Paris is ALWAYS a good idea!

Audrey Hepburn had it right when she said “Paris is always a good idea.” The City of Light is loaded with charms and wonders you can’t find anywhere else on the planet.

Paris is always a good idea

Books about Paris are a surefire hit–from romance to mystery to intrigue, what better way to fantasize about Paris than reading a book about it, preferably over a glass of Bordeaux?

I’ve hand-picked a selection of French-themed books below and to help you decide which ones fit your style, I’ve asked each author the following questions:

1. Why is your book a “good idea” for someone who loves Paris/France?
2. If your book was a drink, what would it be?
3. Which scene might raise a few eyebrows?
4. Who would absolutely hate your book?

Read their responses and check out their books!

Becoming Josephine
Becoming Josephine
by Heather Webb
Why is your book a “good idea” for someone who loves Paris?
Becoming Josephine is about a famous and beloved French historical figure and much of the novel takes place in Paris.

Which scene might raise a few eyebrows?
One of the scenes set during the September Massacres, also, perhaps one of the hotter scenes between Napoleon and Josephine.

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Buy now or read the book’s description:
Print: $15.00 | Kindle: $7.99

Connect with Heather:
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Je T'Aime Me Neither
Je T’Aime, Me Neither
by April Lily Heise
Why is your book a “good idea” for someone who loves Paris?
Paris is almost a character in my book rather than the setting, perhaps a coy antagonist? I’d like to think that the passion of Paris was a root of most of my romantic misadventures, but I can’t blame it all on Paris!

Who would absolutely hate your book?
Readers looking for an idealized story of Paris. Truth is more interesting than fiction, but reality can clash with some people’s dreams of perfect Paris.

Genre: Memoir

Buy now or read the book’s description:
Print: $13.49 | Kindle: $6.99

Connect with Lily:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Gastien: The Cost of a Dream
Gastien: The Cost of a Dream
by Caddy Rowland
If your book was a drink, what would it be?
If The Gastien Series was a drink, it would be absinthe, of course! That was the preferred drink of the bohemian artists of nineteenth century Paris. Strong, beautiful and mind-altering, the “green fairy” is a drink that forges its own path, daring to be different.

Who would absolutely hate your book?
People who don’t like dark, raw, gritty, emotional, and – at times – brutal stories would hate my book. I don’t write “pretty” stories, I write about the sublime joy and bitter tragedy of being human. That doesn’t guarantee “happy” but it does guarantee “real”.

Genre: Historical Fiction, Family Saga, Drama

Buy now or read the book’s description:
Print: $14.99 | Kindle: $4.99

Connect with Caddy:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Paris, Rue Des Martyrs
Paris, Rue des Martyrs
by Adria J. Cimino
Why is your book a “good idea” for someone who loves Paris?
It will transport you to the Paris of Parisians… You won’t feel as if you have vacationed in Paris, but as if you have lived there.

If your book was a drink, what would it be?
CafÈ au lait: Bitter and sweet, dark and light… Opposites come together, creating unforgettable flavor!

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Buy now or read the book’s description:
Kindle: $3.99

Connect with Adria:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Confessions of a Paris Party Girl
Confessions of a Paris Party Girl
by Vicki Lesage
If your book was a drink, what would it be?
A glass of red wine–classy but accessible. You want to share it with friends and you have fun drinking it.

Which scene might raise a few eyebrows?
The airplane vomit story, for sure. Or maybe the passing-out-on-the-bathroom-floor story. If you enjoy drinking, this might make you stop. If you don’t drink, you can smugly watch me learn my lesson. I do eventually grow up, it just takes a while.

Genre: Memoir

Buy now or read the book’s description:
Print: $14.99 | Kindle: $4.99

Connect with Vicki:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

I see London I see France
I see London, I see France
by Paulita Kincer
If your book was a drink, what would it be?
An Absinthe Chocolate Cocktail. Traveling with three kids while figuring out if a marriage is worth saving brings some definite worries, thus the absinthe to help forget those worries. And the chocolate, well that makes everything better, right?

Which scene might raise a few eyebrows?
Some of the scenes in my novel are hot, but they don’t get into graphic details of slot a fitted into slot b. What might raise some eyebrows would be Caroline, the main character’s, realization that she may have some prejudices. She rolls around the beach in Nice and is certain she is ready to break her marriage vows to have sex with a sensual gypsy man (think Johnny Depp). She leads him up to her hotel room and realizes she’s never been inside a building with the man. She only pictures him outdoors. And the prejudice of the hotel clerk plants doubt in her mind. Most middle class Americans have trouble admitting they may have prejudices.

