Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Have writing standards for romance novels changed? Or did I just not notice?

Okay, so I've been shopping my old books around, and working on the edits for the one new one, while trying to find time to finish the sequel to the new one. Typical writer's life. As long as the new ideas keep coming, I'm not complaining.

But I've been wondering about things that some editors are saying. They keep telling me that I need to use active voice, never passive. And that I need to "show, not tell." All of which I know. I have been an English teacher/writing specialist, for a very long time. But in re-reading some of my older books, I've noticed that I sometimes use the omniscient narrator point of view to fill in details of events that I didn't think were important enough to show, but they do move the story along. Also, this eliminates entire pages of nothing but a character's thoughts.

For instance, let's say that the two main characters have met, and are both thinking about each other. I can show their thoughts, individually. But if there's a lot of time in-between when they meet, and when they run into each other again, I might use the omniscient point of view to show what's happening in their lives separately, before I jump into the action of their next meeting. One editor told me that was once the convention in romance novels, but is no longer allowed today. Today's readers want more immediacy. They want to "become" the romantic lead. So they only want to hear the thoughts of that one person, and the beloved. No over-view is allowed. I feel that's a stylistic choice that I make, which I find valid. Opinions?

And no one else's point of view is allowed either. That upsets me. In my latest book, I have the heroine and hero having trouble in their relationship. She leaves, going to stay with her parents for a time. Her mom talks to her, giving her advice. Then later, her dad talks to her, telling her a story to help her think over the choices she's making. Then, when she excuses herself to go make plans to return to her man, her parents have a couple of pages where they ask each other if they've done enough to smooth over the rough spots for her. And they have a romantic hug and kiss, to show that these are two people who've raised their kids, but still the passion burns for them. I thought that was a nice touch, and I don't want to cut it out. I write stories that flesh out many of the supporting characters. I suppose that's why I've written so many series'--the supporting characters become so real to me, that I have to tell their stories also.Not a bad thing at all, in my mind.

What do you think? Has romance become so formulaic that diversity of views or styles isn't allowed? Would you feel "torn out of the story" by omniscient observations? Would it make you put a book down, unfinished, if there was a conversation, or event that happened between supporting characters that didn't involve the main two?

To read about the books in my one series, The Reyes Family Romances, check out my website at:

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Twice Baked - For My Love of Food

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  I don't cook at all if I can help it.  Dominic is the cook in the family.  But that's not the secret.  The secret is that I love cooking shows on television.  Dominic and I watch them all the time'  Last night we binge watched part of a second of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix.  That may not be too surprising, but the fact is that I'm hooked on the dang things.  I watch every season of Top Chef and Master Chef.  I love them.  So when I needed a story idea, I didn't look any further than my own television.

When the pickiest eater in America is tapped to judge a cooking competition along with his chef ex-boyfriend, will it be a recipe for a second chance… or disaster?

Luke Walker’s humor about foods he can’t stand made him an internet celebrity and his blog, The Pickiest Eater in America, a huge hit. He plans to bring that same lighthearted comedy to the show—but he won’t be the only host.

Meyer Thibodeaux might be a famous chef, but he’s solemn, uptight, and closeted. He’s also Luke's ex. As different as they are, the sparks between Luke and Meyer never really went out, and as they work together, each begins to see the other in a new light, and the passion between them reignites, hot as ever. But secrets, gossip, and rumors on the set could sour their reunion.

Book Links


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Dreamspinner Press


“We’ll get started in just a minute, but it’s good to have you both with us,” Claude said, folding his hands on the table. He must have been the lead producer, because no one else made an effort to speak, even when he grew quiet. “This is our eighth season, and we wanted to do a few things to shake it up.” The assistant returned, whispered something in Claude’s ear, and then stepped back. “It seems our final judge was caught in traffic, but he’s just passed through the gate.” He spoke softly with the man next to him, and then the door opened.

My heart fluttered for a second as Meyer strode through the door. He looked as fantastic as he always had, with that incredible long hair and those amazing eyes.

Then it hit me—Meyer was who we were waiting for.

I forced myself to remain sitting upright in my chair as he looked around the room. I knew the instant he spotted me. I suppressed a smile as he paled slightly, then walked to the seat next to me and sat.

“What are you doing here?” he whispered.

“I’m a judge this season,” I answered, and grew quiet as Claude got everyone’s attention.

