Sunday, November 30, 2014

Guest Blogger Kalista Kyle

Thank you so much for letting me blog with you.  I am really very excited about the release of Shadow Games.  This is actually the second book in the West Wind Series.   Out of the Shadows is number one.  Dreaming of you is 1.5 and concentrates on the council. Then Shadow Games goes back to the West Wind Wolves at number two.  Amazon did not allow me to make a 1.5 so it is labeled as number three… did I confuse you yet? :)

Shadow Games brings back Heath Mathis from Out of the Shadows. He is a detective in the West Wind Police force. He is also the brother of the new Alpha of West Wind.  Heath is strong but vulnerable in this book. He really has his hands full. 

Ezra is the Beta to the West Wind Pack.  He has always loved Heath but life has not allowed them to be together. Now when Heath is put in dangers way Ezra will do anything to protect him and make sure his mate lives.

Heath Mathis has always loved Ezra Ryder. Ezra is the beta second in charge of the West Wind Pack. Heath never thought he had a chance with the man who grew up as his big brother’s best friend. When a string of murders happen in West Wind, the evidence trail leads Heath to the tiny town of Silver Lake. Ezra refuses to let Heath go into danger alone. But Heath is afraid his feelings for Ezra will confuse him, and he will not be able to do his job. Ezra won’t take no for an answer. Can Heath find the serial killer or killers while keeping his heart intact?

There is also a contest too to win a very unique dog tag and chain. Go to my website here for more details.

Thank you so much for letting me pimp my book. I really appreciate it. If anyone has any questions just post below and I will try to answer them. If you would like to friend me here is my Facebook link. I love having new friends.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Safe In His Arms - new release

Hello World!

Yes – I’m a happy girl this morning.  Stress has gone!  My newest release, Safe In His Arms has gone off and now I can relax.  In case you didn’t know, here is the blurb:

In the late-night quiet of the caravan park shower room, Lon Taylor washes away the filth of the Western Australian mines. He’s not looking for anyone, but when Casey offers, Lon doesn’t turn him down.
Welcoming the young man in his big, hairy arms, Lon provides a safety to Casey that he has never known, and Casey wants to stay forever. Still reeling from the breakup of his family years ago, Lon’s not sure he’s ready for the responsibility of the comfort and security Casey craves.
But perhaps Lon can risk opening his heart again and hoping for a brighter future. Casey has some pretty big skeletons in his past to deal with.  And Lon wonders what Casey will do when he finds out how badly Lon failed at protecting the ones he loved eight years ago.

Now, as the first readers are finishing up and getting ready with their ratings, I can confess something.  My favourite character in this book is not Lon and it’s not Casey. 
Oh dear.  Did I just say something awful?  It’s not that I don’t love Lon and Casey.  It’s just that… well… Devon just steals the show:

Exclusive excerpt

CASEY CAME over all hot and flustered as Lon’s brown shorts dropped to the ground beneath his towel.

“Holy, holy, holy shit.”

Casey’s new mate, Devon, was practically panting with excitement and his tongue was almost hanging out. Seated next to Devon on another towel was Ash. The three of them stared lustfully at the sight of Lon’s daks falling.

Casey had spotted Lon almost immediately as he walked onto the beach. His heart had jumped and started beating a funky rhythm, but Casey was still embarrassed about the revelations he’d blurted out to Paul last Thursday and didn’t want Lon to see him. He knew he was being juvenile by avoiding Lon, but he freely admitted he was a dick. He was a dick and he didn’t want Lon to know it, so he quickly hid behind Devon and didn’t say anything.

Unfortunately for him, Devon was a manwhore and spotted Lon soon after. Casey had met Devon in a club soon after he’d moved to Perth. Devon had made a pass, and when Casey regretfully turned him down, offered his hand in friendship. Casey had accepted and was still not sure if he’d done the right thing. At least that’s what he told Devon every time the guy did something crazy. Being friends with Devon meant that, by extension, he was friends with Ash too. Ash was Devon’s best mate, and where one went, the other followed.

Casey was still trying to figure Ash out, since the guy was shy and didn’t reveal a lot of himself. Devon was up-front about everything, and what you saw was what you got, which was usually someone who was willing to shag anything that had a penis. On the other hand, Casey was still unsure if Ash was straight, gay, or bi. Ash willingly went to gay clubs and hung out, but never made any passes at anyone and turned down all offers made to him. He commented on the attractiveness of both men and women, but never pursued either. The one time that Casey had asked him if he was gay, he’d shrugged and said, “I’m whatever I need to be.” That didn’t answer the question at all.

