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Friday, August 29, 2014

When the chips are down, there’s nobody there.


Daisy Matthews grew up on the streets of Chicago, and if she learned anything, it was that she could count on no one to help her, ever. She knows she has to tough it out, protect herself, and when necessary, protect anyone she cares about. All by herself. No one else will do it for her. 

Hubs and I have loved writing Daisy and her story. We first introduced her in Cassie’s Hope (Riders Up, Book One) – she’s the teenage waif in the group home where Cassie worked before she went back to training horses. We’ve known so many kids like her across our social service and academic careers. 

There’s a special kind of resilience that comes from growing up that way; kids who don’t develop it probably don’t make it, and we’ve known some of those, too. She doesn’t know who her father is. Her mother, who died of an overdose when Daisy was little, was a prostitute. Fortunately for Daisy, her rock-solid grandmother took her in, but that grandmother died when Daisy was eleven. Unadoptable for whatever reason, she ended up in a group home through her early teenage years, until Cassie and Clint Travers became her foster parents. 

We’ve dedicated this book to two of our ancestors who faced severe social stigma more than a century ago: my great grandfather, who was born to an unmarried teenage logging camp cook in the Pennsylvania mountains, and hubby’s great grandmother, a quarter-blood Cherokee in an era when the family tried to hide that information out of shame. 

Maybe we gave Daisy an extra boost when we paired her with a handsome wealthy hunk in his early forties, but we think she deserves a bang-up happy ending for her determination, grit, and courage in the face of present day social stigma. We hope you’ll agree. 

Willow Smoke Riders Up, Book Three  


B&B Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9907476-0-4
Romantic Suspense, 87,000 words
Heat rating: three flames (explicit sex, m/f)  


When the chips are down, there's nobody there. Willowy blond Daisy Matthews has survived the Chicago streets with this mantra but is unprepared for the much older Nick Underwood's urgent pursuit. The wealthy businessman receives a thoroughbred in payment for a bad debt and is thrust into Daisy's world. She teaches him about horse racing; he teaches her about love. When Daisy's seamy brother-in-law threatens Nick's safety, she doggedly tries to stop him by herself, but flees to the familiar streets when he attacks. Can Nick find her in time – and if he does, will she still want him?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Do authors need a support system?

Normally i blog on the 19th but my internet decided not to cooperate that day so I'm blogging this on one of the empty blog days for MSA. Better late then never right?

Writing is a mostly solitary venture. I work out ideas alone in my mind and I spend a lot of quality time with pen and paper and also my computer. Composing a story is not a team sport. Sure, I've done collaborations with other authors but when it came down to writing my piece of the storyline I still did it alone. So that brings me to today's question. Can authors do everything on their own and still be successful or do they need a support system? I'm not talking about the writing and the promo and stuff. That will always be mostly the author's responsibility. I'm talking about behind the scenes. Can a writer with everyone in their family against them still come out on top or are they destined for failure?

I'm going through some pretty drastic changes in my life right now and I can admit that I've never had support for my writing from my family. In fact I hid my writing as long as possible from them because I knew how they would react. I never go to cons or events anywhere near my home town and I use an alternate version of my real name as a pen name so as not to 'embarrass' my family. After years of dealing with this though, they some how found out about me being published and when they found one of my books after some online searching the reaction i got was not what I hoped for.

I dreamed of being a writer from the time I was very young. I still have notebooks from elementary school full of poetry and early attempts at novella length pieces. Having the courage to submit my writing and getting it accepted for publication in 2006 was one of the highlights of my life, overshadowed only by the birth of my three children. When I finally got to hold my first print book I actually cried. It was like holding one of my babies. I think writers put a bit of their heart and soul into every story. I know I do. It's like putting a tiny piece of me out into the world for everyone to see and critique.

Anyway the reception was less than stellar. I was met with total disgust, anger and disappoint. I was accused of purposely trying to embarrass my family by writing such a taboo subject as sex. That was the main sticking point. It didn't even progress into genre or pairing. None of my loved ones could get past the idea that I liked and wrote about sex. It didn't matter if the couple in my book was married or in a long term committed relationship. The fact that I admitted to liking what I wrote and saying that I was proud of everyone of my books put a look of revulsion on their faces the likes of which I've never seen before or hope to see again. You'd have thought I was on trial for creating child pornography or something equally as heinous. I explained that all my characters are over the age of 18 and all the acts performed in the stories are consensual. It made no difference. So now I admit to being in quite a bit of a funk. As if life hasn't been smacking me around enough lately. I've caught myself wondering if it's worth the heartache? If what I'm writing is making any type of a difference to anyone. I know it makes me happy. It helps me relieve stress and I hope my readers enjoy what I'm creating but the fact that if I continue to write will basically leave me shunned among my family is a crushing blow to my ego and my muse. I've been told I'm selfish and stupid for refusing to quit. I don't see achieving a life long dream and wanting to hang onto it as selfish or hateful. You might as well ask me to cut off my hand or tear out my brain. The writing and the stories and characters live inside me. They are as much a part of me and my arms and legs. To stop writing altogether would literally tear my heart out. On the other hand my fanily is doing a good job of ripping me to shreds on their own. I'm in a quandry and I can;t say that I like the feeling one bit. I know writers that have their family's approval, some of them even co-write with their spouses. I don;t know what that feels like. I've always had to keep my inspiration in the closet somewhat and I've dealt with that. To have friends and family show support and eagerness for what I create is a totally foriegn concept to me but one I would gladly love to experience.

