Category Archives: Guest Author

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

SAPAHM Guest: Hudson Lin’s “Rambling Treatise on Identity, Diversity, and Why I Write East Asian Characters”

My friends. This post. Please read it – and … I don’t usually say this, but please share it. Hudson Lin is a first time guest at ALBTALBS, and (definitely) hopefully will be willing to guest again. I have nothing to say other than … please read and share

Rambling Treatise on Identity, Diversity, and Why I Write East Asian Characters

By Hudson Lin

Inside Darkness by Hudson Lin CoverI am Canadian. I am Taiwanese. I am Chinese. That’s typically the order in which I would identify myself, but that can change depending on the situation. Sometimes I’m all of them, sometimes I’m a particular combination of two to the exclusion of the third. It’s always complicated and never easy to explain.

My racial and cultural identity is something I’ve wrestled with my entire life, but it had never inserted itself into my writing. All the stories floating around in my head were about white people and I never thought there was anything wrong with that.

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled my way into the writing community and realized that diversity was a thing, and not only a thing but something that was being championed. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon stories with characters who looked like me, written by authors who looked like me. Huh. That’s new.

Until recently, 100% of the romances I read were about white people, written by white people. I didn’t know romances existed that featured people of color, or that there were authors of color writing them. I didn’t know that was allowed. Continue reading

SAPAHM Guest: Nicole Flockton Discussses the Haka

Hi friends! This year’s APAHM celebration has been pretty heavily focused in the Pacific, and I’m loving it! I’m also really pleased to welcome back ALBTALBS friend Nicole Flockton – many kudos to her for stepping in on a Heritage Month post, and with this little slice of [close to] home. <3

The Haka in Sport

When you’re the youngest of four children, and with only one brother, your family tends to follow the sports said brother plays. Even though my brother never played Rugby, it’s a sport and if it was on the television, we watched it as a family. I’m going to show my age here, but this was back in the day when in Perth, Western Australia you had a choice of three television channels. Plus when what your parents wanted to watch—that’s what you watched too. No cable or second television in another room to escape into and watch what you want.

The rivalry between Australia and our cross Tasman foes New Zealand, is legendary. Google “Underarm Bowling Incident 1981” and you’ll understand. Actually, if you want to start a good argument between the Aussies and the Kiwis that’s a sure fire way to get one started. Even after all these years! Continue reading

Mini Interview with Courtney Milan

[Aidee here!] Courtney Milan generously answered some questions I had following the release of her most recent novel, After the Wedding. I have not yet read this book, and this mini-interview contains no spoilers. After the Wedding is the second full-length novel in the Worth Saga, which begins with Once Upon a Marquess. Milan writes historical and contemporary romances; the Worth Saga is her current historical series. What I enjoy most about Milan’s books is the humor and the way she subverts common tropes. Without further ado, here is the mini-interview!

First, I’d like to know how you think authors can change romance’s centering of England in the historical genre, aside from not setting the story in England?

Once Upon a Marquess by Courtney Milan Book CoverHistoricals used to range the whole wide world and I think one of the reasons this stopped is because people very awkwardly realized that there were massive issues with unproblematically glamorizing certain portions of the past. Like there used to be a whole genre of southern historical romance novels that just…glossed over the issues with slavery? Yeah. Or the entire spectrum of historical titles involving stereotypical Native Americans, sometimes with racial slurs in the actual titles? Eeeeek. It seems almost horrific to me that those exist, and yet there were probably hundreds, if not thousands, published over the years. Continue reading

SAPAHM Guest: Ines Bautista-Yao on Filipino Characters in Filipino Settings

Hello friends!!! I’m thrilled to introduce another first time guest to A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet. Ines Bautista-Yao was kind enough to respond to my request for guest posts for APAHM!I know that “#ownvoices” is the “trendy thing” right now but … it’s not a trend – it’s life, and I’m so pleased we’re able to continue celebrating SHM months!

Filipino Characters in Filipino Settings
By Ines Bautista-Yao

Growing up, my favorite books were by authors Enid Blyton, Carolyn Keene, Jahnna N. Malcolm, and Sheri Cobb South. I would lose myself in the adventures, heartaches, and triumphs of the characters. That was easy. Emotions, no matter where in the world you belonged, were universal. What wasn’t so easy was trying to imagine what it would be like to see what the characters saw, and to interact with people who had blue or even green eyes, and flaming red or flaxen hair. Funnily enough, my classmates and I didn’t know what flax was, but when we read “flaxen hair” in a book, we all knew it meant blonde. So whenever my classmates and I would write stories or imagine characters, they would more often than not have blue eyes and that so-called flaxen hair. It had gotten to a point where I would stay after a movie was over so I could read the credits and file away the last names in my mind. I didn’t know enough American last names for my characters, and movie credits were a good source of information.