Since university was out for the year, both guys were on holidays and had given Casey a wonderful excuse not to hang around the park where he might accidently bump into Lon. The beach was a great place to sit and do nothing—beautiful scenery, usually plenty of eye candy, and best of all, everything was free. Ash was dressed similarly to him—Billabong labeled boardies, T-shirt, and bucket hat. But Devon had arrived in bright purple tartan shorts and a sunny yellow shirt that had a picture of a very gay- looking character, similar to a Mr. Men figure, with the caption “Mr. Wrong.” Ash had given Casey a long-suffering sigh and shrugged.

Of course it was Devon who spotted Lon and gasped, “Oh, my sweet dreams all come true. Father Christmas has brought me an early present.”

That produced a snort and a laugh from Ash. “Bullshit. You know you’re firmly on the naughty list and will probably be there for a number of years, just from the stunts you pulled in the last two months.”

Devon’s hands fluttered around his face and he wore an expression of anguish. “Oooh, but I promise to be extra good for years if I could only partake of that hulk of masculinity over there.”

“Honey,” Ash sighed (he often called Devon by that name, which confused Casey even more). “That man over there would never even give you the time of day, let alone give you a blow job.”

“But… but… but….” Devon looked close to tears, which was not going to be a good thing, since he was wearing eyeliner. And who the hell wore eyeliner to the beach?

“Honey, just look and dream. And if he happens to glance over this way, then you’d better be looking elsewhere. I’m too hot to run from some gay-bashing prick who dislikes being stared at while he’s at the beach.”

Casey could’ve educated them on several points. He could’ve told them that Lon would not be gay bashing anyone, that he only has problems with staring if you don’t get on your knees, and most importantly, yes, he had personal proof that Lon did indeed give blow jobs.
But now both Ash and Devon were transfixed on Lon’s manly torso and the naked bits under a flimsy towel, and Casey didn’t want to break their concentration.

“Do you think he’s gay?” Devon whispered urgently.

Ash didn’t reply, so Casey answered, “Would it matter to you?”

Devon’s eyes didn’t move from Lon. “Not really. They don’t need to be gay to fuck me, it’s just sometimes easier.”

From the mournful shaking of Ash’s noggin, he was despairing of his friend too.

Less than twenty meters away, Lon bent over and pulled a scrap of gray material out of a canvas bag. Casey should’ve known Devon would melt at the sight, and sure enough he gulped and whispered, “Holy spectacular gay sights, Batman! The man is a Speedo fanatic.”
Three sets of eyes did not move an iota, not even to blink, as Lon threaded one large foot into the opening of the brief swimming costume and tugged it up a muscled leg. Three identical gasps issued forth as Lon lifted the other foot, causing the towel to gape wide open and show three extremely interested men that his chest wasn’t the only large thing on him.

“Oh. My. God.” That was Devon, although he squeaked in the high ranges as his vocal chords strangled with shock.

“Fuck me!” Ash exulted loudly. Silence then descended over the group as they simultaneously drooled and swallowed.

Casey thought that perhaps Devon was speechless for the first time in his life. But they were all watching closely as Lon pulled up his Speedos and tucked himself away. It was a sad moment to see him all enclosed in that elastic.

The silence didn’t last long after that. Devon blinked and looked at Ash. “Really? You want that to fuck you?”

“Huh? What?” Devon cocked his head to the side and looked at his mate. “You said ‘fuck me.’ I was wondering if you actually did want it?”

Ash looked startled. “Hell, no. I didn’t mean it literally. Shit. That mammoth would tear a guy in half. I meant that I was surprised at the size.” He paused and frowned. “Do you actually think he can get it up? I’ve read that guys that are massive have trouble holding an erection.”

“Probably not,” Devon ventured. “God couldn’t make something that fantastic without a flaw.”

Casey giggled and blurted, “Believe me, guys. He has no trouble holding one.”


