Monday, September 19, 2011

Lift your glass to this Monday's Guest Blogger: Biermiester and Author, Liz Crowe

How To Say “The End?”
The Tap Room—A Brewing Passion Novella
Release date:  September 30. 2011

It began with a series of short stories about the three owners of the Winter Street Brewing Company, a newly successful craft microbrewery in a mid west college town.  Trent Franklin, the founder and already successful restaurateur and his friend Owen Maxwell have asked Erin Brady, an old friend of Trent’s to take their company to the next level with her marketing and public relations expertise.   It works.  Their company grows by leaps and bounds during the six years prior and now they are on the cusp of expansion and making tough decisions about where to go next.

But Erin’s life seems to spiral downward in spite of her successes with the brewery.  Having recently discovered that her husband of twenty years, Bradley Jefferson III has channeled his frustrations with Erin’s new busy life into a young mistress, she now faces the reality of one business partner (Owen) who has nurtured an obsession with her from the beginning and wants to prove he can fill the void in her life. 

Of course, expansion requires New Staff.  Enter Jeff Thornton, one of the hottest young commodities on the brewery market—a legitimate “Brew Master” having trained in Germany and as second brewer for a large brewery in California.  He may solve their production dilemmas with his expertise but he is going to throw a serious cog in the machine of Erin’s heart.  Jeff’s hotness extends beyond brewing.  He’s a licensed personal trainer and physical therapist whose first weekend with Erin at a beer festival becomes something much more than just work (Jockey Box)—and is complicated by the fact that Owen has chosen that moment to surprise her with his own confessions.

And then there is Landon Hannover, a craft beer rock star, writer and consultant who invites Erin out to a conference on the West coast, and has more than just simple consultation in mind when they come face to face.

Whew—lucky gal?  Maybe not.  Trying to hold together a small business is difficult enough, but add in all the drama that she has seemingly elicited amongst her partners and employees and Erin’s world gets more complex by the minute.  When Bradley re-emerges, contrite and with his usual Super Alpha charm, she is knocked for yet another loop.  Luckily, in the meantime, Trent, her old friend and other business partner remains one of Erin’s strongest and most trusted friends through her journey of self-discovery.  By the time the Winter Street Brewing Company is to receive an award as “Most Promising New Start Up” from Inc. Magazine, Erin must make a choice.

The thing is:  YOU (the reader) will make the choice for her. 

Once all of Erin’s men are introduced, at a pivotal moment, she realizes she must choose.  At that point, readers will choose path 1, 2, or three and follow the story to the end depending on which man they think is right for her.   Of course, each path has its own challenges, twists, turns and steaminess and by the end you may be as torn as she is.  But each man has a distinct personality, pluses and minuses, and I believe readers will feel strongly about one or the other by the time the choice must be made.

Writing this project was one of the hardest things I’ve done yet as an author.  I began the book knowing what man Erin would end with.  But when my publisher approached me about pursuing it as a “choose your adventure” style format I jumped on board, not fully realizing how difficult it might be to create plot lines for characters I did not think belonged together.  However, by the time I typed “The End” I will admit, I could see her making a different choice.  Talk about exercising that writing muscle!  It was exhausting and exhilarating and trust me when I say edits are excruciating, they are.  But I can’t wait for everyone to jump into her life and help her sort it ou.

The three short stories:
The Rookie
XXXMas Ale
Jockey Box
 Are all available at OR at Goodreads, Amazon and ARe (search by author name:  Liz Crowe)

I blog at: AND every Friday (“Liz’s F#@!ing Fridays”) at

Cheers!  Drink Craft Beer!