Genres: Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Buy now or read the book’s description:
Print: $14.00 | Kindle: $4.99

Connect with Paulita:

Paris Was The Place
Paris Was The Place
by Susan Conley
Why is your book a “good idea” for someone who loves Paris?
At times Paris Was the Place is like a guided walking tour of Paris. You get to eat delicious crepes, hear some good jazz music, drink red wine and fall in love.

Which scene might raise a few eyebrows?
When narrator Willie Pears falls for a Frenchman she meets in Paris, she jumps in his truck and heads to the South of France. It’s a drive that turns out to be one long roadtrip of foreplay.

Genres: Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Buy now or read the book’s description:
Print: $26.95 | Kindle: $10.99

Connect with Susan:
Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Paris Game
The Paris Game
by Alyssa Linn Palmer
Why is your book a “good idea” for someone who loves Paris?
It’s an especially good idea if you’re fond of late night jazz, or wandering the streets of the Left Bank. That’s where I focused most of the story.

If your book was a drink, what would it be?
Something quite strong, whiskey on the rocks.

Which scene might raise a few eyebrows?
The entirety of chapter one.

Genres: Mystery, Romance, Suspense

Buy now or read the book’s description:
Print: $15.95 | Kindle: $4.99

Connect with Alyssa:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Which books match your style? Share in the comments!

Review & Guest Post: Jenny Lyn, and her new book RIVER RECKONING

RiverR1mHaving found out that the most excellent Jenny Lyn has a new book out (River Reckoning: Trouble in Trespass), I was delighted to be able to read it, and write a review. Plus, Jenny was happy to come by and talk about the setting of the story, which I found rather interesting. Mind you, I have no experience of swamps or alligators!

I finished this book in an evening. It’s not short, but I couldn’t put it down. It didn’t take long for me to get into the book, the author had me from the moment Bond reveals that her name is because of a film (and no, not James Bond). Add in the swampy South, and I was set. (I’d read a couple of Intrigues by Jana de Leon set in the South as well, and this book reminded me a bit of them, though those were set in Louisiana, I think.) Mix this in with corruption, bribery, stalker-ex boyfriends, and a couple of delectable US Marshals, and it’s just about perfect.

It’s apparently first in a series, but for those of you worried about cliffhanger endings — don’t be. Unlike a lot of romance novels these days, this one has a good solid ending, satisfying my needs perfectly.

And here is Jenny:

Alyssa mentioned in her review of River Reckoning that she liked that the story wasn’t set in NYC or some other big city. I’ve always known a good portion of my books would be set in small southern towns. After all, it’s what I know. The town of Trespass is fictional, but it’s a mash-up of several places I’m very familiar with since I live in Florida. Plus, the Suwannee River is not far from my house, so I know how beautiful it is because I’ve experienced it firsthand. My dad and I used to fish on the Suwannee. I’ve spent what felt like entire summers water skiing and swimming in it. I’ve been to its headwaters in the Okefenokee Swamp in South Georgia. I’ve also seen the alligators and the snakes Bond teases Nathan about. They really do grow to be monsters. Unfortunately, there are families like the Kyles, too, but that’s the case anywhere you go.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with setting a story in a big city, but small towns just hold more charm and appeal for me as a setting. There’s more to work with when everyone knows their neighbors, both good and bad. Being intimately familiar with the backdrop of my story helps me keep things authentic. Sure, I could bluff my way through a book set in Chicago or New York, but I can guarantee you I won’t get the tiny details right. It’s impossible if you haven’t spent a great deal of time there. I’d rather set it somewhere that I’m comfortable with, that I honestly love and know well, and maybe make you want to come for a visit. If you read the book (and I hope you will), let me know what you thought!


Bond Mason’s roots run deep in the backwoods hamlet of Trespass, Florida. Nestled against the banks of the Suwannee River, the only home she’s ever known holds bittersweet memories of a family long gone. Except one of her ghosts isn’t dead and possessive ex-lover James Kyle wants her back.

U.S. Deputy Marshal Nathan Gates sights are set on capturing fugitive Robert Kyle. Wanted for the cold-blooded murder of a DEA agent, Robert is suspected of being hidden away with his moonshine-brewing, marijuana-growing family of fellow lawbreakers, one of which is his brother, James.