Now, back to my original question. Can a writer survive long term without any support? If your family hates what you do are their others you can turn to, to take their place with the acceptance we all strive for a crave so desperately? If not do we eventually crumble and have to watch our muse curl up and die? If someone can answer this I'm all ears.

Beth Wylde
August 28th, 2014 9:54 pm

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Get on Your High Horse: Spaghetti Western is Coming Soon! #cowboy #romance @emlynley

I’m thrilled to share the cover and tell you about the latest installment in my Delectable Series, featuring men in the world of food and wine.  It’s fun to pair up opposites and see where the rough edges will crop up—and how they try to smooth them over. So it was a real joy to set my chef Riley Emerson, fresh from several years of working in Paris, against Colby Zane, born-and-bred cattle rancher who didn’t know a patisserie from a potholder—till he met Riley.

The fun didn’t stop there, because I set the story on the Rocking Z Ranch in Colorado. I’ve only been to the state once and it left such an impression on me that I couldn’t wait to find a story that belonged there. 

And horses… yes there are quite a few in this one. The Rocking Z has been forced to bring in paying guests who come for the fresh air, gorgeous scenery and horseback riding. They certainly didn’t come for the grub, but after they hire Riley to fancy-up the menu, all that might change.
Check out the beautiful cover by LC Chase, who found me a palomino just like the one Colby rides

The fun didn’t stop there, because I set the story on the Rocking Z Ranch in Colorado. I’ve only been to the state once and it left such an impression on me that I couldn’t wait to find a story that belonged there. 

And horses… yes there are quite a few in this one. The Rocking Z has been forced to bring in paying guests who come for the fresh air, gorgeous scenery and horseback riding. They certainly didn’t come for the grub, but after they hire Riley to fancy-up the menu, all that might change.
Check out the beautiful cover by LC Chase, who found me a palomino just like the one Colby rides

The fun didn’t stop there, because I set the story on the Rocking Z Ranch in Colorado. I’ve only been to the state once and it left such an impression on me that I couldn’t wait to find a story that belonged there.
And horses… yes there are quite a few in this one. The Rocking Z has been forced to bring in paying guests who come for the fresh air, gorgeous scenery and horseback riding. They certainly didn’t come for the grub, but after they hire Riley to fancy-up the menu, all that might change.
Check out the beautiful cover by LC Chase, who found me a palomino just like the one Colby rides.

Spaghetti Western, by EM Lynley
220 pages
Release date: September 17 from Dreamspinner Press

Pre-order from Dreamspinner Press

Cordon-Blue trained pastry chef Riley Emerson arrives in Aspen, Colorado for a summer season at the best restaurant in town, only to discover his jerk of a boyfriend has dumped him, leaving his heart and his summer plans in tatters. Doubting himself and longing for a change of pace, he takes a low-paying position as chef at a guest ranch, the Rocking Z. The scenery is gorgeous, but he expects that nature up close and personal can’t hold a candle to his exciting Paris lifestyle.

When born-and-bred cattle rancher Colby Zane spots a newcomer letting himself be pawed at by a passel of horny cowboys at Aspen’s Club Rawhide, he doesn’t think twice before rushing in, throwing the guy over his shoulder, and rescuing him from the volatile situation. Sober, Riley Emerson turns out to be sweet and sexy, but not interested in more than a one-night stand with Colby. Initially disdainful of the guest ranch side of the business, Colby’s over the moon when Riley late arrives as the new cook on his family’s ranch

But all’s not well at the Rocking Z. Unsurmountable financial problems force them to rely on a cash infusion from an outside investor, Fitz Wellington. Only Fitz is hot for Colby, and he won’t sign on the dotted line without some very personal incentives. The future of the ranch is at stake, and Colby’s just desperate enough to go along, but saving the Z might mean losing Riley.

(Amazon pre-order coming soon)


“I’ve got an idea. Just a little change of plans.” Colby took Riley’s hand and led him into the barn. The scent of animals was only slightly countered by the grassy aroma of fresh hay. The barn had high ceilings with a row of stalls along one side, a fenced-in pen at one end, and a few rooms—probably offices—at the other end. A few weak bulbs made a feeble attempt to illuminate the space, but the gloom prevailed. Once Riley’s eyes got used to the low level of light he saw horses moving around the stalls.