So now I’m off to start Ash and Devon’s story.  Someone like Devon needs his own story…

How to contact Renae:
Twitter:  @renaekkaye

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Shutterstock 214186558


Shutterstock 157931984


Shutterstock 145005328

 Cranberry sauce

Shutterstock 160568039

Pumpkin pie

Shutterstock 130956362 1



Monday, November 24, 2014

Crissy's Holiday Book Recommendations (Part 1) by Cardeno C.

Happy Monday! I have such a special blog post to share. My dear friend Crissy is a major holiday book reader and she put together a post full of great reading recommendations. The list is so amazing, in fact, that I'm splitting it in half and sharing some today and some next week. My huge thanks to Crissy and if anybody else has recommendations, please share them in the comments. Here's to happy reading! - CC

Welcome to CC’s first Holiday Spectacular Book List. Okay. I just made the name up on the fly, but it’s whatever. I’m Crissy and I'm presenting to you my favorite holiday stories. I have a bunch so hold on to your earmuffs.

It’s a well-known fact that holiday stories are my kryptonite. No joke. For years I have created a spreadsheet (I’m a bit of a geek) and plotted release dates and read-by dates and what to read and when for this particular time of year because there are so many amazing stories by so many amazing authors.

Yes, there are SO many good ones out there and when CC asked me to put together a list, I won’t lie, it took me a bit to get them all together. So, this is by no means an exhaustive list and I’ve probably left some off. In no particular order, here are my favorite holiday/advent/Christmas/Hanukkah books.

Sno Ho by Ethan Day

Blame It On the Mistletoe by Eli Easton

Mending Noel by Charlie Cochet

Let It Snow by Heidi Cullinan

Oh Come All Ye Kinky antho (Riptide)

Snowbound In Nowhere by Andrew Grey

The Winter Courtship Rituals of Furbearing Critters by Amy Lane

Turkey In the Snow by Amy Lane

Lone Star by Josh Lanyon

The Christmas Proposition by K.A. Mitchell

Men Under the Mistletoe anthology (Carina Press)

Wish List by K.A. Mitchell

Christmas Throwaway by RJ Scott

Jesse’s Christmas by RJ Scott

Zombie Wonderland by Piper Vaughn

The Working Elf Blues by Piper Vaughn

His Name was Harley Manfield by T.A. Webb

Grumble Monkey and the Department Store Elf by BG Thomas

A Lion In Tails by Andrew Grey

Worth It by Kris T. Bethke

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The L in Glbt

Hey y'all!

I'm Julia Talbot, and I write all the things!

Grins. I mean, I write het, m/m, menage and lesbian stuff. A few people have asked me to talk about the lesbian fiction, so here I am.

I love to write lesbian fiction, though it's usually a hobby for me. Why is it that lesbian romance sells so poorly, y'all? I think it's because it's an undeserved market with lots of underpaid working women in it, but I'm not here to get political.

I am here to tell you that most of my lesbian stories are shorts, because I think the format lends itself well to the subject matter. I love trying to work in as much story as I can into 3000 or 10000 words. I also tend to write fairy tales or historicals with my lesbian stuff. I love tipping the Prince Charming schtick on its head and giving the princess another woman. I love the lush feel you can achieve with two heroines, the decadence of it.

Or maybe it just feels decadent to me because I'm a lesbian?


Here are a few of my lesbian stories out now that I've self pubbed!

Lady Luck- a beautiful gambler and a tomboy

A retelling of the emperor's new clothes

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all! I'll get BA Tortuga to talk on her Bustles and Doeskin next week.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Soap Nuts

WARNING - there are amazon links in this post that go to adult toys, among other things, with graphic pictures of said items - WARNING

