The End of Tales with guest blogger Brien Michaels

I met today`s guest blogger at Lori Foster`s Reader and Author Get Together in June. We had a blast, especially at an event where we read out snippets of real stories and others that we’d made up and participants had to guess which was which. From those few hours together, I suspect we have a similar sense of humor. I’m honored to present Brien Michaels…

Today is about endings. The end of tales, the different ways some writers come up with endings, the end of the As Long As You’re Mine blog tour. And I can’t think of a better place to spend today than here. Can you?

Quite possibly, the end is always the easiest part of the book to write for me, because I’ve been barreling towards it for so long I don’t want to stop or look back until I’ve reached those final words. For other authors, it’s different. Some struggle towards the end, every word being pulled from them with a pair of rusty pliers. Other’s, still, write the end first; that way, they know where they’re going.

I’ll admit, a lot of times when it comes to a story I obsess over the end once I hit about midway, and that’s why they come so easily for me, I think. Two in particular that I can think of that I can think of where I couldn’t find an end until I got there were Can’t Make You Love Me, which is on sale from Etopia Press, and Dangerously in Love, which I’m currently revising for resubmission. With both of those stories I just wrote, and I think it shows in the writing how passionate I was about the subject matter. Though how, exactly, it shows is a question only my editors, and then readers, can answer for me. If I remember correctly, both of those endings were inspired by episodes of Queer As Folk. What can I say? I love my boys.

The end of As Long As You’re Mine was one of those that totally snuck up on me. The whole book, I knew what it was going to be, but when I got there, I couldn’t believe it. I told myself it couldn’t have possibly happened as soon as it had. But me, being the pantser that I am, kept writing, and before I knew it, the words were gone. Zac and Wade’s story was told and they’d left me with nothing else to say. That’s not to say there won’t be another story in there, somewhere, but this particular one is done. Because no one likes those books that drag on far longer than they should, right?

Who isn’t a little bi-curious in college?

Wade Criss has always known there was something a little…off about him, but he hasn’t been able to admit it until now. He wants to sleep with another man. But not just any man. He wants his geeky, sexy acting classmate Zac.

Zac has been watching Wade all semester, waiting for the moment the other man would renounce his straight boy ways and fall into his bed. But when the two of them are paired together for their final exam, Zac isn’t sure how to react. What if Wade finds out his secret?

Zac is an Adult Phone Entertainer, and it’s that knowledge that turns Wade on more than anything. After all, there’s nothing hotter than the anonymity of phone sex. But it doesn’t matter how hot the sex is; everything always gets more complicated once feelings get involved. And Zac and Wade’s relationship is far from the exception.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a book of your choice from my backlist. Also, every comment will enter you for a chance to win a $25 Amazon GC. Winner will be drawn next week! Thanks for coming by! And thanks for having me, Leah. It was a pleasure.

Buy As Long As Your Mine from Loose Id, Amazon,  All Romance eBooks, or Barnes & Noble

Brien Michaels was born at an early age. In the time that he is not writing, he enjoys reading, eating, and terrorizing young wood nymphs. After an altercation with a person in a mask, he fled to the hills and now lives in seclusion with the voices in his head. He currently writes dark fiction, erotic fiction, and dark erotic fiction for the creatures that have moved in under his bed.

Find out more about Brien on his website, blog, Facebook, Twitter or  Goodreads.


I’m up on the Sweet Sexy Scorching Blog hop

It’s my day to be featured as part of the Sweet, Sexy, Scorching Blog event. There are 12 blogs involved and they’re posting excerpts from my various books at quite a few of them. Start off at Swept Away by Romance and then visit the other blogs listed in the linky widget beneath that post and find more hints so you can answer their question “Who am I?” and be entered in their contest.


Stacey Joy Netzel: More Than a Kiss

**Stacey has a special offer at the end of the post, so make sure to check it out. (Hint: A limited time FREE book is involved—plus sale prices on three of her other books, including new release MORE THAN A KISS.)

Thank you for being my guest, Stacey Joy!

You’re published with The Wild Rose Press but you’ve also ventured into self-publishing. What have you learned about the differences between the processes?

Two things…one, self-publishing is A LOT of work. I mean, writing is hard work to begin with, and I certainly didn’t expect the publishing side to be easy, but there is a lot of time and effort involved in formatting for each ereader/distribution site (Amazon/Barnes & Noble/Smashwords, ect.), not to mention having a cover designed, writing back cover copy, pricing, uploading, and then you still have to promo and write the next book! The second I’ve learned about and really like is the absolute freedom you have as your own publisher. I swear I’m not a control freak, but I love having final say on my covers and being able to price books so they’re affordable to all readers. Not to mention being able to offer sales when I want! (don’t forget to check below!)

