.

What’s the worst thing that will happen if the opponent wins?

Can the opponent actually achieve these things and how?

Make some of those fears come close to happening. Give the hero a few close shaves. His car is run off the road. The senator’s opponent runs a negative campaign full of lies. The boss gives Rachel an important project while Fred has to deal with some BS.

How will he hurt the hero or his loved ones in the process? Make a list. Really. Write them down and place them in the story, whether it’s your outline or scene list.

 

What is driving the opponent?

Revenge, money, love? All those familiar motivations for crimes and misdeeds. Pick one.

If you don’t have a character sheet for the opponent, make one right now. Even if it’s an organization or nebulous concept. Ideally, you should know your villain as well as you know  the hero. Why? Because you need for the hero to know and fear the villain for his own legitimate and overwhelming reasons.

Give your opponent a backstory and dig into not only his goal and motivation, but how far he’ll go to achieve it. Who or what will he destroy? Why does he do it? How would he explain it if Anderson Cooper interviewed him? Why is the hero in his way? How will he get around the hero?

An opponent who has his own strengths and weaknesses can make a more complicated and interesting story. What if the opponent is the hero’s childhood friend? What if he wants the exact same thing the hero wants? What inner conflict can the villain cause for the hero? Would the hero ever want the other guy to win? If you’re writing a romance, you may have the hero doubt himself when he compares himself with a rival.

All of these techniques add layers to the opponent, the hero, and to the conflict between them. They will keep readers reading. They will also add many new ideas for scenes for you to write!

 

If you cannot answer those questions, then sit down for a while until you can.

Unless your opponent or his actions are an overwhelming and constantly overhanging fear, there’s not enough for the hero to worry about.

If you already have answers to all of those questions, ask yourself:

How can I make it even worse, scarier, more likely?

Bump up the stakes and you’ll keep the hero and the reader constantly worried, which moves the story forward and drags the reader right along with it.

Get more NaNoWriMo tips in How to Be a NaNoWriMo winner!

 

Vote for a title for EM Lynley’s Precious Gems 4

photo-Men-523910511I got a lot of entries for the title contest for Precious Gems Series book 4.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a name. After brainstorming with beta readers, I’ve got some new options and selected the most relevant of the entries from the blog and Facebook. (Expect an email if you won a prize)

So, now it’s time to vote.

And there is a giveaway here too.  First, vote in the poll. Then, leave a comment telling me which title you like best. I’ll randomly select at least one commenter to win an e-book from my backlist.

Read the blurb, then select the best titles that fit with the blurb, not just the best-sounding title.

thReed Acton has something more difficult to face this time around: a visit from Trent Copeland’s parents. He’s less equipped to handle hugs and holidays than the Taliban or international art thieves. When he’s assigned a case to track down a set of gold Babylonian artifacts looted from the Iraqi National Museum after the 2003 fall of Baghdad, things start to look up. The investigation takes him and Trent to Istanbul and then to an army base on US soil where Reed has to confront the worst demons from his past–his own parents–in order to find out which soldiers have been selling off the smuggled items.

Name My Book Contest, Because I Suck At This

I’m crowdsourcing a title for the 4th book in my award-winning Precious Gems Series (mystery/adventure/romance), I hope you’ll play along. There will be prizes.

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How it Works:

gallery_ARCHEOLOGY_MESOPOTAMIA, ASSYRIA, BABYLON, UR_5316-2-Goblet,-Iran,-1200-BI’ll be taking suggestions here, then I’ll collect my favorites and have an open vote on my blog.  .

  • The title should fit well with the titles of previous books (Rarer than Rubies, Italian Ice, Jaded).
  • The theme is gold this time around and the story takes place in Istanbul, LA, and Texas.
  • Read the blurb below to get an idea of the book’s themes (family, second chances, love)
  • Limit of 3 entries per person
  • Leave your title suggestions as a comment and use your real email address in the comment form (no need to leave it in the comment)
  • In the event of two people sending the same title, the earliest entry will be taken.
  • Entries are due October 27, 2014

Prizes

  • If your title makes it to voting: e-book from my backlist
  • Chance to have a character named for you in the book (or choose a name if you’re too shy), for a few random entrants
  • If your title wins the voting: print copy of your choice of my books available in print.

( I can’t promise your title will be chosen, since my publisher has final word on titles, but if it’s a good one, chances are they will love it!)

 

About the Book

The Precious Gems Series is a little like Romancing the Stone meets Indiana Jones.

14627Here’s the blurb. If you can incorporate one of the themes into the title it’s more likely to work. I’ve also put some photos of items they are looking for or locations in the book to inspire your creativity.

