Category Archives: Guest Author

SHHM Guest Author: Taylor V Donovan!

Hi friends! In a surprise to nobody, my life is in shambles, and I’ve neglected the blog. (Not exactly one of the best intros I’ve ever done, but I wanted to be honest and clear that this is entirely my fault, I dropped the ball, and Taylor was very patient and understanding.) Here at ALBTALBS we’re trucking along with the Smithsonian Heritage Months, and I’m very happy to welcome new guest Taylor V. Donovan. Taylor shared a really heartfelt and informative post, so I hope you read on! <3 And please give Taylor a warm welcome! 

Every year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month and celebrate the contributions, histories, and cultures of American citizens whose ancestors came from Mexico, Spain, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. This originated back in 1968. First it was only a week, then it was extended to a month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, a year before I graduated from high school. I was seventeen at the time. I was American, having been born and raised in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States. Yet the first time I heard about Hispanic Heritage Month was around 2010, a full nine years after moving to New York, and it got me thinking about my own heritage and my country’s past. Continue reading

Decades: A Journey of African American Romance Guest Author Patricia Sargeant Talks Hope, Love, Courage on the Decades Journey

Hi friends! I’m delighted to welcome back Patricia Sargeant, who is a total sweetheart. We’ve had a slight deviation in schedule, and Patricia, who has been awesome throughout the year with organizing posts and such, stepped in. <3 It’s a really thoughtful, wonderful post, so I hope you read it and chime in!

Also, if you’ve missed any of the previous Decades posts at ALBTALBS you can find them all here. 🙂

Decades: A Journey of African American Romance
Guest Author Patricia Sargeant Talks Hope, Love, Courage on the Decades Journey

Note: The Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series launched in January 2018. It consists of 12 books, one released each month. Each story is set in one of 12 decades between 1900 and 2010. Each story focuses on the romance between African American protagonists, but also embraces the African American experience within that decade. Join the journey on our Facebook page.

My research for my Decades story, Campaign for Her Heart – Decades: A Journey of African American Romance, Book 12, reinforced for me a widely held belief that history is cyclical. I realize that my story is set in the 2010, 2012 to be exact. But to understand where we are, it’s important to understand where we’ve come from. For example, Black Lives Matter was founded on July 29, 2013, in response to deadly violence against black and brown people by states and vigilantes. That fact takes on a different perspective when you consider that 96 years earlier, hundreds of people participated in the Silent March, a demonstration that took place in New York City on July 29, 1917, in protest of the vicious lynchings and other race-related violence against African Americans. Continue reading

SAPAHM Encore Guest Eilis Flynn Celebrates a Festival of Stars in a Year of Diversity

Hi friends! I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Eilis Flynn to ALBTALBS!! For once I didn’t include any of her other book covers because I think the focus is as it should be – on Festival of Stars and I hope you’ll find a new book to love. (I’m also super excited to have this little visit back to APAHM.) I love fairy tales and twisted fairy tales! <3 

Celebrating a festival of stars in a year of diversity

By Eilis Flynn

Like the fairy tales that kids in Western culture grow up reading and hearing about, the story of the festival of stars is one that kids all over Asia know. The annual meeting of the Weaver Princess and the Cowherder—that’s the version I knew when I was a kid growing up in Japan; you’ll find it under several different names—is a wonderful, tragic, yet hopeful love story, and I always wanted to adapt it to modern, American times. It goes like this: The princess and the cowherder meet one day, and fall in love. But because they neglect their duties in their devotion to each other, the Celestial King rules that they must be separated, with only one chance a year to get together. This is the “romance of the Milky Way,” the Tanabata, as the ancient Japanese poems refer to it, the Festival of Stars.

That kind of love is universal, and it speaks to us all, I figured. Right? So I wrote it.