Nathan expected high temperatures when he arrived in Trespass. What he hadn’t counted on is his searing attraction to southern beauty Bond Mason. She winds him around her finger like a tendril of Spanish moss, but his lawman’s intuition tells him she’s hiding secrets too. When he finally convinces her to talk, he’s not prepared for the dark truths she reveals about her hometown.

The Suwannee is deep, but Trespass’s sins run much deeper. For once, Nathan might be in over his head.

About Jenny Lyn:

I started reading when I was four, thanks to a babysitter who found out the only way to get me to sit still was to put a book in my hand. By the time I entered kindergarten, I’d blown through just about every Little Golden Book ever printed. Ten years later, much to my mother’s dismay, I found her stash of paperback romance novels. She tried to divert me back to something more chaste by buying me Harlequins, but I still snuck copies of her Kathleen Woodiwiss’s and Johanna Lindsey’s when she wasn’t looking. Shanna, The Flame and the Flower, and Fires of Winter will always hold special places in my heart because they introduced me to roguish heroes, headstrong heroines, and the trouble they could get into together.

I live in a swampy little corner of north-central Florida with my family, both the two-legged and four-legged variety. I love to read, run hot and cold in regards to cooking, and I never miss an episode of Justified, Longmire, or Dexter. I guess I like justice in all its various forms.

Buy the book!



Today I’m guest blogging over at the Alliterative Allomorph, run by author Jessica Bell.

In a converted railway station, crowded with visitors, I first saw Edouard Manet’s ‘Olympia’ in the flesh. So to speak.

It blew my mind.

A quick bit of backstory: I took a Fine Arts degree at university, so to see the ‘Olympia’ (and other works at the Musée d’Orsay) in person…it was a bit like a Christian pilgrim catching their first glimpse of the Sancta Camisa at the cathedral in Chartres.

Read more…

Guest Post: Patricia Sands, author of ‘The Promise of Provence’


Alyssa, when I saw your tagline I wanted to make plans to meet you for a café au lait and talk about all things French. Tout de suite!

Thanks so much for inviting me over for a virtual chat. I guess that will have to do for now ~ passing a plate of madeleines, hot out of the oven ~.

Since you and I share a love of all things French, I thought perhaps your readers would like to see a small sampling of why feel like we do. With your permission, I’m going to ‘focus’ on the south of France.

Apart from being surrounded by history that lives on amidst breathtaking vistas and vegetation, all of which I photograph with endless pleasure,

for me, it’s also about the windows …

windows1 windows2 windows3

And the doors …

door-lock door1 door2 The hilltop villages …


The sparkling Mediterranean …

coast1 coast2

And the vibrant combination of colour and hues at every turn …

coast3 dining spices

Do you take a lot of photographs when you travel? Is there particular subject matter on which you focus or do you shoot with joyful abandon? Don’t you just love digital photography?

After seeing your photos, Patricia, I really want to visit Provence, and the Mediterranean! But I’ll soon be going to Paris, and will have lots of photographs to post from my travels! 🙂

The Promise of ProvenceAbout ‘The Promise of Provence’:

Surprise, shock, and a shift in life as she knows it tumble into Katherine Price’s world when least expected. The future she envisioned suddenly vanishes, leaving little to focus on beyond her career and the caregiving her elderly widowed mother might require.

Fate has other plans for Katherine.

June in Provence is full of promise when Katherine arrives from Canada, eager to feel renewed by her surroundings. Endless rows of lavender prepare to burst into pink and purple blooms. Fields of sunflowers flow in golden waves among vineyards and olive groves. Ancient hilltop villages beckon. It’s the postcard setting she envisioned, but is that all she needs?

After a year of heartbreak, Katherine has impulsively agreed to a home exchange in the south of France. Colorful locals, a yellow lab named Picasso, and the inspiring beauty of the countryside breathe new life into her days.

Seeking to shed the pain of betrayal and loss, she struggles to recapture her joie de vivre and searches for the answer to a haunting question: is it too late to begin again?

As Katherine explores the romantic cobblestone lanes of medieval towns, the beautiful boulevards of Paris and the sun-kissed Mediterranean coast of the Côte d’Azur, unimagined possibilities present themselves.

An enduring story of hope and change in life’s later years is woven through the author’s love-letter to France. Like a well-travelled friend, Patricia Sands invites readers into a world she loves and entices them to linger.

