Giving the Heroine Her Due


by Sascha Illyvich 

When discussing romance novels, we tend to focus exclusively on our heroes and how difficult they were or brave because of the challenges they've overcome, but what about the heroines who must deal with them?  Does anyone ever cover the strong women?  I'm giving a special shout out to those heroines.

The important thing for me as a romance reader is to find the heroines and heroes who, despite all the odds, end up together and make it work somehow through all the strife.  And by strife I'm not talking about him meeting her father, because that's generally not an issue in the romances I tend to read.   We're looking more at the heavier things in the world.  Scenarios that would suggest action or inaction may harm the fate of man.  

Secretly, there are times when the Alpha Male doesn't yearn for control, he longs to give it up, just for a moment.  I'm currently making my way through the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by JR Ward and enjoying it, loving just how rich the characters are with their flaws.  All of the males are so damaged emotionally and even mentally that it takes a truly strong heroine to not only love them, but deal with them.  And the stories don't stop after the character gets their book.  We're still seeing Wrath's newfound issues in Lover Avenged.  In Phury's book Lover Enshrined, we see just how completely messed up that male is because the woman who wants him has to basically walk out on him to make him realize just how badly he needs help.  When he finally comes to someone for help it's not his Brothers, it's her. 

Since Romance is truly the Heroine's Journey, it only makes sense that they should take a place in the spotlight in nontraditional terms. For more on this, make sure to pop on over to Savvy Authors and check out my class for writers:  Male POV – Creating Better Heroes June 16-22nd. Until then, Jaded Males – My Specialty is a post I wrote to help more writers get behind our messed up heroes minds.

Sascha Illyvich

An interview with...Erotica author MORGAN HENRY

Thanks for being here today, Morgan.

First of all, I want to congratulate you for just getting a new contract offer from Siren-Bookstrand! Woo hoo! Very exciting.

Now...would you please share a short bio about yourself?

I was able to realize a long unfulfilled dream when Siren accepted my manuscript for publication.  Though I had always loved reading and writing, I made the decision to pursue a career in science when I was still in high school.  It was a choice based in a need for stability and financial security.

It wasn’t until much later in life that I returned to my love of writing.  I wrote a manuscript, deciding that it was better to try and fail than to always wonder if I could have been a writer.           

I reside in Ontario, with my loving and supportive husband, cat and Boston terrorizer, oops I mean terrier.  When I’m not writing, I still have a full time “day job”, family to look after, friends to enjoy spending time with, and quilts to make.

Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person? 

I am most definitely introverted.

In what ways has being shy or introverted hindered your writing career?

I am still very early in my writing career, so these next few questions are maybe a bit premature. I’m not sure it hindered the writing. I think it hinders the publicity end of things. I have a hard time with promoting me and my writing.

In what ways has being shy or introverted helped your writing career?

The definition of an introvert is someone who needs time by themselves to recharge their personal energy. Since I enjoy alone time, I find the solitary nature of writing quite pleasurable.

What’s the hardest part of this business for you?

I’m still struggling with the whole “web presence” thing. I don’t generally spend a great deal of time online, so trying to manage a website, facebook, etc is a bit difficult for me.  As I mentioned earlier, I also find the promotion aspect difficult too.

Tell me about a time that you had to step outside your comfort zone either in your writing career or in your personal life? 

Well, as for the writing, I’m going to my first writing seminar a few days before this interview comes out. We’ll have to see how that goes.  It involves going to a place with a lot of people that I don’t know, to an event type I’ve never encountered and I’ll be by myself. A crowd and doing something for the first time – it’s an introvert’s nightmare!

Actually, when I think about the things that have made me most uncomfortable in life, they all tend to have crowds of people I don’t know. Conferences, weddings, funerals, concerts, etc. They all are draining.

What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you?

I think that introverts need to embrace that part of themselves. It’s okay to need alone time to recharge.  It’s also important to understand that about yourself, but not let it hold you back from achieving what you want in life.

For example, I can force myself to go to that writing seminar, but I know that will be pretty much it for me for the day. I wouldn’t try to schedule a dinner party for 12 on the same day, because I’ll be too wrung out to be good company later.

Would you please share a short blurb of your book and where my readers can buy  it?

This is the blub for my newest book, A Hard Choice for Hanna.  It’s the second book in the Hardwick Bay series.

Hanna Marks is happy with her life.  She loves her job as a veterinary technician, her home, beautiful garden, friends and family.  When sexy Kent and Carter VanLindt pursue her, she feels that it can't get much better.  They’re smart, successful, fun to be around and amazing in bed.

Hanna loves her family dearly, and can’t imagine life without them. But her parents didn't grow up in Hardwick Bay, the little town that embraces alternative lifestyles. Surely they’ll be able to accept her relationship with two men.  Or will her mother’s increasingly conservative views on marriage and relationships ruin it all?

Kent and Carter love Hanna to bits.  She’s the one for them. But when Hanna pulls away at the first sign of trouble, Kent’s past relationship disaster comes back to haunt him. Can Carter convince him to forgive Hanna and give their relationship another chance?

Where can my readers find you on the web?

You can buy her first book, A New Life for Cailynn, here.