When this book was originally published in 2007, it was the book of my heart, allowing me to retell the story of what I had always regarded as the ultimate romance, but set in the United States of contemporary times, taken from the Japanese folktales with which I had grown up. But I ran into a road block when I was told, and told again, that the majority of readers wouldn’t be able to relate to it because of its theme of biracialism and bigotry. Editors to whom I submitted it literally told me that Asians didn’t read (which surprised the heck out of me and possibly to the billion literate Asians out there) and thus would have no interest. In any case, when I did sell it, despite decent reviews the book sold poorly, so when I eventually got the rights to it back, I laid the book to rest, assuming it would never see the light of day again. Continue reading

SHM Pride Guest Author: Motzie Dapul on Creating the Content I Want to See in the World

We are so excited to have so many new guests to ALBTALBS for Pride month this year! Today author Motzie Dapul joins us with a beautiful post discussing two LGBTQ+ stories she has written. I’m a huge fan of romance and of comics, so when the two are combined you can’t pull me away! Please give Motzie a warm welcome! 

Creating the Content I Want to See in the World

It’s a bit odd to be talking about one’s own work when it comes to Pride, but a lot of great LGBTQ+ stories come from authors who, unable to find the kind of content they want to see in the world, create their own.

Start Here short story anthology edited by Ronald Lim and Brigitte Bautista book cover In the case of my own stories and comics, there was a list I found myself ticking off, of stories I’ve never seen in media, even in LGBTQ+ media, that I decided to create for myself. One of these things was the presence of the lesser known queer identities beyond lesbian and gay, which pushed me into writing a story between a pansexual woman and a non-binary person. Another of these things is something that’s becoming more frequently seen in media lately (in the year of our lord “20GayTeen”) is genre fiction with LGBTQ+ characters.

Which brings me to two of my works, putting F/F and F/NB fiction front and centre: Gorgeous, from the short story anthology Start Here: Short Stories of First Encounters, and BEHKomiks, a Filipino supernatural, urban-fantasy, action comics series centering on Filipino LGBTQ+ characters and their monstrous romantic partners. Continue reading

Debut Author Eve Pendle Dishes British Inside Jokes

Hi friends! Today we have Eve Pendle guesting with us, and her debut book Six Weeks with a Lord was released on June 25th! Congratulations, Eve, and thank you for visiting us!

Five jokes in Six Weeks with a Lord that only British readers will get

I love historical details, but I also like to make little puns and jokes in my stories that refer to modern things, to delight the diligent reader. When you read Six Weeks with a Lord, you’ll easily catch the jokes about how many Dukes there are in London and the endless puns on Grace’s name. But there are more!

British readers will see in six weeks with a Lord some little jokes that they’ll wonder whether they’re deliberate. The reference will be just a little bit obscure. So I’m going to tell you about some here and hopefully American and other non-UK readers will be able to share the joke. Though bearing in mind that if you have to explain a joke, it’s not that funny. Please expect very mild spoilers. Continue reading

SHM Pride Guest Author: Alyssa Linn Palmer on Alberta’s GLBTQ2S+ History, and Me

We continue our Pride Month posts by welcoming another first time guest Alyssa Linn Palmer. I’m especially excited to welcome Alyssa because she’s Canadian, as am I, even though I live in the States these days. Welcome, Alyssa, it’s great to have you here!

Alberta’s GLBTQ2S+ History, and Me

Two young children on a tricycle, one on the seat, one on the handlebars

The author before she knew how life would change

There were times when I thought that nothing would ever change.

I knew I was bisexual from quite a young age, but until I was a teenager, I didn’t have the words to articulate it. And even then, given the homophobia prevalent in the early 1990s (the Calgary Pride Parade began in 1990 and some marchers wore paper bags over their heads so they wouldn’t be identified), those words stayed silent inside me. A few very close friends knew, but that was it.