Did anything surprise you?

Honestly, the increased income was a very pleasant surprise. I’m not getting rich, but I’m finally making enough to pay some bills instead of just buying dinner every three months. Though an indie-pubbed author totally earns the higher royalty rates with the extra work they’re putting into the publishing side, not to mention the hours and hours spent writing the book in the first place.

Your tag line is “Rugged Heroes, Resilient Heroines, Heartwarming Romance.” Tell me about your latest Rugged Hero and Resilient Heroine. (I love that line, by the way.) 

That would be Zach and Sadie in MORE THAN A KISS. Self-made millionaire Zach might be a whiz in the boardroom, but when it comes time to protect a woman, he’s got no problem stepping up. And because he received a cheap shot before knocking out the jerk, Sadie makes sure to offer a proper thank you. (see excerpt below) Sadie’s resilience stems from her determination to make it on her own and not depend on her stepfather’s wealth. She’s a bit prickly about the whole money issue, and does her best to avoid her rich, rugged hero, but luckily he’s persistent in his pursuit.

What’s next for you?

Coming up next is another Welcome To Redemption story, HOLD ON TO ME, (release date TBA), and any day now I should be hard at work on the sequel to my romantic suspense LOST IN ITALY. I say any day because while I’ve started Ben and Evalina’s book, my flower and vegetable gardens have been monopolizing my time.

Do you have a favorite book (someone else has written) that you keep as a ‘comfort read’?

I kinda wish I did, but books take so long to read (comparatively), that when I’m looking for comfort I turn movies like The Cutting Edge, Ever After, Sahara, While You Were Sleeping, or about 20-30 other options in my DVD library. Besides, for books, there are SO many out there, and so many by new friends I’ve made in this business, I just don’t have time to reread books even though I am a fairly quick reader.

If you could go back to meet yourself as you were just getting out of high school, what advice would you give yourself?

You know, I don’t think I’d have any sage advice, really. I am who I am because of the road my life has taken and the things I’ve experienced on the journey. Sure there have been some decisions that weren’t very smart at the time, but I wouldn’t trade the results for anything, and I wouldn’t be where I am now without those decisions. I’m happy with my life and what I have—a great family, a good job and a dream that I’m living in my writing.

Random question! Sandy Caribbean beach in February or Scottish castle in June?

This one’s easy—Scottish castle! I am not a sit-on-the-beach person at all. I get bored. Not to mention, I’m a red head who burns easy, so I prefer the shade to sunscreen, and I’d much rather be hiking somewhere in the mountains. :) Highlands would be pretty cool, too.

Leah here: Then Stacey definitely wouldn’t like the Sandy Caribbean beach in June. I wonder if Stacey would like the Scottish castle in February, especially if it’s in the Highlands. ;)

I’d like to share an excerpt, and after that, details about the indie-author Beach Book Blast event going on May 23-25th with FREE and discounted books by more than a dozen authors!


When a kiss…

All reporter Sadie Barton wants is to be taken seriously and judged on her own merits, not her stepfather’s money. She and her actress sister left Wisconsin to get out from under his controlling thumb and leave behind the malicious whispers that they’re no better than their gold-digging mother. But California isn’t all sun and fun, and paying the rent while trying to prove herself is harder than she ever imagined.

…is more than a kiss…

Something about Sadie drew self-made millionaire Zach Robinson—and it wasn’t just the amazing kiss they shared as impromptu actors in his company’s commercial. He’s used to women being interested in his wealth, and Sadie’s fierce independence is an enticing breath of fresh air. He’s falling fast—until his brother suggests acting runs in her family and Sadie might not be exactly what she seems…


copyright © 2012 Stacey Joy Netzel

“You should’ve iced this right away.”

The first touch of the cold cloth on his sore lip triggered a reflexive jerk away. He hissed air through his teeth before relaxing to let it out slow.

She raised her other arm and laid her palm along his stubble covered jaw to hold him still. It seemed strange, her fussing over him like this when he could take care of himself. Warmth spread from her touch and started his heart thudding in his chest. As if someone smacked him upside the head, he realized this was the closest she’d gotten to him since they’d kissed on the set of the commercial. Voluntarily, anyway.

With her concentration fixed on his mouth, Zach let his gaze wander over her long, down-swept lashes, smooth skin, and enticing lips. Discomfort shifted to center below the waistband of his shorts. Didn’t help that she had the corner of that lush, lower lip caught between her teeth again. He wanted to nibble.

When he raised his gaze to find her watching him, his pulse stuttered. Color stained her cheeks, but she didn’t break the connection.