Draft blurb

Reed Acton has something more difficult to face this time around: a visit from Trent Copeland’s parents. He’s less equipped to handle hugs and holidays than the Taliban or international art thieves. When he’s assigned a case to track down a set of gold Babylonian artifacts looted from the Iraqi National Museum after the 2003 fall of Baghdad, things start to look up. The investigation takes him and Trent to Istanbul and then to an army base on US soil where Reed has to confront the worst demons from his past–his own parents–in order to find out which soldiers have been selling off the smuggled items.

96453158e1e4a0860d87b33a9bfdf883 001The Egyptian Bazaar is Istanbul's spice market

Out and Proud: Unconditional Surrender #gay #military boxset now available 99c intro pricing

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Strong. Sexy. Sizzling.

There’s nothing like a man in uniform, and thirteen of today’s hottest gay romance authors are celebrating military heroes and the men brave enough to love them.

These brand-new novellas feature all branches of the service and offer something for every reader. Almost 300,000 never before published words!

 

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Grab your military men NOW, because this amazing bundle is 99c only until October 21.

Amazon US Amazon Worldwide UK, CA, FR, DE, JP, AU, and just about everywhere), iTunes, All Romance Ebooks, B&N

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Here’s what you’ll find in the Unconditional Surrender Box Set.
This amazing bundle is just 99 cents until 21 October, so grab your military men NOW.

 

Kerry Adrienne – Cruise Control
One Maserati brings Parker and Blake together, but will Blake slow down and discover the important things aren’t in the fast lane?

Annabeth Albert – Resilient Heart
When a wounded soldier is forced to accept help from his former best friend, both men discover the true strength of their entwined hearts.

Keira Andrews – Arctic Fire
Can an army captain who can’t forget Afghanistan make new memories with a ranger in the Arctic?

Brit Blaise – Storm Out
An Army Ranger suffering from PTSD finds coming out the biggest storm he’s ever faced.

Brit Quote

Cassandra Carr – Civilian Master
Clay’s home for some R&R after a Special Ops mission goes terribly wrong. Can Flynn help him find his true self?

 

Lia Davis – His Guarded Heart
Being Senator Beckett’s bodyguard while staying out of his bed becomes Judd’s biggest challenge as passion ignites between the men.

Sasha Devlin – Hometown Hero
Sparks fly when injured Marine Colin returns home …and ends up in the arms of the man he left behind.

Rhi Etzweiler – Blood & Peyote
“I almost did it, Api. I had the Glock in my mouth and my finger on the trigger.”

EM Quote

Lucy Felthouse – Desert Heat
Their love is forbidden by rules, religion and risk. Yet they still can’t resist.

Amelia C. Gormley – The Houseboy: Initiation
Being Fowler Vale’s houseboy may open more doors than Bryce ever dreamed possible.

Cat Grant – The Only One Who Cares
Committed couple David and Josh have overcome years of struggle to arrive at their happily-ever-after. But what happens when fate has one last killer right hook in store?

EM Lynley – Irresistible Forces
DADT kept them apart, but old flames reignite as Logan and Brody succumb to irresistible forces.

L.A. Witt – Flight Risk
Sex with a co-worker is all fun and games until your friendship crashes and burns…

Kerry Quote

Order today:

Amazon US

Amazon Worldwide UK, CA, FR, DE, JP, AU, and just about everywhere)

iTunes,

All Romance Ebooks,

B&N

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Jaded & Out of the Gate are Rainbow Awards Finalists! #lgbt @dreamspinners #amreading

FinalistMDWhen I saw the full list of books entered in the Rainbow Awards this year I stopped breathing for a moment. There was a lot of competition in the categories where I had entered  books. So, you can imagine my shock and delight when I got emails from Elisa Rolle telling me that I had two books in the finals. I was especially thrilled because I didn’t enter any books last year because I didn’t have money to cover the entrance fees.

Both books also received Honorable Mention for receiving at least 36/40 points from at least one of the judges!

 

Jaded_medJADED made it to the finals in the Rainbow Awards for Best Gay Mystery. This book is very special to me. It’s set in Japan, where I lived for 5 years in my other life as a financial markets economist. I’ve wanted to set a book here for a long time, and everything came together for this book, part of my Precious Gems Series. I’m very proud of how JADED turned out and think it’s one of my best books yet. An extra special doomo arigatoo gozaimasu to Thea Nishimori who was my Japan beta to make sure everything was accurate and up-to-date. The beautiful Anne Cain is in the 3rd round of the Cover Contest, so it could use your vote.
Thanks to Dreamspinner Press big sale, JADED is 25% off until 10/10, so it’s a good time to grab a copy! (http://bit.ly/dsp-eml)

 

 

Out of the Gate 400x600OUT OF THE GATE is another book that’s very close to my heart.