“Be prepared to fall in love with Provence! This is a story that will draw you in with its vibrancy in setting and characters. A must read for any woman with a desire for romance and travel.” Steena Holmes, author of Amazon bestseller Finding Emma

Buy The Promise of Provence on Amazon:

Visit Patricia Sands online:

(My review of Patricia’s book is forthcoming.)

Guest Post: Daisy Harris’s Gay Movie Review Tour – Good But Depressing Gay Films

Hello, fair readers! And thanks, Alyssa, for having me on the blog today.

For those of you who don’t know—I write books. Romance books about gay men. As such, I watch a lot of gay movies, and gay-themed television shows. I figure that if you’re here, you might enjoy some of the same gay movies I have. And being that it’s the holidays, you might be looking for something new to watch….

So—This is the second post in my four-week Gay Movie Review blog tour. The tour calendar is at the end of the post, so you can follow along to other stops. As with most blog tours, there’s a prize involved. A randomly selected commenter will win a DVD of my favorite gay movie I’ve watched this year, Weekend as well as a book from my backlist.

On with the blog…

I’m a woman of little taste. I like my films silly, sexy, funny, cute, and heartfelt without being heart wrenching. But in the world of Gay cinema, sometimes even I get dragged into watching something that’s a bit of a downer.

The films below are good. I know they’re good. I’m even glad to have watched them. But they’ll never be on my Favorites list because they’re too effin’ depressing.

That said—plenty of people like downer movies. Just look at all the people who saw The Piano, Love Story, and The Notebook!

I have a very low tolerance for negativity. I can’t stand Les Mis, and was depressed for a week after watching Moulin Rouge. So, my opinions need to be taken with a grain of salt.

So if you like tear-jerkers, these movies are for you. Just don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

#1 Eyes Wide Open
Eyes Wide Open is one of those movies that’s hard for me to recommend because I can’t tell if I actually “enjoyed” it. I will say this—at least no one died. But that’s cold comfort when at the end of the movie the couple you’ve been watching and living through and rooting for breaks apart, and the rather handsome young man you’re halfway in love with has to leave town because he’s gay.

Yeah, Eyes Wide Open is that kind of movie. Riveting, engaging, heavy, and totally flipping depressing.

It’s from Israel, which may or may not contribute to its depressingness. The only other Israeli gay movie I’ve seen, Yossi and Jagger, was even more miserable than Eyes Wide Open. Mine is a small sample size for sure, but I’ll admit, I won’t be expecting any rollicking sex comedy to come out of Israel any time soon.

Here’s the plotline: In Jerusalem, a married, Orthodox Jewish father falls in love with his 20 year old male assistant. Persecution, sex, persecution, misery, more persecution, and eventual break up ensue.

It won awards. The depressing movies always do. The star, Johar Shtrauss, won Best Actor at the 2009 Jerusalem Film Festival. His performance as Aaron Fleishman was amazing. Mostly, it involved scrunching his eyebrows. He may have also been frowning, but he had a giant beard, so I couldn’t tell.

Speaking of giant beards—he also had a giant beard in the form of a wife and a passel of an indeterminate number of kids. I actually felt more sorry for his wife than I did for him or his lover.

In fact, I was depressed for everyone by the end of this movie, even the secondary characters. I’m glad I saw it, though. I mean—I need some depressing movies under my belt to make it seem like I’m not completely shallow. But I can’t say I was exactly happy to have watched it.

But if heart wrenching, tragic love stories in rich and unusual settings appeal to you, then by all means—watch Eyes Wide Open.

Oh, and Ran Danker was HOT as Ezri. Seriously smokin’. The eye candy made the sadness partly worthwhile.

#2: Shank
Shank is both more and less depressing than Eyes Wide Shut. On the one hand, it has a hopeful ending. On the other hand, so many horrible things happen during the course of the movie that it’s hard to feel good about the story as a whole.

It’s a British film set in Bristol. No subtitles.

Here’s the set up: Closeted gang member Cal (played by Wayne Virgo) spends his days beating the crap out of gay people, doing drugs, lusting after his BFF gang-buddy, and trying to hide the fact that he’s gay. Intermixed with the violence, he has an extremely sexy moment with his buddy hanging out shirtless in the front seat of a car, shotgunning pot smoke. (Y’know, as straight gang members do…)

One day, he saves a kid his gang is beating up on, and then he runs after the guy to give him a ride.