One of the first things I remember about GLBTQ in the news was in 1991, when Alberta teacher Delwin Vriend was fired by a Christian college he worked at, just because he was gay. He tried to take his case to the Alberta Human Rights Commission, but he was turned away because at that time, sexual orientation wasn’t protected under the province’s human rights code. He sued the government and the commission, and won. And then on appeal, because the provincial government was staunchly anti-gay, the appeals court overturned the decision. Vriend took the case to the Supreme Court, and that court finally ruled in 1998 that governments could not exclude people from human rights legislation based on their sexual orientation. This change was “written in” to the province’s human rights legislation at the time. Continue reading

Decades: A Journey of African American Romance Guest Author Wayne Jordan Shares an Excerpt and Inspiration for His Journey

Hi friends! I hope you’ve been following along with the Decades series we’ve had every month so far this year. I’m loving it, and have discovered not only many new to me authors, but wonderful stories as well. Today we welcome Wayne Jordan, who came up with this entire wonderful project of these ~connected books. You might have noticed that usually the posts are scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month, but for June we pushed it back a week to line the post up with Juneteenth! 😀

Decades: A Journey of African American Romance
Guest Author Wayne Jordan Shares an Excerpt and Inspiration for His Journey

Note: Promise Me A Dream by Wayne Jordan is the seventh book in the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series. This series consists of 12 books, each set in one of 12 decades between 1900 and 2010. Each story focuses on the romance between African American protagonists, but also embraces the African American experience within that decade. Join the journey on our Facebook page,

When I conceived the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series, I wanted to do two things. I wanted to give readers 12 love stories with main characters of color, but I also wanted to explore the African America experience in each of the 12 decades. I’ve read all the stories which preceded mine and I feel a sense of pride and achievement that each one was exactly what I wanted it to be.

The main action of my story, Promise Me a Dream, takes place in New York in March and April of 1968. I wanted my story to be about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King died on April 4, 1968, so my story will touch on the impact of his death. Along with that, my story is about the world of the theater. My heroine wants to be an actress, and as an immigrant, she discovers the harsh reality of New York and the theater world. When she meets the hero, Joel Donovan, she invites him into her world and he discovers that there is much more to life that the privileged world and life he has been living.

So why the 1960s? Not only was I born in the 1960s, but the Civil Rights Movement is the one definitive event that impacted me when I was a teenager. While I did not recognize its impact until I was in my late teens, I remember my heart breaking, bit by bit, when I discovered what blacks in the United States had continued to endure and suffer during that decade, despite the abolition of slavery. Most of all, I lauded the courage of those individuals who fought for respect, equality and justice.

So why would I want to set a romance against this background of ugliness? It was the decade in which unity and love were important; the decade in which strong men and women needed love the most…because it was love that kept them focused on the fight without losing their sanity.Promise Me a Dream is set in the 1960s, but I am so fascinated by the decade, I will definitely write more against that background. Continue reading

Exclusive Excerpt Upcoming Release: In My Skin by Shannon McKenna

Hi friends!! I’m super excited to share an (as you see) exclusive excerpt from Shannon McKenna here today! She’s been a guest at ALBTALBS a few times, and is a total sweetheart. And if you haven’t read her books before oh my gosh you definitely need to!!! … Shannon was kind enough to send quite the scene from In My Skin so I hope you enjoy it! 😀

Welcome to the secret world of the Obsidian Files! Book after book, the stakes keep getting higher for my genetically and biotech-modified heroes and heroines.

Luke has plenty of his own inner demons to fight, to say nothing of the long deadly shadows of his past, and the constant looming threat of his former captors and mortal enemies, The Obsidian Group.

The last thing he needs is to get broadsided by a feisty, gorgeous, indomitable woman. The stupidest thing he can do is give in to temptation.

But Dani makes him burn … and he just can’t resist the heat.

More than human …

Years ago, a group of stray teenagers were swept up into a top-secret experimental research program funded by The Obsidian Group, a shadowy cabal of super-rich global moguls. Brain stimulation, nanotech, gene modification and cybernetic implants were used to mold the runaways into lethal supersoldiers … and expand the boundaries of being human.

Obsidian’s attempts were spectacularly successful—if not quite in the way the researchers had intended. Their captive test subjects rebelled, burned the Midlands Research Facility to the ground, and vanished.

Now, years later, this band of rebels live under deep cover and keep their incredible abilities secret, trusting only those in their own tight-knit group.

But the shadow of the past keeps getting longer. The Obsidian Group hasn’t forgotten them—and they will never give up the chase.

