Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Eli Easton 2014 to 2015

As originally published on the author’s website

I published my first Eli Easton m/m romance in April 2013, so 2014 was a “year two” for me. That’s the year when newbie enthusiasm faces the realities of the market and the daily work flow, and you either flunk out entirely, settle into a dabblers casual ‘tude, or decide you’re in it for the serious long haul.

As of Dec 2014 I can say that it’s option c—my butt is firmly planted on this piece o’ earth.

In 2014 I published 5 m/m romance books, making 13 total. I had less publications in 2014 than in 2013, but I released my first full-length novel (“The Mating of Michael”).

Many readers of m/m romance also write it, so you will know what I’m talking about when I say there are things an author must consider when deciding whether or not to invest more time in a genre. First: Am I objectively any good at writing it?  Second: Do I really like the genre enough to dedicate a large chunk of my time to building a career in it? Third: Can I continue to come up with fresh ideas and fresh work in this area story after story?

The answer to those questions for me is ‘yes’. I still feel I have something to offer the genre, I still really enjoy writing it, and I’ve gotten some lovely encouragement which makes me feel like my efforts are not in vain.

The m/m romance genre is an interesting beast. If being a ‘romance author’ is not taken very seriously by the general population and/or literary world, writing m/m romance is regarded with even more confusion/embarrassment/disdain. It seems to be the equivalent of saying ‘I write porn’. Now, I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing porn, but that’s not the way I consider my Eli Easton books.

Granted, I am probably in tune with point-oh-one percent of the population in this, but I really don’t see a lot of difference in regular (m/f) romance and gay (m/m) romance. At the heart, a romance is a romance.  Love is a mystery. Why do two people fit together? And how do they figure it out? To me, a romance is about two people discovering their perfect partner—from first meeting, to getting to know one another, to overcoming obstacles, to realizing they want to be together for life. It’s about the dynamics of their personalities and daily lives and how they fit together. It’s about realizing that love is more important than anything else. It’s family and psychology, personal flaws and strengths. It’s chemistry and heat.  In the end, very few things in life impact us the way our choice of life partner does. So what could be a more important subject to write about?

How I landed in the m/m genre is a bit of luck and a bit of good casting. My first exposure to m/m was Anne Rice’s “Cry to Heaven”, which I read in high school and found compellingly unusual and sensual. Later on, there was fan fiction (johnlock and sterek mostly). As a writer, I’ve always been more comfortable with male characters. Never a girly girl, I am sometimes irritated by romance heroines. Bottom line: I find men more interesting creatures and far sexier. So being able to write two male leads works for me on many levels. I also find the social and personal dynamics of being gay interesting. Let’s face it, unless you want to write regency romance, there’s not a lot left in our modern society to keep men and women from doing whatever they damn well please. There are more hoops to jump through, and thus more opportunity for denial, obstacle, and conflict, in a gay relationship. I also like the idea of contributing, however obliquely, to normalizing gay relationships. I am absolutely in favor of gay rights.

As for stigma or literary snobbery, I am old enough to have given up on expecting to rule the world—or the NY Times bestseller list. The fact is, whatever people think of romance, more people read it, and buy it, than any other genre of book. People read it because they enjoy it—it’s an escape, a comfort, entertainment, and a solace. It’s fantasy and an outlet for the love and desire that is often lacking in our ‘real lives’. I am honored to provide that for readers.

On to the old and new!

2014: Looking Back


“Stitch” (gothika anthology, my story “Reparation”), Apr 2014
“The Mating of Michael” (Sex in Seattle #3), Jun 2014
“Heaven Can’t Wait” (in Dreamspinner’s Daily Dose), Jul 2014
“Bones” (gothika anthology, my story “The Bird”), Oct 2014
“Unwrapping Hank” (Christmas novella), Nov 2014

Cons Attended:

Dreamspinner’s author con


“Blame it on the Mistletoe” gets over 2000 rankings on Goodreads

“Unwrapping Hank” hits #1 on Amazon’s gay romance list (briefly, but it was there!)

“The Mating of Michael” wins #1 place in the William Neale Award for Best Gay Contemporary Romance category, 2014 Rainbow Awards and #2 place in “Best Gay Book” overall.

3 audio books published in 2014: “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “A Prairie Dog’s Love Song”, and “Superhero”.

‘Came out’ as Eli Easton under my writing/game design nom de plume of Jane Jensen


2015: Looking Ahead

I plan to spend more time writing in 2015 since I’ve recently finished a huge work project.

Publications Anticipated:

“The Lion and the Crow” (expanded edition), Dreamspinner, Jan 2015
“How to Howl at the Moon” (new paranormal dog shifter series), Love Lane Books, Feb 2015
“Claw” (gothika anthology, my story “The Black Dog”), Apr 2015
A novel for Dreamspinner (TBD– probably Sex in Seattle #4 or Prairie Dog #2), Aug 2015
“gothika #4” (anthology), Oct 2015
Christmas novella 2015 (Micah Springfield’s story), Nov 2015
“Kingdom Come” (murder mystery set in Amish country from Berkeley’s Prime Crime line),- sometime in 2015

Writing in 2015: Kingdom Come #2, Howl at the Moon #2

Cons Attending:

Dreamspinner’s author con
Rainbow Con
Romantic Times


* continue to build name recognition and reader base

* do a better job updating my blog!

* would be lovely to have a #1 on amazon for longer than one day!


That’s it for this year’s round-up. Please let me know your suggestions and if there’s anything you are dying for me to write in 2015!



Eli Easton Bio:

Having been, at various times, and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, the author of metaphysical thrillers, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story.  She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time.  She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens.  All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest writing.

email her at eli at elieaston.com

Eli currently publishes with Dreamspinner Press and has a few self-pubbed titles as well.