Friday, September 9, 2011


First Page from Bodies of Light by Lisabet Sarai
Available from Total-E-Bound (

She had failed.
Suspension was supposed to be dreamless. Still, frustration and disappointment swirled through her consciousness. Pain nagged her, the ache of goals missed, work left undone. What work? She could not recall. She knew only that it had been critically important.
Layers of confusion swaddled her mind like heavy blankets, smothering any attempt at logic. The incoherence of her thoughts disturbed her further. Images, words and symbols crept into focus then faded before she could decipher their meanings. The need to understand was an itch she could not scratch.
She hung in a dark, foggy void, disembodied and disoriented. Only her emotions had any clarity. She could not banish the certainty that she had been tested and found wanting.
Then came the light.
In the void there was no time. Without transition, light arced through her, golden arrows that pierced and scattered her despair. She had no eyes but somehow she was drenched in rainbow-edged glory. Shimmering waves of aquamarine and cerise danced before her—through her—banishing her darkness. She heard the light as well as saw it, a strange melody that pulsed in rhythm with the glow, tugging at her heart. Irrational joy flooded her.
“Christine.” The voice wound in and out among the chords. It caressed her being, promising comfort and release from care. 
“Christine.” A second voice (yet how could she know this, without ears to hear?) whispered in the brief pauses between notes, deeper, darker, a gorgeous contrast with the flaring colours that bathed her thoughts. The new voice spoke of pleasure, of desire and exquisite satisfaction.
“You are not alone,” the first voice murmured.
“We are with you,” the second announced, bold and bright as a trumpet call. At the same time, sensation rippled through her. Invisible hands cupped and massaged her breasts (but she had no body, no breasts…) until sparks flew from the nipples to merge with the spiralling brightness. Fingertips trailed along her non-existent skin, triggering pleasure so intense it frightened her. The silver voice—as she pictured the first—soothed her without words. The bronze voice laughed like ringing bells and coaxed ever more unbearable delight from her insubstantial body. Her soundless moans rose to join the prismatic symphony in which she floated.
The twin voices teased and enticed her, urging her to let go. “We will support you,” they crooned as pleasure suffused her. She stopped trying to understand how she could experience such arousal when she had no limbs, no sex. She was the pleasure, a multi-hued whirl of harmonious vibration in crescendo.
Silver-voice sang her to the top. Bronze-voice held her there, his power shuddering through her, driving out the fear. “Now fly,” said the darker voice and released her.
 Pure white energy bloomed from her, rushing outwards. Bliss followed in the wake of the blossoming brilliance. The music swelled to a blinding chorus then thundered into silence.
Darkness descended once more, warm and welcoming, cradling Christine like a beloved child. She reached out mentally for the two voices, but caught only faint echoes of their presence. A twinge of sorrow marred her comfort for a moment, then evaporated. All was well.
Christine slipped deeper into the sweet unconsciousness of suspension, forgetting her doubts and regrets. 

A dozen years ago LISABET SARAI experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published three single author short story collections and six erotic novels, including the classic RAW SILK. Dozens of her shorter works have been released as ebooks and in print anthologies. She edited the acclaimed anthologies SACRED EXCHANGE and CREAM and is currently responsible for the altruistic erotica series COMING TOGETHER PRESENTS. In addition, she reviews erotica and erotic romance for the Erotica Reades and Writers Association ( and Erotica Revealed ( websites.

 Lisabet holds more degrees than anyone needs from prestigious universities who would no doubt be embarrassed by her chosen genre. She loves to travel and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her highly tolerant husband and two cosmopolitan felines. For more information on Lisabet and her writing visit Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory ( or her blog Beyond Romance (  

Monday, September 5, 2011

Make Mine Easy Monday: Guest blogger, Shashauna P. Thomas

1. Welcome to ...a Passionate Heart! Please, tell us about yourself. What do you write and why?
     My name is Shashauna P. Thomas and I like to write Erotica.  Most of my erotica have romantic elements.  Though there are a few where it is pure lust and sexual gratification as the main theme instead of love.  The stories I write can sometimes vary from boy-meets-girl to f/f to BDSM to Sci Fi to Menage a trio (or more).  And sometimes an interesting combination of two or more of these genres. When it comes to the various characters, story plots, and sex scenes running around in my head I've discovered that my imagination is limitless.
     I write Erotica for three main reasons.  1) That is the type of books I like to read (along with Horror, Sci Fi and Suspense) 2) Erotica is the only type of stories that I see in my head. 3) I love writing it so much that I really couldn't see myself writing anything else.  Or doing anything else for that matter.

2. How would you characterize your writing style?
     Ummm...I'm not sure how one would characterize it.  I am the first to admit that sometimes it can be all over the place.  I see characters and scenes very clearly inside my head and I write down their stories as best I can convey them.  Sometimes I see the stories as a third person onlooker, and others I see it from one or more of the character's point of view.  The way I see the stories in my head is the way I write them on paper.  This also explains why despite all the English and writing courses I've taken in my life telling me never to do this, I often tend to write the way I speak.  Or in some cases, the way a character speaks.  This is also why some stories the reader will find there will be more curses and blunt language usage than in others.