“I want to keep this meeting brief because we all have work to do, but I’m pleased to introduce all of you to our judges for season eight of Cooking Masters. Rachel Green is returning as our host, and Meyer Thibodeau is joining us as our head judge for the season. I’m sure you are familiar with his other work on the network. Food blogger Luke Walker will be stepping in as our third, seasonal guest judge.” He cleared his throat and paused for a second, probably for dramatic effect. “Meyer has quite a following on the network, and we believe he is going to do an amazing job for us. We have worked with Rachel before, and I know she will bring her sense of style and pizzazz to the show. So it is going to be a great season.”

I didn’t take offense at not being mentioned again. The others had real cred on the show, and I was an unknown.

The doors opened, and a young lady wheeled in a cart with coffee and water. The meeting paused as people moved about to get drinks.

“You’re a judge?” Meyer growled under his breath. “I didn’t think that would be something you’re qualified for.”

What a snarky ass.

“Yeah, and you’re going to have to put up with me for the next two months,” I retorted, then winked at him, putting on my most mischievous “I know a secret” grin. Two could play that game. “I think it’s going to be so much fun seeing how you work.”

Meyer paled.

Author Information

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

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Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press


Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey


Twitter @andrewgreybooks


Monday, October 14, 2019

Live the Magic and Romance in this Editor's Choice Release - Well Endowed - Erotic PNR RomCom #EroticPNR #RomCom #TinaDonahueBooks

Ever wonder what it would be like to have your own jinn? Great, huh? The wishes. The riches. The problems.

Yep. That's what Cari faces when she inherits Jez. As an alpha jinn, he refuses to serve anyone but a man. As far as he's concerned, she's shit out of luck.

Hmm. She believes otherwise and shows him just who has the upper hand.

Let the battle of the sexes begin...

An Editor's Choice Selection


Where there’s a will, there’s wicked fun… 
Drowning in bad luck, Cari doesn’t know where to turn when the unexpected happens. A loyal customer at her Key West café has left her an inheritance. She hopes for cash to save her restaurant but receives an old brass bottle that looks like a sex toy…and has Jez inside. 

At six-four, he’s built like a gladiator, has looks to die for, and oozes sexuality. He’s also a jinn. 

Color her enthralled and excited. Besides being one hot dude, he grants wishes, right? 

Not for her. Ironclad tradition demands he serve men, not women. Of course, if she wants to get down and dirty with him, he’ll gladly oblige. 

Let the battle of the sexes begin. Before long, their differences fall away as they indulge in every lusty desire, while falling hard and fast. Ah, paradise. Until trouble arrives, threatening to pull them apart forever…


She couldn’t wait a second longer and twisted the knob to open the container.

The top didn’t budge.

She tried repeatedly until she was breathless and sweating.

The fucking thing wouldn’t turn. The nicks and dents she’d noticed earlier proved to be pry marks around the top that resembled the crown on a man’s cock.

“Crap.” She wasn’t equipped to break this thing or saw it open.

After searching her kitchen for something to use, she settled on rubber gloves to add traction to her grip. With her thighs holding the bottle, she wrenched the top as hard as her strength allowed.

The knob not only loosened, but flew off—similar to a cork on a champagne bottle—and hit her wall, denting the plaster.

There goes my security deposit.

Hold on.

By itself, the bottle trembled between her thighs, the metal growing warmer. Not an unpleasant feeling, but fucking weird. 

Appalled, she flung the container on her table.

It thudded dully against her purse and shook violently.

“Shit, shit, shit!” The damn thing was going to blow. Her spicy, rich cooking must have pushed Ethyl into an earlier grave than she wanted, and this was payback. Terrified, Cari dropped to her knees, desperate to crawl to the door and outside. Frozen in horror, she hunkered behind a chair for protection.

Thunder roared.

Gold-and-black smoke poured from the bottle.

I’m going to die.

Hard rain struck the windows, but they didn’t blow out from an explosion.

Rather than the smoke rising to the ceiling, it curled in a slow spiral then drifted away from the table to her side.

Shuddering, she crab-walked away from it.

The smoke followed and took form.

Feet appeared first, at least a size fifteen, the toes well-formed and long. Muscular calves and thighs materialized next, dark hairs hugging them, the complexion olive.

She stopped edging back and leaned forward instead.

Upper thighs and narrow hips emerged, a startling-white fabric tied around the groin area, the ends hiding the good stuff. Not a loincloth exactly, more like a scarf exposing a rock-hard ass. 

The abs and chest were no different, each sculpted, the small nipples a dark brown shade, similar in color to refried beans. The pecs quivered on each new breath. However, there was no navel.

This can’t be happening.

She raised her face.

The smoke broke apart, floated to the ceiling, and disappeared.

Leaving a thirtysomething man standing before her.

He opened his lushly lashed eyes.