An Intimate look at Asexuality

Recently a friend sent me a message with info about asexuality. Some graphs and obscure notes about a bunch of labels that I’ve never heard of. He said I should write an article on it. But since I didn’t know all the lingo I thought it’s probably not a good idea. See I don’t follow labels. Like most of us who are diffbe-the-change-green-277x300erent I spent most of my life thinking there was something wrong with me, trying to fit into the mold that everyone else seems to pop out of with ease.

That’s when it occurred to me that this is really the sort of thing that’s needed. People only learn about what they want to. And asexuality isn’t all that exciting. There is not going to be a big explosion of books with asexual characters. Even I don’t call for a books with asexual characters. Why? Because we aren’t the norm. I don’t expect anyone to understand.

As a gay romance writer I often hear stuff that I have to shake my head at. I find writing sex scenes difficult. Often other writers reply that I’m doing it wrong, or maybe I should try another genre. When I came “out” as asexual I got a few comments that I probably shouldn’t be writing romance. Like I don’t know what love is.

So let’s clear something up. Asexuality is not a lack of interest in personal relationships. I have really close friends. Asexuality is not a hate for sex. I find sex fascinating—between other people, not myself. I’ve had sex, can enjoy sex, even with other people. All my equipment functions just fine. It’s just not my priority. Not even way down on the list. I’d rather read a book or nap.

Asexuality is NOT a choice. Some guy was answering questions about asexuality and saying it was a choice. That’s more than a little infuriating. How long has the debate been going on about homosexuality being a choice? I’ve spent my entire life watching the world team up in pairs or more while I sat on the sidelines confused. What was it about people that made them so interested in holding hands and kissing and “hooking up?” I got a lot of comments as I got older that I was a late bloomer, and I’d meet the right person and everything would change. But the thought was always there—why? Why do I have to want that? What if I don’t? And again, what’s wrong with me?

Now there are lots of new labels. Demisexual, aromatic, etc etc. I started to read up on them and then gave up. I’m too old for labels. Too old to keep questioning why I’m not like everyone else. The only question and answer that is important is—am I happy with who I am? The answer: yes.

I’m no longer searching for a place to fit in. I am what I am. Labels aside, comments aside. I’m an author who loves to write urban fantasy with a side of romance. Shouldn’t that be all that’s important to other writers and readers? *Shrug* HiddenGemLG

First Glimpse By Lissa Kasey

Aki swept up a bottle of McNaughton’s favorite scotch and headed toward the broad Irishman. The man’s shoulders were arched forward, back tense, hair a sexy mess, and face covered with a couple days’ growth. Obviously the cop was on a difficult case. The detective hadn’t yet asked for him, just for his usual meal—almost bloody steak with a baked potato.

“You look like you could use a drink,” Aki told him as he slid into the chair beside him. He turned an empty glass over and poured three fingers of the golden liquid.

McNaughton sighed, his dark eyes roaming over Aki’s small body, platinum blond hair pulled up and styled with sparkling pins, see-thru knit top, and super-short skirt, then over his bare legs down to the gleaming heels. The shoes were a silver mesh of crystals that slid up just past his ankles. A gift from McNaughton. The cop sucked in a deep breath and slid his hand over the covered part of Aki’s thigh. He knew better than to touch bare flesh to bare flesh. Aki was a cognitive psi, could see entire lives of horrors with a single touch, and he was sure McNaughton’s past was filled with a lot of nasty memories.

“Wish you had time for me tonight. But I’ve got a feeling you’re booked up tight.” He glanced back at the room bustling with companions and potential customers. Aki was the only psi in the room, his pale-pupiled blue eyes telling the world that he was different.

“I’m sure Bart can fit you in.” Aki’s eyes scanned the room until he found his boss, who was engaged with negotiations with another client. “Looks like you need some trouble eased tonight.” He leaned in close enough his breath ran across McNaughton’s cheek.

McNaughton turned his head, lips nearly close enough to touch. “Would love a bit of time with your shine.”

“Words like honey, McNaughton.”

The cop flashed him one of his rare, heart-stopping smiles then nodded as Bart appeared beside them. “Table seven is ready, Aki. Number one.” Bart told him.

Aki grabbed Bart’s wrist with a gloved hand. “The cop needs some time tonight. You can make that happen, right?”

“Of course.” Bart nodded to them and took Aki’s vacated seat and Aki made his way to his next client of the evening. There were only two services Aki performed. A hand job and a blow job, one and two. This client wanted number one—which meant he was cheap since rarely did anyone ask for a hand job from him. But his prices were astronomical anyway.

“Hello,” Aki smiled at the man as he slid into the chair opposite him. The client was dressed nice, button down shirt, pressed pants, but he was bald and a little heavier around the waist. A politician probably. “If you’re ready we can head upstairs.”

The man barely spoke, but he leered, eyes tracing over Aki’s form more like he was cattle than a night of entertainment. Even in his worst moments McNaughton had never done that. It wasn’t appreciation, but something darker. Aki sighed internally and hoped this would be fast. He knew a thousand ways to get a man off in minutes. Something about him just set off Aki’s creep radar.

“I hear some wait months for the pleasure of your time,” the man said with slightly accented speech.

Not usually. The only ones who waited weeks were because their schedule and Aki’s conflicted or because they’d done something to upset him or Bart. Most clients got in within a few days if not the same day of requesting Aki’s time. And regulars were always given precedence over someone not yet vetted like this client. “If I don’t please you I can see if Preston or Royce is available.”

“I was hoping for Candy originally.”

Was always good to be told he was second choice. Aki gritted his teeth. “Candy only serves a special kind of client. And he does have a wait list.” Mostly because he took clients who wanted a little more kink than any of the other male companions preferred. Aki was going to recommend this client be removed from the premises after the service was over.

“I guess you’ll have to do then. Won’t you?” He gave Aki a chilling smile.

Bastard. Aki got up from his seat and offered his gloved hand to the man who followed closely. They’d reached the stairs when the man grabbed him, yanked Aki against him and shoved his hand up Aki’s skirt, groping him and sending him into a spiral of nightmares.