It had never crossed my mind to write a story about a little Filipino girl like me. Continue reading

SAPAHM Guest: Ekaterine Xia Redux The Prequel: The Flatness of [Western] Romance

Hi friends! Do you remember the first 2018 APAHM post we had? Ekaterine Xia was our guest and I talked about how I’d messed up? So I found the emails from 2014 – she agreed to let me use the first post as a comparison, since she piggybacked off of it to write the May 5th one! (Are you confused yet?) In 2014 she said she’d tell me which book covers she wanted me to use … but that didn’t happen so I’m going with my picks. 😀 The most important thing though, is of course the post. Enjoy! N.B. I came up with the ~title. Because I think it’s accurate.

The Flatness of [Western] Romance

So it all started when Limecello tweeted with:

New quest! Any African American, Asian American, Hispanic, or Native American romance readers around? 😀

So I responded with: “Chinese person who reads romance over here. …I think I qualify as As-A?”

Not Just Human by E. Xia CoverThe thing is, it isn’t that easy. It’s the short answer.

The long answer is that I’m a third-culture-kid, aka global nomad, aka syncretic mutt of a first-gen fresh off the boat kind-of Asian American.

I was born in Taiwan, but we moved to the US when I was two. So technically Mandarin Chinese is my first language, but not by much. I grew up mainly in the US and it’s where I call home, no matter how much border control seems to disagree. Continue reading

SAPAHM Guest: Chris Mariano on Air, Sea, and Birth: How the Filipino Community Has Grown in Alaska

Hi friends! Please welcome first time guest Christ Mariano to ALBTALBS! I really hope you take the time not only to read what is said, but also think about the history, and [cross] cultural aspects. <3

Air, Sea, and Birth: How the Filipino Community Has Grown in Alaska

Wired Differently by Chris Mariano Book CoverIn downtown Juneau, a raven takes about six hops to get from one wall of flowers to the other. He is watching, waiting, from his spot. To call his tiny public space a park would be an exaggeration; the droves of tourists descending from the cruise ships might easily dismiss it as a traffic junction. But this is Manila Square, a little piece of (my) home 5,898 miles away from an eponymous city, belonging just as much to the ravens and the wild Alaskan landscape as it does to the many Filipinos who have come to Juneau ‘by air, by sea, or by birth.’

By Air

Many Asians know the drill. When visiting another person’s home, it is more polite to leave your shoes by the door. Wait for house slippers. Offer to go barefoot, even. This is how you show your respect.

I wonder if other immigrants feel this way, too. Like you’ve left your shoes by the door, next to the life you used to lead. You can walk through this new house knowing where the cutlery and the best china are kept—maybe you even have permission to bring them out and host your own dinner party—but you know better. You’ll always feel like a guest too paranoid about overstaying her welcome.

I feel it sharply here in Alaska. Its people are warm even in the coldest weather, but the land can never be subdued into domesticity or familiarity. From fur trappers to gold prospectors to salmon canners to oil drillers, many people, including Asians, have come to Alaska seeking fortune or adventure or escape. My own family has chosen to live in Juneau—papers in hand, figurative shoes by that invisible threshold but somehow clinging to most of the baggage we’ve accumulated over the years. And while our migration story is rather common, it still amazes me that so many Filipinos would leave a home in the tropics to settle in a place known for its long and dark winters. Continue reading

SHM APAHM Guest Georgette Gonzales: When Creativity Blooms Late In Life

Hi friends! I’m really excited to welcome Georgette Gonzales to A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet! She was kind enough to respond to my call on twitter (and hat tip thanks to Chachic too!) to guest for APAHM! She really does the introducing in her post, so read on!

When Creativity Blooms Late In Life

My Special Valentine by Edith Joaquin CoverMany, if not most, of what I read in writers’ interviews detailing their backgrounds and writing journeys tell of a kid with a vivid imagination, writing stories down in a notebook, keeping their work underneath all other school stuff (because it’s their deep, dark secret) or sometimes sharing the precious words with a few trusted family members and friends. Often, those who would read their work ask for more, so they continue to craft and create, write and compile, amassing notebook upon notebook of maybe fantastic and not-so-fantastic tales that later may be turned into bestsellers. At any rate, the voices in their heads would not stop until the stories were written so might as well indulge their yet-to-be-identified-as fans (and imaginary friends), right?

I, unfortunately, do not have this kind of back story. I didn’t even know I could write until I was…shall we say, forced into it because of my job. Continue reading