<Sean> hello
<julia> Hey y'all
<BA> hola!
<Sean> 2 days!
<julia> two more days, Sean
<julia> yeah
<julia> hee
<BA> *bounces*
<Sean> nods
<Sean> can't wait
<BA> *grins*
<Sean> we are going to eat and see things
<julia> woot
<julia> yes
<julia> it's coooold
<Sean> and go places
<Sean> I like cold
<BA> My sister's here. Her flight today was cancelled. We told her, if we couldn't get her out, y'all would have to share the bed.
<BA> She's not a snuggler
<Sean> neither am I
<BA> ;-)
<Sean> that sucks about the flight, though
<julia> it does
<BA> nods -- what sucks is that they rescheduled her for 6am
<julia> they were not helpful at all
<BA> so she has to be at the airport at 4
<julia> though it makes me want to write stranded at the airport romance
<Sean> that's when I have to be at the airport on Tuesday
<Sean> I have a stranded at the airport romance story
<Sean> it's an xmas story, at that
<Sean> mmf
<julia> you have one of everything, Sean
<Sean> *waggles eyebrows*
<BA> hell, Sean has two of some things
<julia> I am not yet that prolific
<julia> woo hoo
<BA> so, I bought something for you yesterday, Sean
<Sean> what the hell are soap nuts?
<BA> okay, so
<BA> they are these nut deals
<BA> and you put them in a mesh bag
<BA> and you put them in your washing machine
<BA> and they make this all natural not scary don't be allergic to me laundry soap
<BA> and they work over and over
<Sean> ow, poor nuts
<Sean> ;)
<BA> and you won't get a rash on your heinie
<Sean> I'm not sure whether to be horrified or impressed
<BA> oh, be impressed
<BA> if they work, we're buying more
<Sean> nut soap....
<BA> soap nuts
<BA> pay attention
<BA> not nut soap
<Sean> yeah, but they make nut soap, right?
<BA> not soapy nuts
<BA> not soup to nuts
<Sean> soapy nuts are a good thing, especially if you're sharing the shower
<Sean> the virgins are playing with nuts?
<BA> not
<julia> Fresh balls
<julia> OMG
<Sean> LOLOL
<Sean> both of those are hysterical
<BA> no
<julia> no?
<julia> the links are killing me
<julia> and I haven't followed them
<Sean> *cackle*
<Sean> can you see a series of stories?
<Sean> each one named after one of these kinds of products?
<BA> Fresh Body Dry Balls
<BA> O.O
<BA> *looks at Sean*
<Sean> I'm telling you, story titles
<BA> I can see *you* writing a series...
<Sean> Fresh Body Dry Balls
<Sean> DZ  Nuts
<Sean> Comfy Boys
<Sean> Dude flushable
<Sean> Fresh Balls
<Sean> Chamois Butter Original
<julia> stop it
<BA> Chamois Buttr Eurostyle
<Sean> Doing it Eurostyle
<BA> Did y'all know you could buy a 'love doll' on Amazon?
<Sean> man, it could be a fun series
<julia> .man, it took me ten minutes to find an injectable texas butter link
<julia> and you trump me with a sex doll
<BA> is anyone else having Boxing Helena flashbacks?
<Sean> okay, so they can sell sex dolls, but if I have a cover  with a bit of flesh on it, they hide it?\
<BA> no shit
<BA> they have a whole bdsm section
<julia> grins
<julia> I bet they hide the gay sex dolls
<Sean> nods
<BA> I may have to get the dog hood and bedazzle it as art...
<Sean> LOLOL
<julia> cackles
<julia> bedazzle
<julia> vagazzle
<julia> whatever
<BA> I'm relatively worried about the hygiene of this one --
<BA> (you need to put a warning on this post, Sean, because we'll get in trouble)
<Sean> yeah, these are some hard core toy links
<BA> Semen
<BA> Scented
<BA> Lube
<julia> That
<julia> is
<julia> disgusting
<Sean> lolol
<BA> (that's why you're a lesbian, love)
<julia> no
<julia> no one likes that smell
<julia> not even gay men
<BA> it has 85 reviews
<julia> shit, my books don't get that many
<BA> they like it more than my last book...
<BA> ;-)
<julia> LOL
<julia> no kidding
<BA> I think we broke Sean
<Sean> I'm still trying to decide if I should write a series based on those titles or not ;)
<julia> you can have a plumppussy stroker
<julia> but a buttcheek on a book cover is too adult
<Sean> yep
<julia> it boggles the mind
<julia> and now I'm depressed
<julia> we need to sing christmas carols
<julia> or plan the Thanksgiving menu
<BA> no
<Sean> oooo, naaughty christmas carols
<BA> it is not xmas time
<Sean> damn
<BA> not until after thanksgiving
<BA> it is turkey season, damn it
<BA> gooble gooble
<Sean> gobble gobble gobble
<BA> we should make fried brussels sprouts again
<julia> oh!
<julia> what is the worst thing your characters have mader for a holiday meal?
<BA> but not that awful brussels sprout salad from last year
<Sean> the fried brussels sprouts were awesome
<Sean> the salad sucked
<BA> hrm...
<BA> Sonny's moonshine soaked fried turkey?
<julia> heee
<BA> Dillon tried to make pumpkin chiffon cheesecake once
<julia> oh man
<julia> let's see
<julia> Jonny tried to cook a turkey breast for Luc one year
<julia> blackened doesn't even begin to cover it
<Sean> lol
<BA> kitty jerky!
<Sean> wouldn't that be jerky made out of kitties?
<julia> Jed bought his marshmallows for sweet potato casserole from the convenience store one year
<BA> ew
<julia> and all they had left were the mini rainbow ones
<BA> You have a point
<BA> Okay
<BA> does anyone know what the fuck
<BA> that Fake Off show is?
<BA> O.O
<julia> I think it's a dance crew thing
<Sean> never heard of it
<julia> I bet they get sued
<julia> for the name
<BA> with dragons?
<julia> special effects
<BA> there are dragons in the previews
<BA> I'm very confused
<BA> I mean, more confused than normal
<Sean> heeeee
<julia> this is a serious thing then
<julia> man, I need to close the screen with the sex toy
<Sean> LOL
<BA> yeah, there was this giant floating pink dildo on her screen
<Sean> LOL
<BA> bobbing like a giant dildo thing
<BA> bob
<BA> bob
<BA> bob
<BA> O.O
<BA> *grins*
<julia> heee
<BA> Okay, we have to start supper. We're making risotto.
<julia> better than a turkey in the hot tub
<BA> Well, if we were Julia
<BA> or if J had a mouse in her pocket
<Sean> now I'm lost
<BA> or if I did more than drink the white wine
<BA> there's a great story about Tracy Lawrence (the singer)
<BA> where he was having a shitload of folks
<BA> over for turkey day
<BA> and the turkeys didn't thaw
<BA> so he put them in plastic bags
<BA> fired up the hot tub
<BA> and plopped them in
<Sean> LOLOL
<julia> <the military we is making risotto>
<BA> there you go
<BA> the we that doesn't require me to actually move
<BA> ;-)
<julia> nope
<julia> I'm on it
<julia> hugs sean
<julia> two days!
<julia> hugs
<julia> see you soon
<julia> poof
<Sean> see you in two days!
<Sean> night
<BA> Love you honey!
<BA> *kisses*
<BA> Night!