A dark room. The metallic stink of blood. Screams. The sound of knives being sharpened. Metal bars clanking. Crying. Pain. The music of an ice cream truck. How odd. It was all ripped away a moment later, but Aki’s stomach was already heaving. The small plate of fruit and yogurt he’d had for dinner was not going to stay down.

Someone carried him unceremoniously to the private companion bathroom near the kitchen and set him in front of the toilet just as the mash of fruits and dairy came up. Aki heaved a couple of minutes, his brain swirling with the images that thankfully began to fade just as quickly as they’d come. With any luck he’d be able to brush his teeth, wash his face and go about his work day.

He glanced up to find Manny, the head of security standing at the door. McNaughton knelt beside Aki. Had held his hair back and even used his jacket to cover Aki’s bottom. The skirts really were too short.

“Bart is already having the guy removed. He should never have touched you like that. Sorry I didn’t get to you quicker,” Manny told Aki. “Grateful to you, Detective, for responding so quickly.”

McNaughton stroked Aki’s back, using the soft material of the sweater to run circles over his spine. “Want to talk about it?”

Aki sighed. “Same crap. Just weird. Darkness, crying, smelled blood. Heard knives.” He shook his head. “The guy could work at a butcher for all I know. The memories get so jumbled.” Often with his own horrific past. “Thought I heard a kid. And bars rattling like in a jail. And the music from an ice cream truck.”

McNaughton nodded like it made perfect sense to him and helped Aki get up and make his way to the sink where there were spare toothbrushes and endless varieties of paste. The cop leaned over and kissed Aki’s hair. “Gotta go. I’ll have Bart reschedule me sometime this week though. Love that you wore my shoes.” He was gone a moment later.

Aki cleaned up and made his way back to work. At least the night was almost over. He was sad that McNaughton hadn’t stayed. Would have liked to see that smile another time or two. At least the rest of the night flew by without incident, even if the detective didn’t return.

“Sleeping with me tonight?” Candy asked as he stripped out of their work clothes, leaving just a pair of bright pink underwear and crawled into bed. His purple hair was already brushed and eyes heavy with sleep.

“Please,” Aki whispered. He stripped off everything but his underwear too. After putting his shoes and pins away, he washed his face.

“Heard that guy touched you. What a jerk.”

“He wanted you to begin with.” Aki curled up beside his best friend.

Candy flicked off the light. “I would have brought him down a few pegs.”

Aki smiled, but he didn’t want to think of the horrible man at all. Those memories just needed to go away. He had enough of his own to battle with each day. He fell asleep hoping to wake up with less nasty memories each day.

The next afternoon Aki was up early and at Artie’s for breakfast—best 24/7 diner in the area—when McNaughton arrived. The man sat down at his table without asking and pushed a pair of slim, jeweled, yellow flat sandals into Aki’s hands. “What’s this for?” Aki asked.

He just shook his head. He threw a stack of cash on the table and motioned to the waitress. “Anything he wants is on me.” He then got up from the table and headed for the door.

“Well that was weird,” Aki said to LuAnn, the waitress.

She pointed at the Vid screen. “He had a rough night. Caught the guy who was killing kids.” The Vidscreen was turned to the news. Something about a man named the “Ice Cream Killer” had been captured. Apparently he used an ice cream truck to lure kids in, kidnapped them, raped them and killed them. Real monster.

A picture popped up of the guy. It was the client from the Gem. Maybe that’s why McNaughton was at the Gem. No matter what he hoped the detective visited him tonight. The new yellow shoes would need a new skirt to match…




Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, and collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters. She has three cats that enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at Anime Conventions masquerading as random characters when she’s not writing about boy romance.


Available from Dreamspinner Press:





Hidden Gem


Available from Lissa Kasey:








Dominion Shorts (compilation)


Available from Lissa Kasey/Xara X. Xanakas

Sink or Swim

Hidden Gem ~ Snippet

Hidden Gem was released yesterday by Dreamspinner Press. The first in a brand new series. A book that took over a year to write and who’s characters are deeply embedded in my soul. I’m tempted to start on the sequel already but have two other books to finish before I can begin that one. There’s just not enough time in a day to do as much as I’d like. I hope you all are enjoying the book. Here’s another peek for those who haven’t been tempted enough yet:

When Manny pulled Candy out of the dining hall and away from the important, high-paying party, he was somewhat annoyed. He should have known when McNaughton showed up with another detective that the cop would cause trouble. If Aki was hurt, they were going to have words and Candy would see the man banned.

In their tiny room, the blond lay on his bed, shaking and whispering, head rolling back and forth. Nightmares. Damn that cop. Candy pulled the psi into his arms and ran his hands over Aki’s skin. He’d had a lot of practice chasing away Aki’s demons. Never thought he’d wind up best friends with a psi. He’d grown up thinking of them much like most of the South did, that they were less than human, little more than animals bent on destroying the world. Aki changed that.

Candy began pulling the pins from his best friend’s hair. He’d heard enough horror stories from the blond to know that he bled just as red as anyone else. The psi cried, screamed, felt pain and love. He was human just like Candy. Though Aki was two years older than him, Candy still thought of Aki as his little brother, someone who needed to be taken care of. He pulled the psi’s wrist up and massaged the biohazard symbol Aki hid from everyone. The mark was a sign of how the world saw him, but not what he really was. He wasn’t toxic. The world was.

Bart appeared in the doorway, knocking lightly to alert Candy of his presence. “How is he?”

The nightmares had calmed. Aki seemed to be resting normally. “Okay, I think. I will have to get the makeup off to see if there’s any damage to his face.” A few shallow scratches looked red and angry, but Candy wasn’t sure how deep they were. “McNaughton knows better.”

“He had a new partner with him. Manny said he heard them talking about a case with a lot of dead kids.” Bart shook his head. “I should ban him. I’ll fine him heavily if there’s any permanent damage to Aki’s face.”