The kid is a university student and about as fem as you can possibly imagine. Also, very sweet. His name is Olivier (of course) and he’s played by the quite awesome Marc Laurent.

Fearing retribution from his gang for interfering with the beating, Cal asks to stay at Olivier’s house. They end up having sex, falling in love, etc.

But the gang, led by Nessa (Alice Payne), is furious at Cal for his betrayal, and they aim for retribution. Kidnapping, and the to-be-expected-given-all-the-violence ass rape* ensue.

In the end, Olivier calls for help and gets Cal home with the help of one of his professors. But even as it looks like Cal is going to leave with Olivier for a new life, we learn that Cal and his gang beat said university professor’s husband so badly he’s still in a coma.

So, yeah. A lot of spoilers, but you may as well know going in what you’re getting yourself into.

This shiznit is depressing.

That said—it’s also completely awesome. From the very first frame, I could not stop watching. Shank is vicious and brutal and painful and even beautiful. I don’t think I could make myself watch it a second time. It’s too much of a downer. But I’m really glad I watched it once.

I highly recommend you watch it, too.

And like so many other depressing movies, it’s won awards: The Audience Award at the Barcelona International Gay Film Festival, and the Emerging Talent in Queer Cinema at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

There’s even a sequel coming out, called Cal. Here’s hoping that it’s less depressing than the original.

*Note: My use of “ass rape” here is NOT metaphorical. It is an actual rape scene. Like, seriously. Sensitive viewers be warned!

This ends today’s installment of my Gay Movie Review Blog Tour. Stop by Coffee and Porn on Tuesday where I’ll be discussing Gay Movies with Soccer Themes!

And if after watching the Good-but-Depressing movies above, you need a pick-me-up, read one of my Holsum College titles. They’re about as light and fluffy as you can get. 🙂

Tour schedule:

Birkenstock-wearing glamour girl and mother of two by immaculate conception, Daisy Harris still isn’t sure if she writes erotica. Her romances start out innocently enough. However, her characters behave like complete sluts. Much to Miss Harris’s dismay the sex tends to get completely out of hand.

She writes about fantastical creatures and about young men getting their freak on, and she’s never missed an episode of The Walking Dead.

Want to learn more about new releases, general news and my latest inappropriate boy band crush? Sign up for my newsletter here:

Or visit my website:

Guest Post: Marquita Valentine

I’d like to introduce the very lovely Marquita Valentine. She writes fantastic stories, small-town romance with a touch of the supernatural. I can’t recommend them highly enough!

Thanks for having me here today, Alyssa!

In my latest release, Third Time’s a Charm, the heroine, Rose Holland, is kinda witchy. I know what you’re thinking-Kinda? Yeah, kinda…In that her witchiness is almost entirely observed by the hero, Sasha Romanov. However, until almost the end of the book, Sasha explains it all away. Poor insulation, predicted bad weather, faulty wiring, or even being lightheaded from chopping wood. Bless his heart.

For example:
“Don’t play dumb with me, Rosebud.” The front door slammed shut, even though no one was around to close it. The fine hairs on Sasha’s arms rose under his sweater.
“Want to try that again?” Rose’s hands fisted at her sides.
The wind gusted and the chimes hanging from the ceiling danced.  Bad insulation—that was the problem. There was always an explanation when it came to the supposedly supernatural events that surrounded the Hollands.
I’m sure bad insulation is the only reason the front door slammed. And it had nothing to do with the fact that Sasha had just ticked off Rose.

Door-slamming and almost electrocuting the hero, aren’t the only things that Rose may or may not be responsible for. But Rose never admits it. Not once. Which (hee!) I love about her character.

And isn’t there a saying that talks about how it’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for? Poor Sasha doesn’t have a chance! <G>

What’s your favorite book with a hero or heroine that may or may not have supernatural powers?

And here’s the blurb for Marquita’s latest:
Not even Holland Springs’ Most Notorious Resident can stop this Love Spell.

Customers come to Rose Holland’s apothecary shop for three things: to hear her uncanny matchmaking advice, to buy the “magical” hair and skin products she sells, and to accuse her of trying to steal their men. For years Rose has been entirely innocent and almost content with that status quo. But that was before sexy, smooth-talking Sasha Romanov came to town and made her want to use her love potions on him… until he broke her heart. Now corrupt town officials want to seize her land and sell it to an industrial giant, and her only hope for help looks like the one man she can’t trust—or stop herself from falling under his spell.