“I didn’t thank you yet,” she said softly.

“Sure you did.”

His grip tightened on the cold bottle in his hand. Shut up, idiot! Let her thank you however she wants.

“Not for taking me to get Gemma, I didn’t. Or helping us get out of there and taking the hit for us.”

“Two,” he reminded, throwing in a grimace for good measure. “I took two hits.”

A smile tugged the corners of her mouth upward. “Don’t worry, I was counting.”


She lowered the hand with the ice pack to rest on his shoulder, bracing herself as she leaned closer. The minty freshness of her breath filled his nostrils and he swallowed hard at the thought of tasting it on his tongue.

“So…anyway…thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

Zach held still, afraid to even breathe in case she changed her mind. Anticipation sizzled through his body and what had been a refreshing ocean breeze now became a teasing caress on his heated skin.

Sadie’s lashes lowered as she closed her eyes and pressed her lips to his. Stomach muscles tightened in his effort to lean into the kiss, but she pulled away.

Well, damn. He had two chances here and one was already over? To hide his disappointment over the all too brief contact, he joked, “That’s one.”

The thumb of her right hand whispered across his lips. “How does your mouth feel?”


He barely had a chance to draw a breath before she leaned in for take two.


Want to read the entire book? Pick up a copy now for $0.99 before it goes back to regular price of $3.99! MORE THAN A KISS, DITCHED AGAIN, and DRAGONFLY DREAMS are all on sale for $0.99 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble May 23-25 as part of the Beach Book Blast.



Sand cover          Dark Cover

Barnes & Noble

Sand cover          Dark cover

LOST IN ITALY, my 2012 Romantic Suspense finalist in the Write Touch Readers’ Award, is FREE at Amazon May 23-25 as part of their Select program.


Want more FREE and discounted books? Head on over to the Beach Book Blast and check ‘em all out!

Thank you for having me here, Leah! I enjoyed the interview and look forward to talking with everyone.

Stacey Joy Netzel

Stacey Joy Netzel fell in love with books at a young age, so for her the graduation to writing them was natural. An avid reader and fan of movies with a happily ever after, she lives in her native Wisconsin with her husband and three children, a couple horses and some barn cats. She works part-time as a travel agent, and in her limited free time enjoys gardening, canning, and visiting her parents in Northeastern Wisconsin (Up North) at their cabin on the lake.

Learn more about Stacey Joy and her books at her website and Blog: or at Facebook: or follow her on Twitter:

Cristal Ryder: It’s Elemental, My Dear

I’m thrilled to host Cristal Ryder again.  And I had to chuckle as I read her post — especially when she says “google Wasaga Beach” because I’ve been doing a lot of saving of links for when I have to write blog posts for my upcoming Christmas story which is also set in central Ontario….

I’m so happy to be here at Leah’s blog again. I do love visiting and traveling :) Thanks for having me again Leah.

We are halfway through May and I’m shocked how fast we got here. It’s a long weekend coming up and  I do believe I will be offline for most of it. Heading to the cottage where the is no internet access unless we drive into a town called Collingwood. I know there is a Starbucks there with wifi. But part of me is ready for a down weekend. A weekend of campfires, s’mores, early morning and sunset walks on the beach with our Golden Retriever Emma, being lazy, afternoon snoozes in a hammock and bbq’s. Oh yes, and maybe a little bit of writing on my current seawitch story.

Oh if you want to know where we are going for the weekend….google Wasaga Beach. A bit of useless trivia, it’s the longest freshwater beach in the world and in Georgian Bay.

But before I can enjoy that weekend I have some work to do. My third release with Ellora’s Cave comes out today. Elemental Heat. It’s set in completely opposite type of land than the beach. The Rocky Mountains, in fact, the Colorado Rockies. I’ve been to the Canadian Rockies, Banff  and Lake Louise and they are spectacular.

In Elemental Heat we have a mountain cowboy as our hero and a Canadian city girl as our heroine. Two completely different people from opposite sides of the continent. Mother Nature also makes an appearance and she causes some serious havoc for Chet and Jenna.

I hope you enjoy the excerpt from Elemental Heat.

You can find me at:
Barnes & Noble

Jenna takes a big risk and decides to live in the moment. After months of communication by social media, she accepts an invitation to Colorado where she finally meets her cowboy. Burned by past romances, Jenna is determined to move on and goes with one goal in mind—a booty call with a tall, dark, sexy cowboy.

Chet is a romantic at heart and when Jenna arrives, he knows there’s more to her than a pretty face and a hot body. A casual fling won’t do. He’s smitten and decides to woo her the old-fashioned way with time and patience. And of course, hot sex.