If you have a topic you’d like us to chat about, please let us know. We’re totally up for that.

You can find us on Twitter at @seanmichael09, @juliatalbot and @batortuga.

Sean’s website is
Julia’s is
BA’s is

Sean --
Julia --
BA --

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Question I’m Most Frequently Asked by Cardeno C.

I love interacting with readers and one way to do that is through interviews. When a blogger asks to interview me, I always have the same set of reactions: 

  1. What an honor! Yes, yes, yes! 
  2. Wait. What can I possibly say that sounds interesting and funny and charming and inspirational and brilliant and .... Do they know I'm an average bordering on boring person who sits in my house all day typing? Unless we're going to talk about my caffeine choices, they'll regret asking me because this will be the most dull interview of all time.
  3. Which brings me to the last thought: What will we talk about? What will they ask me?
There are a bunch of different questions that come up, but the one I get most frequently (which means people must really want to know the answer) is: Why do you write gay romance novels?

Before I share my answer with you, I want to share a quote by the composer Leonard Bernstein from a December 31, 1972 interview with the LA Times:

"The point is, art never stopped a war and never got anybody a job. That was never its function. Art cannot change events. But it can change people. It can affect people so that they are changed ...because people are changed by art - enriched, ennobled, encouraged - they then act in a way that may affect the course of the way they vote, they behave, the way they think."

I started writing in this genre because I felt like so many movies and shows have gay characters who were killed or hurt or deeply miserable. After seeing this over and over again, I felt like it was a punishment, like these people weren't allowed to be happy and healthy and strong and gay. And I’m talking about movies where the gay characters are the main characters, movies targeted toward a gay/welcoming audience. That artistic depiction of life doesn't match what I see in the world around me. And it doesn't match what I want to see in the world around me.

Yes, there are tragedies and sadness and family trouble. Those things are real and true. But my life experience is that people as a whole are resilient and strong. I see people move past the hard times and make their own happy futures. I see people learn and grow and build lives and communities and families around them. I see people who use their experience and wisdom to make choices that allow them to live the kinds of lives they want on their terms and to be satisfied and happy with those lives. I see people who work every day to change the world around us for the better and I see those people succeeding. That’s my reality and I wanted to create art where I could share it and, hopefully, do my small part to encourage people to make it true.