Colby went into the third one and Riley waited outside while he unsaddled that horse and the one in the next stall. “We’ll take Granite instead. He’s down at the other end.”

Riley peered into the stall as Colby entered and put the bridle on the horse and led him into the aisle. He was big and stocky, and a pretty dark dappled gray. “He’s part draft horse, so he’s real sturdy.” Colby saddled him, checking the girth twice. “Hop up.”

“Uh, he’s really big.”

“Trust me.” He pulled out the stirrup while Riley stabbed at it with his left boot, finally getting it in with some help from Colby.

As Riley hoisted himself up, Colby pushed from below, one hand firm on Riley’s ass with the right amount of leverage to get him into the saddle without flying off the other side. Damn, he was really far from the ground on this horse. Not that Riley was afraid of heights, but he estimated the chance of falling off as extremely high until he had some practice. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. Was getting laid worth cracking his head open? Or worse, embarrassing himself?

Riley glanced down at Colby, his sexy plaid cowboy, and decided it was. And it would be so much better than last time because he wouldn’t be half-drunk.

“Now, kick your feet out of the stirrups.”

Riley followed directions, and Colby swung himself up behind Riley, settling against his back and reaching around to take the reins.

He felt warm and strong and very very good as he practically cradled Riley and got Granite walking.

Every time Colby shifted the reins, his arm brushed against Riley’s side, and Colby’s breath was warm against Riley’s right ear. It was perfect. They made their way through the little stand of trees beyond the barn, leaves ghostly in the pale moonlight.

“Where’re we going?” Riley asked, though he really didn’t care.

“Not too far. Just up to that rise. Can you see it?” Colby pointed but it was too dark to make out anything. “Lovely view.”

Riley refrained from mentioning it was dark and there wasn’t a view of much.

From the dark a cow mooed suddenly, and Riley gave a start. Colby’s arms tightened around him, pulling him close, steadying him against a firm chest and abs. “I guess we’re not really alone.”

“Never alone on a ranch, just out of sight of everyone else.”

Riley nodded, swaying with Colby to the horse’s slight rocking motion as Granite walked along an invisible trail. He heard only the soft clopping of hooves, Colby’s breath, and the buzz of a million insects. The saddle creaked occasionally. Colby didn’t speak, and though Riley felt the need to break the silence, he restrained himself. It was nice not talking, just listening, aware of everything around him for the first time since he’d come to the Rocking Z.

“You ready for me to pick up the pace?” Colby’s voice was a soft whisper.

“Fine with me.”

By some invisible communication, Granite broke into a slow trot. A bouncy trot, but Colby held Riley firmly enough to keep him from bobbing on the smooth, hard surface of the saddle. Another signal encouraged Granite into an easy canter, rocking his passengers.

The wind whistled in Riley’s ears and fluttered his hair. He and Colby moved back and forth in an easy rhythm with each stride. Kind of like sex, but intimate in a whole different way. Riley loved it. He felt safe and comfortable in Colby’s saddle.

The trail curled uphill and Granite slowed his pace, to Riley’s disappointment. He was slightly out of breath from the sheer excitement of the short ride.

“We’re almost there. Another few minutes.” Colby reined the horse upward toward a rock formation that had been impossible to see from below. As they came around a bend, Riley spotted a campfire.

“Looks like we’ve got company?”

“Not if I can help it.” Colby stopped Granite and slid off. “You can bring your leg around the front and slide down, or put your foot in the stirrup and swing down from there.”

“Maybe I’ll just slide this time.” Riley found it harder than he expected to bring his leg over the pommel and thought he looked like a cheerleader practicing the splits. Finally, he got his legs into the right position and slid down as Colby caught him.

Once he was on the ground, Riley realized the campfire had been set into a fire ring next to a blanket and pillows and a little table. He spotted a bottle of wine and some cupcakes left over from lunch. His heart swelled so much he thought it might burst.

“You set this all up? When?”

“After dinner. I came out here a while ago, set up the fire and everything. I hope it’s okay. Not much privacy, and it’s too far to go into town for a proper date on a weeknight.”

“It’s wonderful. Perfect.”

* * * *
(Amazon pre-order coming soon)

EM 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.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Struggling Through A Book

It's been one of those months. I'm struggling to get through a novel I've been working on for over a year. The characters won't speak to me. The plot is more thick-headed than I am. Each word is harder to come by than the last. I have to reach deep inside to find the right phrasing, and even then I fail myself.

Writers, have you experienced this problem? What do you do to fix it?

I'm taking time off now. I'm going to read and watch good movies and TV. I still walk on the beach at least three days per week, and that helps to sooth my mind. I also work out plot scenarios in my head when I walk, although for this particular book nothing is working.

I hope that it's just a minor setback and the words will come gushing forth soon. Or I'll work on other projects. I won't give up hope.

Here's where to find me on the web:

Elizabeth Black - Facebook

Elizabeth Black - Twitter

Elizabeth Black - Amazon Author Page