Alexander “Sasha” Romanov seems like every woman’s dream: charming, handsome and fabulously rich. But while the people of Holland Springs think he’s in town to generously invest in their economy (and possibly one of their daughters), Sasha struggles to save his sick mother from his vicious uncle’s plans by doing everything the greedy businessman wants. And Vlad Romanov wants Rose Holland’s land—at any cost.

Despite Sasha’s vow to get the job done and keep his hands (and everything else!) off Rose, the blue-eyed witch enchants him. But his mother’s life remains in the balance. Sasha must find a way to protect his mother, sabotage his uncle’s plans, and win the woman who’s captured his heart without destroying everything she loves.

“A refreshing, whimsical contemporary romance with complex characters and bursts of emotion that tugs on your heartstrings. Kept me up till one AM reading!”~ Carly Phillips, NY Times Bestselling Author

Marquita Valentine writes small town romances that are anything but small. Lisa Kleypas, Carly Phillips and Rachel Gibson are among her favorite contemporary authors. Marquita met her husband aka Hot Builder at Sonic when they were in high school. She suggests this location to all of her single friends in search of a good man — and if that doesn’t work, they can console themselves with cheesy tater tots. She lives in North Carolina in a very, very small town with Hot Builder and their two children.

You can find Marquita all over the internet:

Want to pick up a copy of Third Time’s a Charm? Grab it for Kindle or Nook!

Guest Post: Grit City Emotobooks Revolutionize Fictional Storytelling, by Ron Gavalik

When I heard about Grit City on Twitter, I couldn’t help but be intrigued. I love noir, and I love art, and when I heard that Dillon Galway’s gun for hire was a sultry lady sharing my name, I had to take a read. Author Ron Gavalik was happy to share his thoughts here on the blog.

As a writer it’s always been a goal of mine to bridge the gap between the cerebral gratifications of well-plotted writing and the visual stimulation of illustrative art or film. Like a mad scientist with crazy hair and a battered lab coat, I experimented with various styles, structures, and word painting exercises. Nothing seemed to achieve my goal.

Then it came to me. I had a mini-epiphany. Insert abstract, emotionally representative illustrations during peak moments of tension. By delivering a visual of what the character feels and experiences, the reader becomes more intensely immersed in the story.

The term emotobook is simply a portmanteau word I conjured, as a fun and memorable label for this new medium of fiction.

Unlike comic books that use direct illustrations as the primary storytelling device, Grit City emotobooks are written mystery noirs, with an urban fantasy twist. The four or five illustrations in each thirty-page installment merely lend a visual experience to the internal emotional processes of the characters.

It’s lots of fun.

Grit City is a continuing story, published each month to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks and other eBook retailers. In each installment the reader is exposed to a dark and calamitous world, where the nefarious rule.

Our main character is Dillon Galway, an idealistic freelance journalist in his mid-twenties, who barely scrapes out a living reporting on corruption for the metro newspaper and his own blog.

Dillon embodies a double meaning of the term grit. He is a gritty individual, who drinks and lives meagerly. But he also possesses grit. Courage and strength of character are his dominant personality traits.

I’ve constructed a world where Dillon shares a symbiotic relationship with the city. Its failures have lowered him, yet he remains hopeful for the restoration of peace and opportunity. Occasionally, he relies on the sexy and sultry Alyssa Stephano (gun for hire) to help when situations require her nickel-plated Colt .45 revolvers.

Grit City was an ideal place to live at one time. We all know of towns that have fallen over the years. The murder of Dillon’s father and the rise of the Syndicate started Dillon’s downward spiral. All meaningful power in business, politics, and law enforcement were funneled into the hands of this wealthy organization.

But in the shadows of the back alleys, whispers stir in the underground of an unnamed force. Something or someone that’s determined to upset the status quo. When Dillon is tipped about horrifying activities he’s propelled into a perilous investigation that may lead to dire consequences.

As the series progresses he’s faced with unfathomed challenges, but also gains abilities most consider impossible.

We’ve all dedicated our lives to the pursuit of a new fiction medium. We’re thankful such a broad audience is heralding the story. It seems our tagline on the website is true: Read one installment and you’ll be hooked until the gritty end.

Grit City is the maiden series of Grit City Publications. Our team of illustrators and editors are working with writers to launch a catalog of emotobook titles in 2012. It’s our goal to offer emotobooks in the following genres: Mystery, Horror, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Western, Romance, Erotica, and Inspirational. Cross genres are welcome and encouraged.