I had been dreaming about writing this particular story for a long time. I’m an unrepentant horse lover since childhood and I was dying to write about horse racing. I got to hang out for a month with a local trainer at Golden Gate Fields for research, asking a million questions. Out of the Gate is about a British actor in Hollywood who falls for a racehorse trainer when he and his friends buy a racehorse. I was so surprised how popular this book became. It was a story I wanted to write for several years, but I had no idea how much readers would enjoy it. It’s my biggest selling novel since my debut novel in 2009. It’s blown me away.

It’s on sale 25% rebate at All Romance eBooks during October, so it’s the perfect time to get your copy! (http://bit.ly/are-gate2)

6 Days to Unconditional Surrender – Excerpt from “Irresistible Forces” #amreading

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Just 6 days until the release of UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER, the mega-boxed set of 13 all-new novellas of m/m military men from your favorite gay romance authors including Cat Grant, LA Witt, Amelia Gormley, Annabeth Albert, Kerry Adrienne, Brit Blaise, Cassandra Carr, Lia Davis, Keira Andrews, Rhi Etzwhiler, Sasha Devlin and more!

Full list of authors and stories can be found here.

 

The set is only 99 cents (77p) for pre-orders. Once it’s released, the price will go up,
so don’t delay… you get the idea.

Amazon US Amazon Worldwide UK, CA, FR, DE, JP, AU, and just about everywhere), iTunes,
All Romance Ebooks, B&N

 

Today, I’m sharing an excerpt from Irresistible Forces, my own entry in this set.

 

EM Quote

 

 

Irresistible Forces

Army Ranger Logan Flynn thought getting captured by Taliban was the worst thing that could happen, until his old Ranger School crush Brody Mitchell is part of the team tasked to retrieve him. Long-suppressed emotions resurface post-DADT, until something worse from Logan’s past threatens to derail their chances for a lasting relationship.

 

 

EXCERPT:

 

Logan Flynn was near the end of the row between two empty beds. Even in partial profile, Brody recognized him. Even forty pounds lighter and with a dark shaggy beard against pale skin. Propped up with some pillows, he had his left arm in a sling.

 

He used to know every inch and contour of Logan Flynn’s body. Not from the kind of intimacy he might have wanted but because they had spent so much time together. In the barracks, the inevitable communal showers, and the long days and short nights that practically defined Ranger School.

 

How could Brody not have known him instantly even in that filthy Afghan hut?

 

The hospital gown was loose across his shoulders. Shoulders Brody remembered as broad and muscular. Shoulders Brody fell asleep dreaming about touching and kissing and…

 

Seeing him again brought back a rush of emotions Brody thought he was finished with but he’d been mistaken. Maybe it’s been too long for a simple conversation to hurt anymore.

 

He swallowed and tentatively made his way to Logan Flynn’s bed.

 

Or maybe not.

 

Logan didn’t see or hear him approach, even as Brody stood at the foot of his bed. Close up, Flynn looked to be in even worse shape, in the bright unforgiving light of the hospital.

 

“Logan?”

 

No response.

 

“Logan. It’s….”

 

Logan turned toward Brody, looking through him at first, then his eyes focused.

 

“Brody?” The hoarse whisper sent daggers through every nerve in Brody’s body. So familiar, yet so full of pain it hurt to hear him.

 

“Hey.”

 

“Hey.” Finally, Logan smiled. It took a moment for the obvious gladness to make its way from his mouth to his eyes. “Brody.”

 

Brody wished he could hold onto something for dear life. The sound of his name on Logan’s lips sent so many memories—and even more dreams and fantasies—racing through his mind and body. No, don’t think about that. Not now. Not here.

 

“You look good, Logan.”

 

Logan shook his head but he smiled even more broadly. The dark eyes were alive again, bright and lively, now even more of a contrast to the pale skin. “Fuck off.”

 

He was the same old Logan in so many ways, even though he didn’t resemble the man in Brody’s memory at all in others. Getting captured by the Taliban could do that to a guy. Brody grabbed an ugly orange plastic chair and dragged it over to the side of the bed, ignoring its scrape across the floor like nails on a chalkboard. The men in beds across the way stared with narrowed, angry eyes.

 

“So what have you been doing with yourself for the past six years, Flynn?”

 

It had been more than six years since he had last seen Logan Flynn, not counting the previous day’s rescue. Before that, it had been the day after graduation from Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia. For seven weeks of solid hell they’d been buddies. You were never supposed to be out of sight of your Ranger buddy, ever. They’d been everything to each other—almost everything—and then they hadn’t set eyes on each other since. It had been some cruel twist of logistics and staffing that they’d never ended up in the same unit or base during the intervening years.

 

“Well, lately, a bit of sightseeing.” Logan grinned. “You?”

 

“The same. I heard Afghanistan was the place to be, so I booked a trip. Beats Iraq.”

 

“Really? I though Iraq was the hot ticket.”

 

“Oh, it was. But that party’s over.” Brody paused. What the hell else was there to say? They had nothing in common anymore. A few shared weeks six years ago didn’t make them friends. “Glad you’re doing okay.” Best not to ask, just assume.