Her breath caught. His irises were closer to gold than hazel, his shoulder-length brown hair thick and wavy, stubble outrageously sexy, mouth sensuous, one dark eyebrow arched at her.

He planted his hands on his lean hips.

Holy fuck. A gladiator couldn’t have owned more muscles, though they weren’t overdone like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, but totally male.

Her pussy creamed.

An odd reaction since this couldn’t be real.

When the knob flew off the bottle, it must have ricocheted off the wall and hit her head, causing her to hallucinate this, or rather, him.

Only one way to find out. She grabbed his calf. Its brawn and heat made her ears buzz.

Grinning lewdly, he flexed his muscles and pressed into her touch.

This was no dream. She snatched back her hand. “Who-who-who-who—” She shivered so badly, she couldn’t speak, but had to. “Who are you? What are you?”

His eyebrows shot up to his hairline. He lifted his chin. “You, a mere woman, dare to question or demand anything from me?”

“Huh?” Not liking his sexist attitude, she scrambled to her feet. At five-seven, she couldn’t match his height. By her guestimate, he topped out at six-four and was the most perfect man she’d ever seen, except for his patronizing gaze. Precisely what she didn’t need. “Again, who or what are you? This is my place. My kitchen. Not yours. Answer me.”

“I answer only to my master. Go on.” He gestured her away as Antonini had. “Fetch the man in charge.”

As if. Before she could slug him, he pivoted and regarded her kitchen warily, as a one-percenter would, seeing only how small and simple it was.

She couldn’t have cared less if he found her digs lacking.

He next focused on her buñuelos.

If he gave them a pissy look or said one unkind thing about her cooking, he wasn’t long for this world, even if she didn’t know how to off him.

Bent at the waist, he sniffed the treats and licked his lips.

Growling sounded.

His stomach?

Holding one buñuelo between his thumb and forefinger, he examined the fried dough carefully, licked the contours, then popped the treat into his mouth. As he chewed, his lids slid down and he moaned the way guys do during orgasms.

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Balancing a day job, being a NEW mom, and a writer...help!

I am thrilled that I am a mother now. My husband and I have been dating/married for over ten years and we got out all the "crazies" that we wanted before starting a family and we were SO ready.  We found out on Christmas Eve of 2018 that we were pregnant, while visiting my parents across the country, and it was the best holiday gift we ever could've asked for. The thought of having a kid always seemed so far away but it happened fast and we almost burst with excitement.


Nothing could prepare me on how to be a mom. It is hard. The hardest thing I've ever done. I've lived most of my life worrying about myself, my doggos, and my husband. I would go to my day job (that I love) and come home to write every night. At the prime of my writing time, I could write the first draft of a book within a month--and continue having a social life and keeping our place clean.  My husband and I are fortunate enough that we have our own hobbies that keep us sane outside of work. His is baseball everything (he does work for an MLB team for his day job, too) and mine is writing. We would spend weekends visiting breweries where I could plot a new story and he would share interesting and facts about baseball that I never needed to know.

Like, did you know a "dying quail" is a baseball term?
Defined as: a batted ball that drops in front of the outfielders for a hit, often unexpectedly. Also known as a blooper, a li'l looper, a chinker, a bleeder, or a gork. 
I know what that means and can use it correctly in a sentence. Again, it's interesting, but I never really needed to know that. To spare you, I won't provide anymore interesting facts.😀

But those days are long gone sipping IPAs and cold brew all day. Now, my day goes by in cyclical blur of changing diapers, feeding my adorable baby, cleaning bottles, cuddling, rocking, singing, and somehow finding time to shower and eat.  I lost a lot of my creative thoughts once I reached about 30 weeks pregnant and that means in almost five months, I think I've written maybe 4,000 words. This is hard for me to accept because on those beer-drinking weekends, I was writing 10K a day.

Before having my son, I was a dedicated worker to my day job, a good wife, and a writer. Now, my identity is "mom" and mom alone. There are hard moments where my kid won't stop crying and I've been home alone for 10 hours with him and I have food in my hair and the dogs are barking, but the good moments outweigh the bad by a million. I mean, look at this picture of my kid?

He's so happy and wonderful, but during those middle of the night feedings where he won't go back to sleep and I'm left with my thoughts, I can't help by wonder if I'll ever be able to write again. Will I get an hour once a week to dive into some old WIP? The stories I started months ago... will I ever finish them?  It's difficult to accept my routine from before no longer works.  It's taken six weeks for me to accept that and by no means am I complaining, more just curious how my "new" routine will look. Maybe, I finish one draft a year. Maybe not.

For those out there who are mommas, writers, workers, wives, etc. Any advice on how to balance it all? What worked well for you? What didn't?   