And before I sign off for this week, I want to let you know that a few really kind readers set up a Facebook page for readers to discuss my books. If you're interested in taking part, you can find them here.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

November catch-up

As usual, Saturday rolls around and I have no idea what I want to blog on Café Risque (note to self: be more organised).  So the boring life of a writer once again is dragged out of the closet (not that closet, the other closet) and blogged about. 

What am I doing?
Editing.  Ugh.  My worstest everest job.  But believe me, I need it.

I do not believe that editors actually edit much.  What they do is take away words.  Writers write words.  Editors cross them out again.

I’m in the middle of “first edits” of my new manuscript called Shawn’s Law.  My editor, with whom I have a love-hate relationship, claims the book is “another winner.”  We’ll see.  Because at the moment I hate it so much I believe I’m going to scrub my name from the cover of the book and allow it to be released without a name on it, because I just want to chuck it out the window.

However, I plough on.  I remind myself of the stages of labour and childbirth, and the point at which the mother says, “Right – I’ve had enough.  I’m going home now.” Is the point where she is in transition and the baby is imminent. 

I’m in writer’s transition.  (note to self: why do you do this?)

What am I writing?
My WIP doesn’t have a name, and it doesn’t have an ending.  That’s because I’ve written 4/5ths of the book and then editing the-art-of-crossing-out-words happened.  So I need to drag it out into the daylight – as soon as I do my editing!  Stop procrastinating Renae! 

Yes.  It sounds simple.  Finish the damn editing the-art-of-crossing-out-words and then you can write more. 

(Flashbacks of mum saying, “Finish your brussel sprouts and you can have ice cream). (note to self:  finish that frickin’ editing!)

But Davo from The Blinding Light has his own story.  Davo can’t understand why Jake would want to settle down with Patrick and have a family.  Davo swears he’s never going to be one of those gays who do makeup and clothes and girly things.  Davo swears he’s never going to be with one of those gays either.  Davo doesn’t know what has just hit him.

The next two books I have planned after this have already been started (it’s that procrastination thing).  My plan at the beginning of November was to have two of them finished by the end of the year.  I think I’ll have to dial that wish back.  Severely. (note to self: you’re only human)

Nanowrimo (the aim of writing a book in the month of November) sounds wonderful, and I signed up to attempt 50,000 words this month, but I think it is going to have to be abandoned.  We’re halfway through the month and nothing is happening with my story.  Real Life and editing the-art-of-crossing-out-words.

What am I releasing?
Oh, Lordy be!  THE COUNTDOWN IS ON!  Safe in His Arms is out on Black Friday – 28th of November.  So those who have vowed to allow retail staff their holiday, you may kick back with my book.  You can pre-order here, so you don’t even have to think about it.  It will turn up all ready for your Black Friday reading.

For those who don’t live in the US – Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving.  **light bulb moment for many**  Don’t worry.  Someone had to point it out to me a couple of months back.  I’ve spent my entire life thinking that Thanksgiving was simply the last day of November.  Whoops…

Anyway (back on track Renae!) Safe is out in 13 days.  The ARCs are being distributed.  The reviewers are dissecting my baby and judging her worthy (or not) of reading.  The blogs are being prepared.  Renae is torn.  One part of my wants to crawl into hiding, but another part is telling me that no – I’m on the promo trail.  I have 13 days until release.  Must. Not. Freak. Out.

(note to self:  Must. Not. Freak. Out.)

What am I reading?
Oh, that one is easy.  Nic Starr’s latest release A Day at a Time.  I’m really enjoying it.   (note to self: Finish this!)

What am I buying?
Top of my to-buy list is Meredith Shayne’s Cutting Out

On a personal note, what am I looking forward to?
Strangely enough, Christmas.  I usually hate Christmas.  It seems like a lot of preparing and a lot of stress for a single day – which then I have to clean up after.  In the previous years, trying to fit in all the family commitments on the day has been a huge headache.  I threatened to buy tickets to another part of the country and spend Christmas away from my painful family.