 Thanks for a great interview, Morgan! Wishing you many sales and many more contracts!

An interview with debut author... LORI LYN

I'm so excited to have you on the blog today, Lori,and just thrilled to announce the arrival of your debut novel! Would you please share a short bio about yourself? 
Hi! I’m Lori Lyn and I’m addicted to writing. I began writing as a young girl, crafting poems, song lyrics, short stories and I even wrote the gossip column for my junior high school. I’m “nearly a native” and live in the Pacific Northwest with my four dog muses and the Capt. 

Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person? 
I’m actually not shy!

What’s the hardest part of this business for you? 
 Having to be patient. While writing is extremely solitary, you always have to depend on others in this career. Even if you are an indie author, you will have to wait to receive promo items, reviews, cover designs – all sorts of things. I have to remember that these people have their lives to worry about! 

Tell me about a time that you had to step outside your comfort zone either in your writing career or in your personal life? 
 That’s easy – promoting myself. I love to shout to the rooftops when my friends have new books or fab new reviews or have some other exciting thing happen but - for me? Not so much. I’m really having to push myself to ask for reviews and ask friends, family and strangers to “go buy my book!” What if I ask them to buy it and they hate it?!? Ugh. 

What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you? 
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I have amazing writer friends I know will always help me but they can only do so when they know I need them. I was terrified to ask for a cover blurb and finally screwed up my nerve and asked the amazing Stella Cameron for one – and boy did she deliver without any hesitation! The writing community is so generous that way. 

Would you please share a short blurb of your book and where my readers can buy it? 
THE ARCHERY CONTEST: Alexander Fitzhugh is a bear of a man, quite content to spend his time with his sturdy mistresses. When both his father and his cousin begin to pester the rakehell to fulfill his obligation to produce an heir, he balks at the idea of having to select his bride from the dainty debutantes of the Season. Thinking to eventually find a robust widow, he is not prepared for the campaign launched upon him by “Bill”, a petite blonde vixen who already has more than enough young swains dancing to her tune; nor is he prepared for the raging desire and protectiveness she evokes in him.

Lady Wilhemina Kirkpatrick, or Willy as her intimates call her, is enjoying her first Season and plans to find a suitable rogue to teach her the art of becoming a flirt. Once she sets eyes on Alexander Fitzhugh however, the headstrong young lady quickly decides the earl will be the perfect match for her. Undaunted by his surly behavior toward her, for she has seen the blatant passion burning in his eyes, she contrives to ensnare the acrimonious lord and everyone knows – what Willy wants, Willy gets!

Today is release day!!!! It's available via Amazon and all online book retailers! 

Buy it here:

Where can my readers find you on the web?
Readers can check out my website at  

Quick (Writing) Tips by M.S. Kaye

Thank you, Rebecca, for having me!

Welcome to my Quick Tips Blog Tour. I’ve put together ten short, easy writing tips to share. Follow my tour to see them all. Tour stops will be posted on my website:

Quick Tip 9:
Strong and Accurate Verbs
We all know to show not tell, but we have to understand how to do that, which can be complicated. Start simply with strong, accurate verbs. Use verbs that not only create images in the readers’ mind, but correct images. Did he run, jog, or burst forth? Any one of those is better than “he went,” but which one is the most accurate? Don’t trust your thesaurus. Some words may be synonyms, but they are not the same.
Laugh, chortle. Walk, hike. Toss, hurl. Frown, pout…
Do you have any to add?

Kindling the Past
by M.S. Kaye
Kindle is fighting to survive on her own, to break free from her possessive and violent ex-boyfriend, and trying not to let her best friend, Anna, know she’s in love with her husband. Most of all, she fights the visions she sees of the past—she doesn’t believe in that kind of stuff.
Then Anna is shot and killed.
In their grief, Kindle and Ty, Anna’s husband and Kindle’s Taekwondo instructor, grow closer. Although Kindle is careful never to let him too close, he helps her learn to accept that her visions are real. Eventually, the truth about Anna’s death breaks through into Kindle’s visions, and she must find a way not to let it destroy her.
Buy Links:

Author Bio:
M.S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband, Corey, in Jacksonville, Florida, where she tries not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at

Contact M. S. Kaye at:


I fought the visions. My mother used to tell me my expression turned stupid when I had them, but I didn’t care about that so much anymore. I hated when the visions were true somehow, actual bits of the past. I didn’t believe in that kind of stuff.

Chapter 1: Fight
“She’s such a snob,” one of the young women whispered on the other side of the locker room.

I stayed faced away, trying not to hear their gossip. I tugged my jeans on and pulled my shirt over my head. When I glanced in the mirror to fix my hair, I barely saw the dark brown framing my fair skin—only the way the other girls looked at me. I bent over to pick up my shoes.

“The guys don’t even ask her out because she’s so stuck up.”

I didn’t understand why they thought like this about me, but I didn’t much care anyway. As soon as I had my shoes on, I threw my gear bag over my shoulder and walked out.

Master Trahem was on the workout floor sparring with Mr. Schmidt. Master Trahem’s uniform was starting to come open, and sweat glistened on his well-built chest.
I looked away.