But Aki would freak if Bart kept the Irishman away. Something about that cop made Aki light up. All the jewels in the world couldn’t match his shine when the detective came around and started flirting with the blond.

“I’ll look him over. Do you want me to go back down?” The group of CEOs that had come in late tipped well for services rendered, even if they did get a little grabby.

“No. It’s almost closing time anyway. We’ll just offer them another night of their choice with you and Aki as their servers. They’ll be happy enough.” Bart turned and left the room without another word, likely to return to negotiate another meeting of senators with a taste for pretty boys.

Candy brushed Aki’s hair out of his face. At least he could provide his friend a few moments of peace. That’s all a companion ever really needed.




Hidden Gem: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5376

Lissa Kasey: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=lissa+kasey&osCsid=88967ifi52t01tqeneg9e5la85&x=32&y=9

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Gem-Lissa-Kasey-ebook/dp/B00NSC1SAS/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1411741281&sr=8-6&keywords=hidden+gem

Amazon Lissa Kasey books: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Lissa%20Kasey&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-hiddengem-1633790-145.html

LK Are: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Lissa+Kasey&searchBy=author&qString=Lissa+Kasey

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hidden-gem-lissa-kasey/1120403531?ean=9781632161987

Real World Physical Fitness by Jaime Samms

office chair blurWhen Lissa approached me for this blog post, I really wasn’t sure what I was going to write.  My main sources of exercise for myself consist mainly of walking and tossing the bedclothes around looking for the remote after the writing day is done. Basically, I, myself, lead a the mostly sedentary life of a writer who never seems to have enough hours in the day.


It made me wonder why my characters are so much different. Aside, of course, from most of them being male. That’s only the most obvious difference. Many of them lead the very active lives inherent in being a rock star, rancher or skate boarder. Even the ones who have more traditional office jobs or careers in the arts all seem to have physical hobbies and/or gym memberships.


?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Am I feeding into a stereo type by not writing about characters who are less than fit, less than physically active and able? I have one character, Tim, who’s going blind, but he’s in college taking a course on physical health and leisure for physically challenged children. So I think he doesn’t count.ghostslovers_400


Beyond that, the most debilitating problems my characters face are chronic migraines for a couple of them and for one, allergies serious enough to dictate how careful he is in the selection of materials used to renovate his new home.


The topic, at the end of the day, is one that really isn’tMovingDay given much page time in the kinds of contemporary romances I read and write. It never really occurred to me before now to ask myself why that was. After all, physical well being is a big cornerstone of the rest of our lives. It sort of discounts a very, very large portion of the population that makes up my peers. Let’s face it. the number of us in that peek physical condition we often portray in our stories is probably a way lower percentage than aliens reading our romance libraries would be lead to believe. :)


I know in my own life, the things I can’t do physically (and I’m a relatively healthy, if slightly overweight and under-carido/vascular-ly developed middle-aged woman) dictate, to some extent, the choices I have to make in life. I’d love to hike the mountains of Peru as a friend of mine recently did, but I know the exertion would likely hurt me :) So I settle for less physically demanding vacations, because sometimes, what we can’t do physically, even if it’s a small thing, can be a big barrier.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????So what about my characters? Shouldn’t some of them embody the the norm of society at least some of the time? Maybe showcase the idea that love doesn’t only come to the physically gifted and perfected, but also to the average ex-jock with a bit of a pot belly and a bum knee, or the retired rocker who really should be turning up his hearing aid more often, or even just the guy next door with mouse-brown hair, chicken white legs and a lawn that needs to be mowed.


There is certainly nothing wrong with the level of commitment the people with great health and physiques dedicate to getting and keeping themselves that way, but for the rest of us, there is nothing wrong with embracing ourselves as we are and making life beautiful in the bodies we have. Maybe I’ll have to see where this new idea takes me, in life and in writing…


????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Love is Blind



Jaime has been writing for various publishers since the fall of 2008, although she’s been writing for herself far longer. Often asked why men; what’s so fascinating about writing stories about men falling in love, she’s never come up with a clear answer.  Just that these are the stories that she loves to read, so it seemed to make sense if she was going to write, they would also be the stories she wrote.

These days, you can find plenty of free reading on her website. She also writes for Freya’s Bower, Jupiter Gardens, and Total E-Bound.

Spare time, when it can be found rolled into a ball at the back of the dryer or cavorting with the dust bunnies in the corners, she’s probably spending crocheting, drawing, gardening (weather permitting, of course, since she is Canadian!) or watching movies. She has a day job, as well, which she loves, and two kids, but thankfully, also a wonderful husband who shoulders more than his fair share of household and child care responsibilities.

She graduated some time ago from college with a Fine Arts diploma, and a major in textile arts, which basically qualifies her to draw pictures and create things with string and fabric. One always needs an official slip of paper to fall back on after all….

Website: http://jaime-samms.net





Amazon Author page

Death by Trainer by Lexi Ander

lexiimageThank you, Lissa, for having me on the blog today to talk about physical health. For me, this would include my weekly Death by Trainer day. Let me explain. In March of this year, I joined a gym. Knowing myself and that I sometimes needed a little push, I went one step further, signing up for a once a week trainer package. See, two years ago, I quit the EDJ to be able to write full time, which was great with the exception that I no longer left the house much. The decline in activity began to show, not all at once, but gradually over time.

It was the little things that I began to notice. Things I used to do regularly became exhausting, and everyday items were surprisingly heavy. Then I injured my shoulder and endured shots and physical therapy and talks of surgery. I didn’t opt for surgery because the doctor told me that it would only help with the constant pain a little because I also had arthritis in the joint. Not long after, my other shoulder started acting up with similar pain and I expected that I would be living the rest of my life with bum shoulders. That’s sorta depressing, ya’ll. I turn forty-two in September, and imagining the rest of my life with the limited mobility and flexibility was daunting, to say the least. I felt like I was falling apart and I shouldn’t be. So I made a plan to get off my bum.