Their chemistry is elemental and they come together with heat that sears the snowy peaks. When Mother Nature steps in, Jenna is forced to face the feelings she’s tried so hard to keep buried and Chet has to draw on his mountain skills to save the woman he has come to love.

Copyright © CRISTAL RYDER, 2012
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

“I can’t believe the stars.”

“Magnificent isn’t it?”


“I dare you to pick a star and wish my name on it.”

She giggled. “That’s not a dare.” Jenna inhaled the wonderful scent of wood smoke, night air and barbequing meat. For the first time in a long time a sense of well-being filled her. She reclined on the lounger, pulled the blanket to her chin and searched the sky for the perfect star. “I found one.”


Chet put the lid down on the grill and came to sit at her feet, holding her ankle gently with his big hand. She trembled at his touch, and loved the wave of arousal that swept up her leg to settle between her thighs. She wanted his touching to be so much more. Time for that later. Jenna pointed to a bright star a little bit off to the right. “See? The large one there.”

He glanced up and right at that moment a shooting star streaked across the sky and right over top of the star she just picked.

“Holy shit! Did you see that?” Jenna bolted upright and watched the fiery trail the meteor left behind. “What are the odds of that happening?”

“Yes, I saw.” She heard the smile in his voice.

“What does that tell you?” Jenna asked him.

“I think the important thing is what it means to you.” His voice was soft and she switched her gaze from the sky to his face.

“To me? Well, a sign.”

“What kind of sign?”

She hesitated a moment, quite struck by the shooting star. What were the odds that just as she chose a star a meteor would streak over the one she picked? There was a whole big sky up there, a great vastness and yet the celestial streak happened in her minuscule portion of it where she picked a star to wish his name on. It told her volumes, but she couldn’t really express it without feeling ridiculous.

“I don’t know.” She shrugged, feeling embarrassed to almost voice thoughts she normally would never let enter her mind. “Maybe that our visit was written in the stars…”

Chet squeezed her ankle gently. “I hope you made a wish on it.”

“I didn’t!” Was it too late? Jenna squeezed her eyes shut and wished. Wished with all her might that maybe, just maybe she was wrong and that she could find true love. Her birthday was this week, while she was here with a very sexy cowboy. One who seemed almost too good to be true.

If it seems too good to be true it usually is.

Jenna opened her eyes and glanced at Chet. Was he hiding any secrets?

“I hope it was a good one.” Chet’s deep voice reached her through the dark.

She pulled the blanket tighter. “Time will tell. There’s been lots of wishing upon stars over the years and I think only one has ever come to fruition.”

“Which one was that?”

Jenna laughed. “A horse. When I was little I would go outside every night and search for the first evening star and wish desperately for a horse. I finally got my wish when I was twenty. But I had to wait an awful long time.” She glanced at his now achingly familiar face, his rugged features softened by the bonfire. “I hope I don’t have to wait as long for this wish.”

“Sounds to me like you don’t have a whole lot of patience. Remember, all good things come to those who wait.” He winked at her and stood.

Jenna watched him walk to the barbeque. He was all fluid grace. For such a big man he wasn’t awkward at all and she couldn’t wait to see him in the saddle. He’d promised they’d go riding tomorrow. But there was a lot of time between now and then. She watched him flip the steaks and take a sip of wine from his glass, then hold the spatula aloft. The image was ingrained in her mind and she swore she would never forget this moment.

Before she knew what she was doing or could change her mind, Jenna swung her legs off the lounge and stood. Chet turned and watched her approach, the dark dreaminess of his eyes drew her. She needed to taste him, to feel his lips under hers and if he wasn’t going to make the first move then she would.

The blanket slipped down her back and she clutched the edges below her breasts.

He put the spatula down without looking where he placed it and it clattered to the patio stones. She stood before him and wound her arms around his neck, holding the corners of the blanket, wrapping them in the warmth of the wool. Her fingers pressed against his neck and the strength in his muscles made her feel truly feminine.

Almost at eye level, she had to look up only slightly to meet his gaze. All her senses tuned in to him, his essence permeated her and she let it. The long-distance teasing they had done the past few months came to a head and Jenna trembled with desire. She tipped her head back and pulled him to her. The hesitation when their lips were a hairsbreadth apart was exquisite. Energy crackled between them in the moment of anticipation before fulfillment.

Chet’s vigor and arousal radiated from him in pulsing waves. The whisper of air between their bodies vanished when he snaked his arms around her waist and brought her hard against him. Jenna sucked in a breath and a little “oh” popped from between her lips.

“This is where I’ve wanted you all day, woman.”

You can also follow Cristal on Twitter or on Facebook.