Maybe you have what it takes to write or illustrate for us.

Ron Gavalik has devoted his life to the written word. He’s practiced a long and successful career in fiction writing, journalism, and technical documentation. His short fiction has appeared in several magazines and online venues. His news articles have informed thousands of readers throughout the United States.

He conceived the new medium of emotobooks in 2010 while earning his M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Grit City is the maiden serialized story, and is receiving accolades among a large and diverse base of readers throughout the US, UK, and Germany.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Ron spends much of his free time in the outdoors of Southwestern Pennsylvania. He enjoys fishing, hiking, and riding his trail bike. He can be reached through his website at:

Guest Post: Miranda Baker – A French Kiss

Miranda Baker’s new book is Solo Play, released by Samhain Publishing. If you haven’t picked it up yet, get yourself over to Amazon or Samhain and check it out. It is hot! Here’s the blurb:

When librarian Alisa Mane’s boyfriend accuses her of being frigid, she sets out to prove him wrong the only way she knows how—with research.

A visit to the local sex shop uncovers the sizzling sensuality locked beneath her cool façade, and she eagerly accepts the opportunity to test sex toys for SoloPlay Enterprises. Under the code name “Sologirl”, she begins exploring her body on her own terms. After all, no one was ever rejected by a vibrator.

Mark Winters needs his new DoublePlay line of toys to hit big, and there’s only one tester for the job—Sologirl. She fires his imagination with playfully erotic reviews and never fails to pick a winner. There’s only one problem—Sologirl refuses to test the DoublePlay toys for couples. With his company’s success on the line, he decides to make his offer again, up close and in person.

One look at the icy hot Mark and Alisa realizes he’s her best chance to discover if any man can satisfy her. A red-hot month of experimentation more than answers that question, but now Alisa has another problem—DoublePlay is almost ready for production and her feelings for Mark have nothing to do with business. Is she brave enough to continue playing…with her heart?

I will be forever grateful to the first boy who broke my heart. Oh, he was older, of course, eighteen to my fresh fifteen. He was an artist. He had long hair. He definitely fell into the bad boy category, and it wasn’t me, it was him that was the problem in our relationship. Naturally. That’s what they all say, right? I totally bought it. Sigh.

Actually, in hindsight he was right. It was him because he wanted sex, and this daughter of an obstetrician was a merciless cock tease in high school. I knew exactly how babies were made. I knew the failure rate of condoms and no way, no how, was I going to have sexual intercourse until I’d been on the pill for a month solid. Some girls spent their first hours at college decorating their rooms. Not me! I went to Student Health and got myself a nice prescription. But I digress.

Back to the cock teasing. Sexual frustration led that long-haired boy to try a number of creative things with me, my favorite among them being prolonged make-out sessions with lots of dry humping. Straight-up, no lie, that boy taught me how to make love with my mouth. Eyes open, lips, tongue, hands and body so responsive to every nuance of movement that kissing was like communicating on a higher plane.

I’ve often pondered what makes a good kisser. Attention to detail? An ability to cloak the “let’s get to the good stuff” urge? Is it technique or chemistry? Does unique synergy between two people make the kissing good or is kissing well a learned skill?

I tend to come down on the side of skill but I’m not certain there is a gold standard for kissing. A friend of mine claims to love the smooshy, no-tongue kind of kissers and I don’t understand that at all. Her kind of kisser would bore me. Vive la difference? Perhaps.

I always think about that long-haired boy when I’m writing a first kiss scene in a book. I wonder if he is still an exceptional make-out artist or if nostalgia has clouded my judgment. It doesn’t matter, really. He gave me a Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, a shell-shocked heart and a lifelong love of French kissing. In some tiny teenage corner of my heart, I still want one more lip lock with that boy but it isn’t going to happen. It wasn’t me, it was him, and my characters reap the benefit of the lessons I learned in that bittersweet relationship.

What do you think about kissing? Skill or synergy? Technique or chemistry? C’mon…kiss and tell.

It makes me chuckle to think about all the romantic short stories I wrote in my rather too literary creative writing classes in college. If only one of my professors had steered me toward popular fiction! On the other hand, if I had discovered my calling back then, I wouldn’t have gone to culinary school, I wouldn’t have met my husband, we wouldn’t have had three children and I wouldn’t have turned to erotic romance to get my mojo back during all this hair-raising kid raising.

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