When I signed up with the gym, I knew I was out of shape but it wasn’t until I climbed on the treadmill for a ‘fast walk’ that I realized how bad my physical health was. It was embarrassing and I was soooo glad that I didn’t know anyone there, else I would have to admit it to someone other than myself. I wasn’t ready to put myself out there yet. That state of mind didn’t stay around long because I booted it out the door, ’cause really, who was I posturing for? If I was really going to go for it, then I needed to not care what other people saw or thought of me. The decision to live a healthier lifestyle was for me and me alone.

This was the frame of mind that I had when I went into my first appointment with a trainer. I knew I had lost strength but to actually see the numbers. No stamina, no endurance, and my heart rate was out of control when I exerted myself. After a half an hour, I’d stumble home and passed out for a couple of hours. A couple of times I became sick half way through. Nauseous, dizzy, and I knew that shouldn’t be happening. So with much trepidation, I went to the doctor.

Diagnosis, I was hypoglycemic, and he chastised me for not eating enough. A thousand calories a day was way too low. He suggested that I have at least two thousand if not more. Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. I had to have fuel to burn in order to build muscle à increase my metabolism à burn fat. Increased metabolism means burning fat and calories while I’m at rest. Sound great, no, awesome but first I have EAT MORE.

Changing my eating patterns was tough. I felt as if I had too much food but I quit getting sick when I worked out. A plus. I was able to increase the time spent per session. And other plus. I increased my strength, and I finally stopped coming home to pass out and sleep for hours. Yippy-ki-yi-ya!

All of these improvements pleased me thoroughly. The days with the trainer were dubbed “Death By Trainer” days. I learned to love the time with him because he challenged me, and pushed me to do more, to be better. He rooted for me, and celebrated the small triumphs with me. His enthusiasm for my progress wasn’t false. As crazy as it sounds, he taught me how to safely push myself. I only saw him one day a week but I had another 6 days in which I had to be my own cheerleader.

All of this sounds easy, but it’s not. Easy are the excuses I create to not go to the gym. It is hard and many days I’m muscle sore. I’m okay with that because nothing worthwhile comes easily. A sore body means progress, means building muscle, means I won’t forget that I kicked ass this week when the trainer taught me a little boxing.

People ask how much weight have I lost. Sorry. I don’t keep track of those numbers or the bogus BMI either. I refuse to have my progress be how many pounds I lose in a week or month. It isn’t the size of clothing that I wear. I won’t weigh myself every day or even every week. If the weight comes off too quickly, you’ll gain it right back just as fast, and twice as much.

I want this gone for a lifetime so my progress is measured differently. We take measurements to track inches lost but I measure my success by how I feel, by how my heart rate is during exertion, the amount of weight I can lift. That instead of getting on the treadmill for a half an hour, I now climb on the elliptical. One of the best results so far is the shoulder pain that I’ve been living with for over a year is gone. Gone. Gone. Gone. My range of motion is coming back and I can lift more than I have ever been able to in the past. I still have arthritis, which flairs occasionally, but that pain is a drop in the bucket compared to what I used to have.

Everybody is different. How do you measure your success? What are your goals? Are they obtainable? I want to life a more healthy active life. What about you?

About the author:

Lexi has always been an avid reader, and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her eighty-pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.

Less Than Three Press: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/books/?main_page=index&typefilter=bookx&bookx_author_id=4

Website:  http://www.lexiander.com
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Moving Forward by Leigh Ellwood

Leigh Ellwood

My name is Leigh, and I write. As such, the majority of my day is spent in front of a computer hoping it will help me pay the bills. Long hours with a laptop don’t necessarily equate to a fit lifestyle, unless one makes the effort to move around when possible. It’s why I take a break halfway through the day to walk or do yoga or swim, something to get the blood moving.

I’ve struggling with weight gain and loss since college. I’ll take off forty pounds and put more on later. I’ll experiment with veganism, then along comes Thanksgiving and pass the turkey. I feel clothes tighten and want to cry. Then my husband gives me a hug, calls me pretty, and I feel better. I will always strive to be healthy – I recently had an excellent check-up – and I know the billion-dollar diet industry wants to sell me a way to achieve my goals. They aren’t all for me, though.

Moving forward, I intend to focus on moving, eating something green and grown, and being happy with I am. The best way anybody can attain wellness is to discover their own path. If anybody tries to shame you one way or another, know that YOU control your body and how you work it. You can run sprints if you wish, but know that lifelong health is a much longer race.

Best wishes to you.


A Different Class by Leigh Ellwood
a 1NS Story from Decadent Publishing
M/M Erotic Romance, 11000 words


FDR High Class of 2004 graduate, Glenn Carson contacts fellow alumni to get a list of who will be attending the upcoming festivities. One call to a disgruntled former student leaves him shaken—apparently, not everyone is looking forward to the reunion. Hoping to ease his frustration, he contacts the 1Night Stand service for a relaxing and passionate encounter.

Known as “Mumbles” to former classmates, Rod Maloney would prefer to focus on the present and his successful business. However, past tragedies continue to haunt him, so he requests Madame Eve find him a man to show him a hot time and help him forget his troubles.

Will their one night together lead to a reunion after all?


Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Different-Class-1Night-Stand-Series-ebook/dp/B00K6OF6UO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399495214&sr=8-1&keywords=a+different+class+leigh+ellwood

B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-different-class-leigh-ellwood/1119449289?ean=2940149293131

Decadent Publishing – http://www.decadentpublishing.com/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=266&products_id=942&osCsid=6c1232251c1e45744bd0b3ee7262f414

All Romance – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-adifferentclass-1506354-149.html

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/435952

Add to Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22035340-a-different-class




“Mr. Maloney? I hope I’m not disturbing you.”

“Who is calling?”