3. Which authors/movies/music/television programs do you think influenced your writing the most and why?
     Wow.  These are really good questions. They are certainly making me think.  OK.  The Authors that influence me have to be my favorite authors:p Lora Leigh, Zane, Kresley Cole, Kate Douglas, Lisa Gardner, Lisa Jackson, Katie MacAlister, and Steven King. They are the authors whose writing styles and stories lines I enjoy the most.  The characters they create. The way they describe not only people, settings, actions, thoughts, and emotions all seamlessly. The very real and vivid sex scenes they write which are a feast to the reader's senses.  How they easily draw you in to the plot lines of their stories. One minute you feel sorry for them, the next you can't breathe because you're laughing so hard, next you're on the edge of your seat wondering what in the world is going to happen next, and the next you're just as turned on as the main character is. Each of these authors pen stories that easily draw the reader in and that is how I want my stories to be.
    I will admit to having watched a few adult movies from time to time (only for research purposes I swear).  I've watched them enough to know I prefer the ones with a story line or as they call them, "plot-based.  Pornos". Porn made up of just sex scenes with absolutely no attempt at a story line, no matter how feeble the attempt maybe, held very little interest for me.  I actually found myself making up back ground stories and it helped me to enjoy the Porns better. For research purpose of course. ;-) But mainly I like to watch Horror and Action movies.  My family often teases me by saying that the movies I like have to have a body count. As long as a movie has action, adventure, and romance, then it is for me.  I wouldn't say movies influence my writing much except they give my imagination ideas for situations and predicaments that the characters in my head find themselves in and have to find their way out.
     I like all types of music. Literally everything. Except hard rock, heavy metal, and punk. And even then I'm sure there are a few exceptions. Music plays an influence in my writing because sometimes when I see a scene in my head I'll literally hear a few frames from songs as background noise.  If the scene is in a Midwestern bar I'll hear country music.  If it's in a bar or lounge in the city I'll hear jazz music and R&B.  If it's a night club I'll hear rap and hip hop.  I add these elements to the stories I write to help build the scene for readers.  Sensory clues are very important as I've had editors remind me.
     The television programs that I watch are all dramas.  From crime dramas like Law and Order: SVU and the Closer to comedy dramas like Weeds and the Big C. Historical dramas like the Tudors and Spartacus.  And of course Dramas based off of book series like True Blood and Pillars of the Earth. I learn something new each episode from scientific / Forensic dramas like House and Dexter.  Then there are teen dramas like The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars that I can't help but enjoy no matter that I am no longer a teen. And of course reality shows like The Real World and Jersey Shore. As you can probably tell my taste in TV is all over the place. Much like my stories. The more variety in shows the more diverse information my imagination has to feed off of.  Fuel for creating future books.

4.Describe your writing desk or area. Do you sit at a desk? Lay in bed or on a couch? Are you near a window? What do you see? Is it an area you've crafted to stimulate writing or are you just writing where ever you happen to be?
     Most of the time I write at home in my room at the old computer desk that has been in my family for years.  It is a huge, clunky. wooden desk, with a small section for the computer screen on the left--barely wide enough for the large old fashion monitor I have--and a wooden shelf on the right. Cluttered with paper, ink, old diskettes (that's right, I said "diskettes"), an old scanner, and a new four-in-one printer perched all the way on top.  The old pull out shelf where the keyboard should be broke off many years ago so now the keyboard and mouse rests on the same shelf as the monitor,  Under the clunky desk is the old stand up tower. Next to a six outlet surge protector and a mess of wires coming from my computer and the black cable modem that allows me to access the internet. The tower is one that my aunt gave me when my old computer gave out on me for the last time.  It was old when she gave it to us so you can imagine how old it is now.  This computer much like my desk is old and slow, but so far has been reliable.  Has seen me through a number of late nights writing, editing, and submitting. Though it is nothing like my ideal home office and it does absolutely nothing to inspire me, it's reliability is what counts.
     I prefer to write here than on the laptop I have. Also old, but definitely younger than the deck top. It doesn't have wireless so it is basically only good for games and Microsoft Office. I use the laptop when I'm away from home and I need to write.  I will write anywhere, and at anytime.  Partially to meet deadlines, but also because I can't control when images hit me.  As soon as they do I try to write them down. I try to capture them quickly so I don't loose the clarity of the scene. I then either work them into the story I am presently writing if it is a scene from that story or if it isn't I set it aside for a future story I plan to work on next.

5.What do you hope to impart or give to your readers with each story you write?
     I hope to draw the reader into the story as much as I find myself drawn in. I want to make the characters so real that the reader can see them clearly in their mind and in some cases even identify with them. I wish to enthrall my readers with the erotic tales I've spun. I hope to open their minds to new possibilities, and inspire them to be more open minded. To different perspectives, different realities, and all the sexual possibilities out there. I want the reader to see all the different types of people out there in the world and embrace them without any preconceived judgements. I want them turned on and I'd love to plant some seeds of interest in their head about things they never tried, never thought to try, but now find themselves suddenly curious about.  Of course above all else I want the readers entertained and satisfied so much so that they'll keep coming back for more.