The Obsidian Files are their stories …

In My Skin by Shannon McKenna Book CoverCome back to me…

Luke remembers a few things. Just not his last name, or anyone he ever knew. He knows that he’s a supersoldier, genetically enhanced and loaded up with brain implants. He just escaped from a year-long hell of captivity, and to protect his family and friends from his tormentors, he blocked his memories. Now he needs those memories back, fast…or he and those he loves will die agonizing deaths.

Luke’s dangerous plan to reconnect with his past—and stay alive in the present—has drawn his enemies’ attention to the tough and sexy Dani LaSalle. He’s duty bound to protect the luscious beauty from the evil pursuing them, but he can’t control the scorching desire she awakens in him.

Dani’s strict routine has been trashed by Luke’s explosive arrival. This rock-hard slab of valiant, smoldering manhood appears out of nowhere, saves her life, spirits her away to his mountain lair and bewilders her with tales of sadistic researchers, enhanced assassins. Is this gorgeous, problematic sex god just plain crazy—or is she? But Luke can do things with his mind that are just as wild as what he can do with that body…and she can’t say no.

And there’s no time to wonder. As their passion burns hotter, Obsidian moves closer…and Luke and Dani must place their lives and their hearts on the line just to survive…

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT Continue reading

Guest Author: Vanessa Riley on Gatekeepers and Who Gets to Decide

Hi friends! Please welcome Vanessa Riley to ALBTALBS!! I first began emailing with her back in early January. We were hoping for February, but she was swamped with deadlines, she sent me the post in May (APAHM!) so … here we are now! Yay!

Who Gets to Decide?

The Bittersweet Bride by Vanessa Riley Book CoverI’ve been a romance reader all my life. It’s been my refuge, my happy place. When I wanted to try my hand at putting the stories running rampant in my head on paper, I went to a Romance Writers of America conference. I saw Kristan Higgins up on stage. I was close enough to see the tremor in her cheek on the big screen when she described her readers, the love affair she has with them and how they tell her how one of her books touched their lives. The woman made me cry, right atop my half-eaten salad and rubbery chicken. I remember thinking I want to do that, write romances that matter. I’m one of those lives, one of those women who has needed romance novels to make it through the night.

You see, to keep my sanity, I’ve read romance between calculus finals. To block out the sounds of my parent’s marriage disintegrating, I read Beverly Jenkin’s stories of people, people like me, finding love, building towns and fighting to keep their unions strong. While dear hubby was deployed, I read tales of peace. When good old Dr. Fine told me to sit down and do nothing, for your health and that of your babe, I poured myself into women’s journeys who were active and kept moving, like Heyer’s who fell out of windows or dozens of others wonderful author’s like Eakes, Milan, MacLean, and Klassen who kept me swirling in ballgowns. Even in a hospice room listening to a clock tick away, my eyes drifted to my kindle app to escape. Continue reading

SHM Pride Guest: Tamsen Parker on The Power of the Female Default

Hi friends! I’m super excited to welcome our first Pride guest author of 2018, Tamsen Parker! A new friend to ALBTALBS, so please welcome another first timer with a fabulous post!

The Power of the Female Default: Why I Love F/F Sports Romance

Fire on the Ice by Tamsen Parker Book CoverI went to an all girls high school, and one of the best things about being at an all-female school was that all the resources were devoted to us. Classrooms and the dedication of our teachers, but also both of the gyms, the theater, all of the squash courts and tennis courts, the classrooms, and the weight room were for women. They were women’s spaces that centered women’s effort and accomplishments.

The romance genre is also a space that centers women. As a genre that is written primarily by and for women, it centers the pleasure, agency, and voices of women in a way that most genres do not.

When the worlds of sports and romance combine, it can sometimes be jarring to find most of the books in the popular subgenre of sports romance dominated by male athletes, especially those hitting the tops of the charts. Which perhaps shouldn’t be surprising. The big money sports—both professional and at the college level—feature primarily men. That’s where the money and the media and the fame are weighted. But still… Isn’t this a space for women? Why do so few sports romances feature female athletes? Continue reading