The voice—deep and rich, anything but a mumble—intimidated him. Maybe the guy had been a jock, a several-foot-wide football player who helped the school win the championship senior year. He hadn’t attended many games and had skipped homecoming. “Um….” Right, we’re planning a reunion here. “I’m representing the reunion committee of the Franklin D. Roosevelt High School Class of 2004. You can probably guess our big tenth is coming up—”

“You know what? I’m going to save you the sales pitch,” Mumbles Maloney said. “I don’t know who you are, and I don’t give a shit. It’s taken me a long time to get past all the crap I put up with in high school, and if you think I’m going to show up at some rented ballroom all smiles as though the hell you assholes you put me through never happened, forget it.”

What? The man’s anger surged through him and sped up his heartbeat. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean—”

“F*** you, f*** FDR High, and f*** every last piece-of-shit homophobe in that backwater town. I hope you all get cancer.”

Beth burst back into the room, waving a thick tome with a scaly blue cover. “Found it,” she chirped.

“Never mind.” Glenn pushed away from his workspace. Mumbles Maloney’s palpable rage lingered in the quiet of the small office, invoking a sense of doom in an otherwise dull place. He doubted he’d forget the voice for a long while. The man had pent-up issues with his former schoolmates, no doubt, yet for all the vitriol burning through the airwaves and sizzling in the veins, Mumbles had sounded…well….

About Leigh

I am Leigh Ellwood. I write smutty stories about people who like getting naked and having sex. Some have more sex than others, some have sex with people of the same gender, some have sex with more than one person, and still others have sex with toys and things that require the use of batteries. My stories range from a few thousand words to well past 70k. My books are available at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Kobo, and ARe.

Home – http://www.leighellwood.com
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Diary of a Mad Exercise Fugitive by Erzabet Bishop

ErzabetfloweryMe and my exercise bike. It’s a love hate kind of thing. The behemoth sits in the corner of the bedroom  and gives me the stink eye  from underneath the pile of clothes heaped on its shoulders. Do I know I should be dusting it off and taking it for a proverbial ride around the block? Absolutely. Do I listen when my doctor tells me I need to climb up there for forty torturous minutes three times a week. Oh. Hell. No.

Yep. I love the idea of getting into the zone and grinding all my frustrations away with some physical exertion. Until I have to forage for spare hangers in the closet to hang up all my husband’s clothes that have been unceremoniously dumped on top of the bike. Then it’s hate all the way. Something else I have to do. Oh no…I have deadlines. Are you crazy? So it glowers at me from under the jeans and I glare at it with evil intent in my heart as I plop back in the chair and pound out word count.

Recently, a friend and co-worker pointed out to me that I am really on top of new incentives and embrace progress in leaps and bounds. But (and those buts are always unpleasant, you know?). Change when someone else wants you to do something is the hardest thing in the world. Damned if he wasn’t right on target with that one.

In high school I ran. I was the model of physical fitness. Propel me forward a few decades (clears throat) and I am a full time bookstore manager and full time writer on my off hours. You can probably guess about how much time goes into physical fitness now. I wear one of those electronic devices that tracks my steps at work and around the house and that seems to be as far as it goes. Today I did actually reach over eighteen thousand steps.

Two years ago I was given the scare of my life and I had to change some of my eating habits. I have gotten better at some and worse in others. But here is what I’ve learned…

*You make small bits of progress and don’t look back. Self-loathing, while occasionally fun is not productive as a hobby.

*Look at your portion control. Do you really need that XXXLLL sized triple meat cheeseburger? Didn’t think so. Get the single.

*Eat less fast food. No, I haven’t eliminated it, but I do drink less soda and have smaller sizes.

*More fruits and veggies in my diet. Repeat after me…salads are fun! (With lite balsamic dressing)

*Less bread-the thin sandwich rounds rock!

*Walk. I walk everywhere I can.

*Oh…and I’m getting a duster. The bike is filthy and I own black sweats.

So…those clothes, they’re coming off the bike.  Maybe if I only allow myself to watch my favorite Netflix shows while I’m on the monstrosity I can still multi-task and feel accomplished. If only I could strap the desk top to it…hmmm.  40 minutes=mini cupcake. Case closed. I am not above self-bribery.

Sigil Fire box1

For a sporty and spicy roller derby story, check out Sweat.





Erzabet Bishop has been crafting stories since she could pound keys on her parents’ old typewriter. She has only just learned that it is a whole lot more fun writing naughty books. She is a contributing author to the Silk Words website with her Fetish Fair choose your own romantic adventure stories, Potnia, A Christmas To Remember, Taboo II, Forbidden Fruit,  Club Rook: The Series, Sweat, Bossy, When the Clock Strikes Thirteen, Unbound Box, Milk & Cookies & Handcuffs, Holidays in Hell, Corset Magazine: Sex Around the World Issue and Man vs. Machine: The Sex Toy Issue, Smut by the Sea Volume 2, Hell Whore Volume 2, Can’t Get Enough, Slave Girls, The Big Book of Submission, Hungry for More (upcoming Cleis), Gratis II, Anything She Wants, Dirty Little Numbers, Kink-E magazine, Eternal Haunted Summer,Coming Together: Girl on Girl, Shifters and Coming Together: Hungry for Love among others. She is the author of Lipstick(upcoming), Dinner Date, Tethered, Red Moon Rising, Sigil Fire, The Erotic Pagans Series: Beltane Fires, Samhain Shadows and Yuletide Temptation. Erzabet is a finalist for the GCLS 2014 awards in two separate categories. She lives in Texas with her husband, furry children and can often be found lurking in local bookstores. She loves to bake, make naughty crochet projects and watch monster movies. When she isn’t writing, she loves to review music and books.

Follow her reviews and posts on Twitter @erzabetbishop.