I'm still trying to figure it all out but for now, I'm enjoying my unlimited cuddles with my lil guy because I know my maternity leave is going to fly by. 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

$50 GC Giveaway - Cover Reveals - New Series - and More! Tina Donahue October News Magazine #MonthlyNewsMagazine #EroticRomance #Giveaway #FreeChapters #SneakPeek #EyeCandy

There are lots of goodies inside my October News Magazine.

Check it out for:

Theirs - Contemporary Reverse Harem
Book 2 - Cravings - Brenna Darby - NEW series

$50 GC and ebook Giveaway

Free Chapters and Read

Cover Reveal for Holiday Novellas

Eye Candy


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Friday, October 11, 2019

Making the Most of the Time You’ve Got

Life didn’t turn out the way I expected. When I was young I worked hard, often holding multiple jobs. My time wasn’t my own. There was always someone telling me what to do and when to do it. After college I entered the supervisory phase of life. I thought my work would be easier then, but it wasn’t. As a supervisor, I had to ensure others worked and had to work alongside them as well. I eventually ran a company before retiring a third time. That was the hardest yet. I looked forward to retirement and did so about 17 years ago. I have experienced many unexpected kinks since that time.
            I did not expect health issues to consume so much of our end-of-life time, yet almost everything we do now must be scheduled around doctors and medical issues. I expected to watch the sun set over the lake behind the house while sipping bourbon and water on a daily basis, but that’s not allowed either. Liquor is toxic to my heart. I also did not expect my wife, 14 years younger than me, to encounter early Alzheimer’s, but she did.  
            I expected to travel when and where I wanted, but I’ve learned grandparents have responsibilities. This was a surprise in many ways. When I was young there were no grandparents around to help with anything. My parents left us on our own when they needed to do things. We were quite independent and, by my senior year in high school, my parents had moved to Alaska and left me in Washington State. It was a different time. Perhaps the world is more dangerous now. In any case, I know of no older couple who does not have grand parenting responsibilities. It takes time, but it’s not all negative. Helping grand urchins to grow into productive, honorable young people brings rewards as well as demands.
            I did not expect the decline in stamina and strength that I’ve experienced or the total loss of libido. Nor did I expect the constant sore back and muscles. Things I thought would fill my retirement years, like water and snow skiing, simply aren’t worth the extra pain and effort. For that matter, our boats sit idle because it takes considerable energy just to put them in the lake. The long hikes through remote forests I expected to take will never happen. Ballroom dancing, a past time we once enjoyed, is off the table, both because my wife has trouble remembering the steps and because it takes so much effort just to do it. The landscaping I wanted to do around my home, the work I put off for so many years, will not be done by me. More and more, it is necessary to hire work I once would have done myself. It is clear to me now why so many old couples let their homes deteriorate as they grow older.
            Because of my wife’s impairment, even many low-energy activities I believed we would do as we grew older, such as playing cards with friends, are now not possible. Puzzles are out of the question, as is writing more novels, something I enjoyed as much a eating. As my wife’s mental condition declined, so too did my physical ability. Therefore, new activities now replace old expectations. I cook now, both out of necessity and enjoyment. It is a creative release. For most of my life I took for granted how much creativity it took to produce daily tasty meals. I take great pride in putting interesting food on the table. Sometimes I plan out menus a week in advance to make certain I have the proper ingredients when I need them. My wife loves the food I prepare and the attention I give her as I serve it. There is great satisfaction in that. I prepare multi-course meals for friends with which we exchange meal dates. While my wife cannot play card games and the like, she loves to visit with friends.
            We don’t travel to and interact with exciting places like we once did. Now we take cruise ships if we leave home. We have been on many excursions at ports worldwide, so leaving the ship is not the point. Neither is shopping. We enjoy the time we have together, even if we don’t leave the ship. The food aboard, the beautiful water, and the evening shows are worth the trip.
            At home, we go to a lot of movies—and not just first releases. We recently went to a movie based on interviews with the first president of Czechoslovakia (circa 1918). It was fascinating, especially the president’s views on love. The movie was presented in the Czech language, but it had subtitles. I softly read them to my wife when they appeared on the screen too quickly for her to follow. We also visited a couple of antique shops after the movie, an activity she dearly loves.
            We have developed some traditions at home to ease the passing of each day. After we dress in the morning, I escort my wife to the back patio. There we watch the water and wildlife while sipping tea. Those few hours are the best of our day. We walk to the mail delivery point when the weather permits, or use the treadmill in the garage. Keeping active is important for her and we both enjoy walking or working out together. To my surprise, we do not spend much time in the neighborhood pool. There is a growing aversion to water that seems to develop with age. We do, however, occasionally sit on the edge of the pool and dangle our feet in the cool water.
            I cannot help but wonder what the next few years will bring. I know the few activities we can take part in together will become fewer still. All I know for sure is that the end of life I see now is definitely not the end of life I anticipated as a younger man. Time is now the most precious commodity we share, and we try to make the most of it.