6. Favorite snack food?
     Doritos, Crunchy Cheese doodles, Ice Cream (Ben & Jerry's or Haagen-Dazs) and Chocolate.

7. Favorite Disney character (and why)?
     Goofy.  He always cracks me up.

8. You're pulling up to the drive-thru of your favorite neighborhood coffee shop: what are you ordering and how do you like it? (And, are you a Dunkin Donuts person or do you prefer Starbucks? Or is there a unique shop that makes it just the way you crave it?)
     I am definitely a Dunkin Donuts girl, and when I'm there I am ordering an Iced Caramel Latte with extra extra caramel. If it is the morning I might also order a sausage and cheese croissant sandwich, but if it is the afternoon I most likely will order a few chocolate doughnut holes.

9. You're on the beach, toes in the sand, cool drink by your side. What are you reading?
     One of Lora Leigh's Breed Series novels.

10. Paper or plastic?
     Plastic.  And we make them reusable all the time.

Great answers, Shashauna! My favorite line: I want the reader to see all the different types of people out there in the world and embrace them without any preconceived judgments. Admirable and wonderful!
Thank you for being a guest on ...a Passionate Heart. :) 

Friday, September 2, 2011

FIRST PAGE FRIDAY: Meg Mim's Double Crossing

 A murder arranged as a suicide … a missing deed  … and a bereft daughter whose sheltered world is shattered.
August, 1869: Lily Granville is stunned by her father’s murder. Only one other person knows about a valuable California gold mine deed — both are now missing. Lily heads west on the newly opened transcontinental railroad, determined to track the killer. She soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey.
As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust—the China-bound missionary who wants to marry her, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her … for a price. Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?



Evanston, Illinois: 1869

I burst into the house. Keeping the flimsy telegram envelope, I dumped half a dozen packages into the maid’s waiting arms. “Where’s Father? I need to speak to him.”

“He’s in the library, Miss Lily. With Mr. Todaro.”

Oh, bother. I didn’t have time to deal with Emil Todaro, my father’s lawyer. He was the last person I wanted to see—but that couldn’t be helped. Thanking Etta, I raced down the hall. Father turned from his roll-top desk, spectacles perched on his thin nose and hands full of rustling papers. Todaro rose from an armchair with a courteous bow. His silver waistcoat buttons strained over his belly and his balding head shone in the sunlight. I forced myself to nod in his direction and then planted a quick kiss on Father’s leathery cheek. The familiar scents of pipe tobacco and bay rum soothed my nervous energy.

“I didn’t expect you back so early, Lily. What is it?”

With an uneasy glance at Todaro, I slipped him the envelope. “The telegraph messenger boy caught me on my way home.” My voice dropped. “It’s from Uncle Harrison.”

Father poked up his wire rims while he pored over the brief message. His shoulders slumped. “I’ll speak plainly, Lily, because Mr. Todaro and I were discussing this earlier. My brother sent word that George Hearst intends to claim the Early Bird mine in a Sacramento court. Harrison believes his business partner never filed the deed. He needs to prove our ownership.”

“Hearst holds an interest in the Comstock Lode, Colonel.” Todaro had perked up, his long knobby fingers forming a steeple. The lawyer resembled an amphibian, along with his deep croak of a voice. “His lawyers are just as ambitious and ruthless in court.”

Father peered over his spectacles. “Yes, but I have the original deed. I didn’t plan to visit California until next month, so we’ll have to move up our trip.”

            “Oh!” I clasped my hands, a thrill racing through me. “I’m dying to visit all the shops out there, especially in San Francisco. When do we leave?”
            “We? I meant myself and Mr. Todaro.”

            I stared at the lawyer, who didn’t conceal a sly smirk. “You cannot leave me behind, Father. I promised to visit Uncle Harrison, and what if I decide to go to China?”

          “Lily, I refuse to discuss the matter. This trip is anything but a lark.”

ISBN# 978-1-936852-48-2
Buy Links:  Astraea Press --
Amazon --
B & N --

BIO: Meg Mims is an author, artist and amateur photographer. She writes historical mysteries and romantic suspense, and is a staff writer for RE/MAX Platinum in Michigan – writing articles about the real estate market, community events and Realtors – and for Lake Effect Living, a West Coast of Michigan tourist on-line magazine. Meg’s article about the one-legged Civil War veteran and lighthouse keeper of South Haven, James S. Donahue, appeared in Vol. 34, No. 2 Summer 2011 issue of The Chronicle, the Historical Society of Michigan magazine. DOUBLE CROSSING, a historical western romantic suspense, is out now as an e-book and will be in print this month.