The Romance Reviews: http://www.theromancereviews.com/100004193823883

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Are: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Erzabet+Bishop

Ylva Author Page: http://www.ylva-publishing.com/ylva-verlag-e.kfr.–erzabet-bishop.html

Unbound Box Dessert Comes First Flash Fiction: https://unboundbox.com/magazine/blog/posts/dessert-comes-first

Liz McMullen episode: http://www.thelizmcmullenshow.com/lbs_episode18/

About Me: http://about.me/erzabet.bishop/#

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sigilfirecover Sweat_cover


Physical Wellness Month – Guest Author Tracey Steinbach

When I was asked to do a post on physical wellness and what it means to me, I thought of two words. Diet. Exercise. *shudders* Those have to be the two dirtiest words I can think of.

January 31st of this year, I decided my family and I were going to start eating healthier. I had no idea how hard or how much more expensive it would be. The experts blame technology and laziness on America’s obesity. Yes, in part, I’m sure it is from people sitting on their rumps playing video games or surfing the web. But do you know how much more lean meat costs than fatty meat? Do you know how much more a bag of fruit costs than a bag of chips? For people who live paycheck to paycheck, how can they manage? Our grocery bill went up at least $100 a month, if not more. I stopped eating bread, other than flatbread and I stopped eating potatoes for the most part and in three months, I only lost ten pounds. For someone like me who lives for instant gratification, it’s very discouraging. Now. If exercise were like the video I’m about to show you, I’d be stick skinny in NO time.






Several years after the third World War, resources are scarce. The poor are poorer and the middle class doesn’t exist anymore. A man with resources travels from city to town buying teenagers from desperate parents and orphanages. The teens are educated, fed and clothed as appropriate for their end purpose, Soldier or Breeder.

A strong, young woman, Marie Rice, falls for Gunnar Lincoln. Their attraction is forbidden, Marie meant for someone else. Disturbing events on the island lead to Gunnar and Marie looking for a way to escape and save everyone else. While they bide their time, attraction turns to something stronger. Will they escape? Will they save the others?


Buy links:






About Tracey: I am known by a few names. At any one time I am known as Mom, Mommy or Mama, depending on which of my three children are wanting me. My husband of 19 years has his own names for me. But the name on my driver’s license says Tracey. I work as a cost accountant at a local manufacturing plant. 

I’ve been having a love affair with books since I was a teenager. I love to read. Romance novels are my favorite. I read traditional and non-traditional. 

About 12 years ago, my husband introduced me to NHRA drag racing and I loved it. We try to go as often as possible. Mmmm…the smell of Nitro. 

I love to bake when I have time. 

I always thought that I would like to write a book some day. I don’t know how many times I’ve started what I thought would be a fantastic story only to have the story go completely out of my head or just get stuck on how to get from one point to another. This summer a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was looking for writers to take part in an anthology. I figured I might as well give it a try. The worst that could happen was she would kindly reject it and that would be that. What happened instead was that she liked it. She offered a couple suggestions for changes that would make it better and I was in. Holy Shit! I was in! This brought new motivation and interest in writing. I did it once, I could do it again, right?

You can find Tracey on:






I’m in Love with Gay Romance, by guest Shira Anthony

I’m in Love with Gay Romance, by Shira Anthony

Every so often, there’s a big hullabaloo over women writing gay romance. I can count at least a dozen instances where I’ve sat back and just scratched my head over the horrible comments and insinuations. And it makes me so incredibly sad, because most of the women I know who write gay romance do so because they love romance. Period.  And they want to celebrate all colors of it. They don’t do it for the money (hell knows, writing het smut pays a lot better than writing gay romance!). They write gay fiction because they’re inspired to do so.

Men have been writing wonderful fiction about women for centuries. Amazing heroines I often dreamed of being like when I was growing up. Heroes I wished would sweep me off my feet. I grew up reading stories about men and women mostly, because there weren’t many gay romances around. I did find a few, written between the lines. Those lingered with me because first and foremost, I loved men. Any flavor if of the rainbow. They are my friends, my husband, my son, my father. Gay, straight, bisexual, queer, questioning, asexual, trans, intersex. Beautiful, wonderful men who made me smile, cry, but most of all who made me love them.

About eight years ago, I discovered gay romance, a genre I didn’t even know existed. I was hooked. It wasn’t just about the guy on guy sex, although that’s definitely a turn-on. But honestly, straight sex is also a turn-on for me to read (I’m pretty much an omnivore when it comes to reading sex). It wasn’t just about the social issues that still constrain many men to this day, although my experiences living through the AIDS epidemic in New York City in the 80s and losing dear friends to the disease certainly have shaped my perspective. It wasn’t just about the strong characters (and I don’t mean this strictly in the physical sense). I’ve read strong female characters I love as well.

For years, I wracked my brains about what it was that drew me to write gay fiction over the het fiction I started out writing. What did I finally figure out? That I don’t have an “answer.” I write from my heart. I write gay fiction because that creative part of my brain, my muse, tells me their stories. And although I write primarily for my gay male readers in that I want my characters to ring true, I’m happy if women also enjoy my stories. Because it’s about writing love. Writing hope. Writing what I want to read, and hoping others will enjoy it. If it makes readers laugh, or cry, or feel something, then I’ve done my job.

As a former musician, I feel the same way about the performers I listen to. I don’t care if it’s a man or a women playing the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2. If it’s beautifully played, I will love it. Writing is just like musical expression. Music is either genuine and heartfelt enough to connect with your sensibilities, or it’s not the right choice for you to listen to. I love classic jazz. Modern jazz, not so much. I love Maria Callas’s Tosca. Joan Sutherland’s? Not so much.

Don’t judge a book by the sex or sexual orientation of its author. Judge a book because it makes you feel, or fails to make you feel something. If you don’t like a story, what difference does it make if it’s written by a man or a woman?  I’ve had male readers write to me and say that they hesitated to buy my books because I’m a woman and they’d never read gay fiction written by a woman before, but they gave the books a chance and connected with the characters and the story. And that’s what artistic expression is all about. Making someone else feel.