 

“Th-thanks. For bringing us—me—back.”

 

Brody just nodded. He started to get up.

 

“How’s Staub?”

 

Not fast enough. “He’s doing good. Causing trouble with the nurses. I heard that if you hadn’t treated him so quickly he might not be in as good shape. Coulda bled out on the bird.”

 

“Glad I could save someone.” Logan’s toneless voice almost brought tears to Brody’s eyes.

 

Logan frowned at Brody for a moment and then the corners of his mouth came back to neutral. He didn’t break the gaze and Brody waited, thinking Logan was going to say something.

 

“Brody….”

 

He’d been waiting six years for Logan to say his name like that.

 

Pre-order before the price goes up or you’ll never forgive yourself!

Amazon US Amazon Worldwide UK, CA, FR, DE, JP, AU, and just about everywhere), iTunes,
All Romance Ebooks, B&N

 

****

 

EM at GRL book signingEM Lynley writes gay erotic romance. She loves books where the hero gets the guy and the loving is 11 on a scale of 10. A Rainbow Award winner and EPIC finalist, EM has worked in high finance, high tech, and in the wine industry, though she’d rather be writing hot, romantic man-on-man action. She spent 10 years as an economist and financial analyst, including a year as a White House Staff Economist, but only because all the intern positions were filled. Tired of boring herself and others with dry business reports and articles, her creative muse is back and naughtier than ever. She has lived and worked in London, Tokyo and Washington, D.C., but the San Francisco Bay Area is home for now.

 

She is the author of Sex, Lies & Wedding Bells, the Precious Gems series from Dreamspinner Press, and the Rewriting History series starring a sexy jewel thief, among others.

 

Visit her online WebsiteBlogFacebookTwitterNewsletter

 

 

 

 

Countdown to NaNoWriMo: What’s Holding You Back?

nanocrestIt’s the end of September. You’ve got about a month until NaNoWriMo starts. Seems like plenty of time, right? Some of you are wondering why I’m already talking about NaNo when it doesn’t even start until November 1.

Because writing and finishing a book takes more than just the 30 days you’re planning to spend working on it during November. If this is your first time considering doing NaNoWriMo, or you’ve tried before and didn’t quite make your 50k, stay tuned because I’ll be sharing with you my tips, advice and some tricks to help you be ready to start writing on November 1, and to get 50k (or a finished story) by November 30.

writing-center-wordlieTake the quick poll below so I can see what your biggest concerns are about participating. I’ll be addressing as many of these as I can before and during November, to help you hit 50k.

What makes me an expert, you may be asking. And that’s a great question. I’ve been doing NaNo for about ten years now, and have hit the 50k goal every year. Most years I’ve finished an even longer novel by November 30. And these novels have been contracted and released by a publisher—not self-published. (Bound for Trouble was my 2013 NaNo project.)

I’ve collected the worksheets and techniques I use for developing a novel into an easy-to-use novel planning kit, How to Be a NaNoWriMo Winner.

Giveaway: Leave a comment for the chance to win a copy of my book How to Be a NaNoWriMo Winner

Like a little spanking with your suspense? #mmromance

Read or download an extensive 10 chapter sample of
Bound for Trouble!

If you love gay romance wrapped up in mystery and suspense, you’ll love this one!

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“well paced, well written, gripping” — Dani, My Fiction Nook

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Daniel Deke Kane is a broken man, facing the end of his career in the FBI. He s on desk duty after a botched drug raid left the suspects and two children dead. He’s got one chance to prove himself, or the only thing he’ll be investigating is the Help Wanted ads.

Ryan Griffiths has been on the run for ten years. Forced onto the streets when his father kicked him out, Ryan earns his living in other men’s beds. Finding his john dead in a hotel room drives him under the radar until a favorite client gives him a chance at a safe, clean life. But Ryan’s relatively stable new world shatters when Deke Kane catches up with him.

When Deke s tasked to take down a drug dealer with terrorist ties and a taste for the dark side of BDSM, his only chance to get close is the suspect s interest in Ryan, and he convinces Ryan to become a confidential informant. In return, Deke offers Ryan immunity from his past. As Ryan falls under the drug lord’s domination, Deke finds himself falling for Ryan.

Now Deke has to choose between Ryan’s safety and his own future.

“BDSM fiction is not my first choice of subgenre, but I love it when it’s done well, and Lynley shows the psychological and emotional depths of the lifestyle very well through Deke and Ryan”–5 stars, Velvet Panic Reviews

 

 

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Start reading below or Buy from your favorite book retailers, including:

 

Buy at Amazon

Buy at Dreamspinner Press

Buy at All Romance Ebooks

Buy at B&N

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Click on the gray arrows to scroll through pages, or read the preview here if the widget isn’t working for you.