“Bye, Kindle,” Mrs. Trahem said as I passed the front counter. “See you tomorrow.”

I smiled at her, one of the few people I reserved my genuine smile for. She was a big part of the reason I came in early to 
help every day, her and her atrocious typing skills. She always held her fingers above the keys like a fisherman wielding a spear, as if expecting them to squirm out from under her aim.

But honestly, helping with data entry was just an excuse—Mrs. Trahem was the best person I’d ever known, and I felt calmer when I was around her.

“You’ll be there early, right?” Mrs. Trahem added. She tucked her silky dark hair behind her ear. There was a grace to her movement. No wonder Master Trahem had married her so quickly. At twenty-nine, she was a few years older than me but looked just as young.

“Definitely.” Then I kept walking. Before I gave into the urge to turn and watch Master Trahem.

The girls from the locker room followed me out into the parking lot. I sat in my car and started the engine.
While I drove the forty-five minutes home, I fought to stay awake. At least traffic at nine-thirty at night was thin. I always missed rush hour. I left my apartment before six every morning and didn’t return until after ten. Being tired felt normal.

As I pulled up to my building, I examined each car. I knew to whom each of them belonged, as well as half my neighbors’ friends’ cars. The girl across the hall traded boyfriends every week. She drove me nuts.

I had no way of knowing what Chris was driving. I had to know which cars were supposed to be here in order to know if there was a new one. Most of my neighbors drove beaters like me, and Chris had always liked something flashy. But with him, I couldn’t depend on consistency. He was smart.

I recognized all the cars tonight. I parked under the streetlight and kept the door locked while I pulled my gear bag onto my lap and slipped the strap over my shoulder. Keys ready, I jumped out of the car and jogged up the steps. I hated apartment buildings in Florida. The halls were open, no security doors to block unwanted visitors from knocking on your front door, from lurking in shadowy corners.

Within about ten seconds, I was up the stairs, down the hall, and at my door. Just being able to move quickly without running out of breath was worth the cost of Taekwondo classes. I felt more confident, less scared.

My door unlocked, I glanced down the hall one more time then slipped inside. I closed the door, locked it, and flipped the lights.

I was not alone.

He was right there, tall, thick, and blond as always. I was seeing as clearly as if through acid. I blinked to make sure he was really there. I always did that. It was stupid.
Chris was always there.

FABULOUS FIRSTS with... Claire Ashgrove

The First Five Sentences of...
I was fourteen when I killed my father.

Sometimes, it seemed like the storm struck yesterday. The one that ripped him out of our house and threw his body beneath a pile of twisted metal and bricks. I remembered the wind whipping my ponytail as I stood and watched, the lightning that arced from the malevolent clouds and circulated through me as transformers blew. In ways, it was as if I experienced that hellish night from outside my body, as if it were apart from me.

Available Now!

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Fun First Facts About Claire

What was the first Rated R movie you ever saw?
 The first R-Rated movie I watched was Purple Rain.  I was at the neighbor’s house, whose children were a year older and a year younger than me, and I was 9 or 10 years old—completely not supposed to be watching R-Rated movies per my parents.  Only I didn’t quite know that.  I came home and told my parents, and my mother was livid with the neighbor.  But hey, no serious harm done; I didn’t fully understand the movie until I was much older.  Laugh!  It just had really good songs!

What was your first date with your significant other?
 My significant other and I met five years ago, just as he left for 36 months overseas.  We maintained a friendship for the first year through letters, then eventually ended up on the phone nearly every evening.  Our first date occurred on the trip he took me on, in Waikiki, Hawaii at Senor Frogs, on the balcony overlooking the main thoroughfare.  We played a couple games of pool—I don’t recall who won; I was too focused on him.  Then we went on a walk after the shops and bars closed, down the street, talking and admiring the waves rolling in.  It was a beautiful night after three years of distance, and the next nine days were heaven! Well…after the airline actually produced my luggage two days in.  Nothing like no underwear and no toothbrush when you’re trying to make a good impression.  Laugh.  I guess he didn’t much mind.  He’s hung around ever since.

If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you’d buy?
Hands down, the first thing I would do is pay off my mortgage on my house.  Then I’d get my truck restored to like-new, and then I’d invest in a fuel-efficient car.  After that, I’d purchase tickets to Ireland and take a mom and sons on a trip they’d hopefully remember a lifetime. 

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More about Claire
Building on a background of fantasy game design, a fascination with history, and a lifetime love of books, award-winning author Claire Ashgrove brings to life action-filled, passionate journeys of the heart. Her paranormal series, The Curse of the Templars, marries the history of the Knights Templar with the chilling aspirations of the most unholy--a must-read for speculative fiction fans. She also writes as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire and historical romance author Sophia Garrett.

In her non-writing time, she’s runs Finish The Story, a full-scale editing house co-founded with Bryan Thomas Schmidt.  She lives in Missouri and enjoys cooking, studying ancient civilizations, and spending downtime with her two sons and too-many horses, cats, and dogs.

Here's where you can find Claire online:

Claire was on this blog on her release day, talking about the hardest part of this business for her and whether or not she's an introvert. See her interview HERE.