Thanks for reading,

James L. Hatch

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Sweetest October by @meganslayer #halloween #romance #sweet #cleanread #Sweetromance #smalltown

The Sweetest October By Megan Slayer
Contemporary Holiday Romance
Megan Slayer Publications

Love and Halloween are an odd couple, but they can be the best means to heal a broken heart. 

Allison Prince never planned on leaving her job with the Waite Gazette, but when the chance to discover her past comes along, she can’t say no. She’s determined to learn about her grandmother and make the advice in her column more relatable. With her rescue dog, Woofy, beside her, she sets out to learn as much as she can about Hallowsville, Ohio.

Erik Greene doesn’t believe in love and isn’t fond of Halloween. He’s convinced his broken heart won’t heal—until he meets Allison and visits the local animal shelter. He doesn’t want a journalist snooping around Hallowsville. But Allison isn’t all she seems and the pup at the shelter proves love is possible.

Can he open his heart to new opportunities and chase the love of his life? Or is he destined to be the Dandy Devil of Hallowsville all alone?

Purchase Link(s):
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GV43J1Q/Universal Link: https://www.books2read.com/u/3G97vrBN: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-sweetest-october-megan-slayer/1129446661Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-sweetest-octoberiBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-sweetest-october/id1434747968?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4In Print: https://www.amazon.com/Sweetest-October-Sweet-Halloween-Romance/dp/1719955840/Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sweetest-October-Sweet-Halloween-Romance-ebook/dp/B07GV43J1Q/Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/Sweetest-October-Sweet-Halloween-Romance-ebook/dp/B07GV43J1Q/Amazon AU https://www.amazon.com.au/Sweetest-October-Sweet-Halloween-Romance-ebook/dp/B07GV43J1Q/

©2018 Megan Slayer, All Rights Reserved
Margaret returned. She slid the tray of unbaked cookies into the hot oven. “I noticed we have a new addition to town.” She stood. “Seems like a nice girl.” She offered up a cardboard box. “Here’s the other coil.”
“Thanks.” He opened the flaps. “Margaret, please don’t try to fix me up with Allison or Ella Mae or anyone else.”
“Who said I did that?” Margaret set the timer. “Did she say something? That girl. I asked her to help me today. I’m behind, not trying to find you a date.”
“Then I’m sorry.” He bolted the new coil into place. He didn’t understand why the people of Hallowsville wanted him to move on. The break-up with Tracey just about broke him. He didn’t want another girlfriend. Yes, Allison was pretty and if she hadn’t been a reporter, he might have asked her out for one night. But Allison had the power to embarrass Hallowsville if she desired and to make her name with the article. Maybe he was in the wrong, but he didn’t want to see his town shamed by an investigative reporter.
“Almost done?” Margaret asked. “I could use the extra space to do double batches and catch up.”
“Yeah.” He finished the last connection, then backed out of the cavernous space. “Try it. If we have heat, you’re in business.”
“Awesome.” She twisted the knob and the coil glowed. “Works. Yes.” She threw her arms around him. “Thank you.”
“It’s all in a day’s work.” He brushed the flour off his knees and stood. “Get those cookies done, but I expect a freebie when I come through during the parade.”
“One?” She laughed. “How about a dozen? You can take a few to the new girl and make a better impression.” She paused. “Yes, Delilah said you were a tad brusque.”
“I might have been.” He shrugged. “She threw me off my game.”
“I know.” She elbowed him. “Have you been down to the animal shelter lately?”
“No.” Should he?
“My sister says there’s a new dog there that might be up your alley. Shy little thing. Sweet-natured,” Margaret said. “I know you want a guard dog, but this one is so adorable.”
“A small dog?” He hadn’t put much thought into adopting a dog. He had his work at the welcome center. Would a dog fit in? Wreck the place? Was he ready for a companion? Would having a dog impress Allison? He paused. What was he thinking? He didn’t have to impress her and shouldn’t be considering such.
“Just go down there. Check out the dogs. One will speak to you.” She rubbed his shoulder. “Promise, but you have to go. Please?”
“Will do.” He grabbed his tools and headed out of the bakery. Take Allison cookies? No way. He refused to get close to a reporter—no matter how much he might like her. Not a chance. Go to the shelter? Why not? What could go wrong?