Let me end with two questions. Does it matter why a writer writes what she or he writes? Or does it matter that the writing reaches your heart? I think the latter is the question we all need to ask ourselves.



Blurb: Blame it on jet lag. Jason Greene thought he had everything: a dream job as a partner in a large Philadelphia law firm, a beautiful fiancée, and more money than he could ever hope to spend. Then he finds his future wife in bed with another man, and he’s forced to rethink his life and his choices. On a moment’s notice, he runs away to Paris, hoping to make peace with his life.

But Jason’s leave of absence becomes a true journey of the heart when he meets Jules, a struggling jazz violinist with his own cross to bear. In the City of Love, it doesn’t take them long to fall into bed, but as they’re both about to learn, they can’t run from the past. Sooner or later, they’ll have to face the music.


JULES GLANCED over at Henri and their pianist, David. David grinned and nodded as he caressed the keys of the upright piano, his touch so delicate that Jules could hear him breathe with each phrase. David complained that the instrument was out of tune and a “piece of shit,” but the sound he managed to coax from it was astonishingly sweet. Henri’s mellow brush strokes over the surface of the snare drum joined the soft piano, much like the sound of the rain on the city streets—understated yet insistent. Sexy.

Jules gripped the neck of his violin and tucked the instrument under his chin. There was a rough patch of skin there, a result of years of playing, that looked much like the mark of an overzealous lover. He drew his bow above the strings and allowed it to hover there for an instant before lightly catching the D string. The sound of the violin flickered like a candle flame blown by an unseen breeze, then grew and melded with the muted piano, sultry and inviting. Jules closed his eyes, letting the sound wash over him, responding to the slow harmonic progression on the piano, both instruments weaving the ghostly melody.

IN A dim alcove only a dozen or so feet from the musicians, Jason sat nursing his drink, transported by the sound of the violin. It wasn’t jazz in its purest form—it was more of a hybrid, combining the traditional jazz rhythms of the fifties with a modern yet classical approach. But whatever you might call the music, he found it transcendent. Between pieces, Jason glanced around the room to discover the group’s name but found no mention of it anywhere.

The set ended and the club erupted in applause. The musicians nodded, their manner casual, aloof, even a bit embarrassed. The violinist met Jason’s eyes and, for a brief instant, lingered there. Jason’s face heated. Breaking their eye contact to look down at his empty glass, he told himself that the heat in his cheeks was from the alcohol and the lack of sleep. He motioned to the lone waiter for a refill. When he turned back toward the stage, he found himself sitting face-to-face with the violinist.

“May I join you?” the violinist asked, a coy grin on his delicate lips. Jason figured that he might be nineteen, tops. As his companion brushed a stray lock of shoulder-length black hair from his eyes, Jason realized that he had one brown eye and one green. He was a waif of a kid, his face uniquely French, from the slightly pronounced nose to the sharper edge of his jaw. Even seated as he was, Jason could see that the kid’s body swam in a large pair of jeans that hung low on his hips, exposing blue plaid boxers. On top, he wore a body-hugging black T-shirt with the word “Quoi?” splashed across the front in bright red.

“Be my guest,” Jason replied in French, still unsure of what to think about the kid. “Seems as though you’ve already invited yourself.”

“You’re French-Canadian?” the newcomer inquired, grin widening.

“American.” Jason noted the rough edges of the uneven tattoo on the kid’s right forearm. Homemade, no doubt.

“Really? Your French is excellent.

“And your music’s good,” Jason countered playfully. “What’s your trio called?”

“Dunno. We haven’t named it yet—we don’t play that much. Wouldn’t have played tonight except the group Maurice booked canceled and he couldn’t find a replacement. My roommate’s the dishwasher here.” He gestured at the drummer, who was watching them with interest from the edge of the small stage. “So, do you live in Paris?” he added after a moment’s pause.


The waiter deposited two drinks on the table and winked at the violinist.

“My name’s Jules. Jules Bardon.”

“Jason Greene.”

“Enchanté.” Jules took Jason’s hand across the table. The gesture was far too friendly. Flirtatious. Jason pulled his hand away and raised an eyebrow. Jules appeared unfazed. “Here on business?”


“Pleasure, then?”


Jules laughed—a soft, almost girlish laugh. “Do I make you uncomfortable?” He fixed his gaze on Jason.

“No,” lied Jason, finding Jules’s gaze a bit too intense.

“I could make this a pleasure visit for you.” Jules absentmindedly traced a long finger across his own lips.

“I don’t bat for that team.” Jason borrowed the American expression wholesale as his French failed him at last. It was not the first time he’d spoken the words, although it was the first time he’d spoken them in French. They were also not entirely true; it was simply that the right opportunity had never presented itself.

Jules looked at him for a moment, clearly uncomprehending, then laughed again.

“What’s so funny?” Jason demanded, noting a hint of licorice on the air as his companion replaced his drink on the table.

“Oh,” Jules said, “I understand.” He laughed again. “Sorry. I’ve just never heard it put that way before. At first I thought you were asking me about baseball.” He took a swig of his drink and shrugged. “Too bad. You looked like you could use a good—”


“I have to go.” Jules sighed and appeared disappointed. “Time for the next set. It was nice to meet you, Jason.” He tripped over the name, and it came out sounding something like “Jah-sohn.” Jason chuckled in spite of himself, reminded of the various ways in which his name had been mangled by French speakers through the years.

Jules sucked down the rest of his drink in one swallow and stood up. “If you change your mind…,” he began, but the drummer grabbed him by the arm and dragged him back toward the stage.

Not likely, kid. Jason chuckled again. He had enough shit to deal with.


Buy Blue Notes at Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4720&cPath=673http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4720&cPath=673

About Shira:

In her last incarnation, Shira was a professional opera singer, performing roles in such operas as “Tosca,” “i Pagliacci,” and “La Traviata,” among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.

Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found aboard a 36’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.


You can find Shira on Facebook and Twitter!

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