But then something happened.  Last Christmas my children came down with gastro.  Badly.  I hoped it was a 24-hour bug, but in the end it went for four days – right through Christmas.  For a 4yo to not even care what was in her Christmas stocking, it meant she was sick.  I spent the evening before tiredly wrapping the last presents and making food for the following day.  My kids had to be quickly replaced in the Nativity play (there was one less sheep that year, and one of the shepherds was promoted to Wise Man status).

The morning of Christmas (6am), I put the washing machine on and washed sheets, towels and flannels from the night previous.  I disinfected buckets and cleaned surfaces in the house to hopefully stop myself getting it.  Then I rang my in-laws and told them breakfast was off.  I rang my mother and told her I wasn’t going to make Christmas that year.  I rang my sister and told her I wouldn’t be at her house for lunch.  I rang my other sister and told her to come and pick up the salads and the presents on her way past.  Yes.  Christmas was cancelled last year.

So, on reflection, I think I’m looking forward to it this year.  After 23 months without it, I can finally see the fun in Christmas again.  (note to self: start writing your Christmas card list).

What am I dreading?
The end of school.  The 18th of December is the final day.  I think the kids go back on the 2nd of February.  I’m really unsure how much writing I can squeeze in to my day if I’m finding things to occupy the children.

During the 6 weeks off school, we have two weeks of swimming lessons, a sleep over at Nanny & Poppy’s house, several playdates, and school uniform/supplies shopping.  Will Renae make it?

(note to self: stock up on craft items to keep kids busy).

Will I be organised for next week’s blog?

I think.

I hope.


(note to self: write it on your list of things to do).

How to contact Renae:
Twitter:  @renaekkaye

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Start of the Range

Happy Wednesday.  This spot usually contains the feature Ask Andrew and it will again, so don't worry.  But because I'm going to be on vacation for the next few weeks, Ask Andrew will take a small vacation as well and return in early December.  For today I'm going to talk about my latest release, A Chaotic Range.  This story is the seventh installment in the Range series. 

The idea for Wally and the whole series came out of the final installment of the Ken Burns documentary on the National Parks.  The last episode spoke about the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone and as I watched that on television, my mind began to churn things over.  Soon the entire cast began to take shape and I was writing some of my favorite characters.  I think Wally and Dakota will be with me long after the series ends. 

Most of the time ranchhand David rescues stray cattle, but this time he and his fellow cowboys Wally and Haven save a stranded motorist. David is surprised to find his former high school classmate nearly frozen in his car. After learning that Brian Applewright's boss fired him from his ranch for being gay, they invite him back to theirs to take a job.

David and Brian moved in different social circles at school, but working together brings them closer. However, David has a rocky history on the ranch. The foreman is his ex, and he only recently returned after a heartbreakingly unsuccessful attempt to find greener pastures. He can't risk his heart getting close to anyone.

But on a ranch, nature has a way of forcing an issue. When a snowstorm threatens, David and Brian head out to mend a fence and round up some stray cattle. David gets injured, and they must survive in the snow, cold, and wind. It might be the start of a relationship... or the end of their lives.

Reserve your advance copy:

“Shit!” Brian breathed and blinked a few times, taking stock to ensure he wasn’t hurt. The engine had cut out. He tried to start it again, but though the engine turned over, it just wouldn’t start. He was most likely too low on gas. Brian stared out the windshield for a few minutes in a daze and then became fully aware of himself once again. He unfastened his seat belt and opened his door. It didn’t budge, and he pushed harder, but the snow must have been packed around it because it barely moved at all. The wind, however, found the crack and began pushing its way inside. Brian yanked the door closed. He turned on the fan to force what heat he could get from the engine into the car and then turned it off. He left the hazard lights on, hoping someone might pass or see them if there was a break in the wind. Brian knew it wasn’t likely. He felt the heat slowly dissipate as he sat.
After a few minutes, he figured he had nothing to lose. The car was getting colder and colder, so he shifted to the passenger seat and tried that door. It was worse and would only open an inch no matter how hard he pushed. Brian was stuck, he knew it, and there wasn’t a damned thing he could do about it. As it got colder, he decided to try his door again. By rocking it back and forth, Brian was able to get it open about six inches, but he’d robbed the last remaining heat from inside the car to do it. He continued working and managed to get the door to open just enough that he could get out.
Brian stepped into snow that went up well past his knees. The car had plowed into a snowbank that had been built up from past efforts to plow the road, with light snow on top of heavy. The back wheels of the car were away from the road, with the body and front of the car resting on the mound. He wasn’t going anywhere, not without help, and all he could see in every direction was white. Nothing but white. He remembered briefly seeing what might have been buildings during the break in the wind, but he wasn’t sure if he’d passed them already or not. His best bet was to get back in the car, try to keep warm, and hope the wind and storm died down soon so someone would see him. So he got back in the car and pulled the door closed. As soon as the door clicked shut, he wished he’d tried to get to his things in the trunk. He reached for the release and it opened, so he got back out and struggled to make his way around to the back.
He managed to open the trunk and somehow keep it open against the wind and snow as he grabbed his duffel and a small backpack. Then he tried to climb back into the car. He slung the backpack over a shoulder and used his free hand to pull himself along the car to the door. He grasped it and managed to leverage himself around the door. He pushed the bags through the opening and then squeezed inside, yanking the door closed with what sounded like a thud of finality. He wasn’t going out again until something changed.
Brian’s hands ached and his ears and face felt as though they were frozen. He tried the engine again, and it blessedly turned over and started. “Thank God,” he whispered and placed his hands over the vents blasting heat into the space. They tingled along with his ears and face as his skin warmed.
After five minutes he was warm and had stopped shivering. He’d reached for the keys to shut down the engine when it sputtered and then went silent. The only source of heat other than himself was gone. Brian listened to the wind as it howled and raged outside the car. There wasn’t a damn thing he could do. He pulled open his duffel bag and shrugged off his coat. He was wearing a sweatshirt, but he found another and pulled it over his head. Then he put his coat back on. The jeans he’d been wearing were wet because the snow he’d picked up outside had melted in the heat, so he shucked them off, along with his wet shoes, and threw them on the passenger-side floor. He had a pair of sweatpants somewhere, so he rummaged for them quickly because he was starting to shiver again in nothing but his underwear. He pulled on the sweats and then a pair of jeans. He had to get creative, but at least the weight he’d lost in the last few weeks made room inside the jeans for the sweats.
Brian stripped off his socks, then found two fresh pairs and pulled those on. He smacked his forehead. He had left his boots in the trunk. He didn’t dare risk getting his last dry clothes wet now, and he couldn’t face another trip out of the car. He’d just have to work with what he had. He found a hat in the duffel and pulled it on, wishing he’d had it earlier. Then he rummaged for something to put on his hands. He couldn’t find anything and figured he could just shove his hands in his pockets. Then he climbed in the backseat  and pulled out the few remaining clothes he had left. In the bottom of the duffel he found a bath towel. He wrapped that around his feet and curled up on the seat with the rest of his clothes like a makeshift patchwork quilt resting on top of him, his head resting where the seat and back passenger door met.
Other than the wind and his own breathing, the world was silent. Brian lost track of time with only his thoughts to mark its passing. He’d screwed up shit in his life so bad. This was not how he’d pictured his lifee ending, waiting as cold slowly made its way through the clothing that surrounded him. He worked his hands out of the sleeves of his coat and hugged them to his body. It was a decent coat, but not nearly warm enough for this kind of weather.
The car windows fogged and then formed ice crystals on the inside as the moisture from his breath began to freeze. He’d had such plans for his life. His parents didn’t know shit about anything, and he’d left to make his fortune. He was going to be famous in rodeo. That would show them. His hometown of Casper would throw him a parade when he came to town. Well, that hadn’t happened. He knew now it couldn’t have, no matter what, but he’d been a kid full of delusions of grandeur that the world had slowly pulled away from him. Nothing he planned seemed to happen. He wasn’t talented enough for rodeo, and all he really knew was ranch work, but that didn’t seem to be working out either.
Brian closed his eyes and let the movie of his life play. There was nothing else to do, so he figured he might as well wallow in the screwed-up mess his life had become. He’d had his last ranch job near Cheyenne the longest of any of them. He’d really liked the place too. The owners had been good people and they’d treated him decently, even after they found out about the “liking broncs instead of fillies” thing. But the other hands had been a completely different matter. The news had spread like wildfire, and after that, nothing had gone right. The guys had made sure of that, and then, well, he’d had to leave—in the middle of a harsh winter when no ranch on earth was hiring anybody for anything. His only chance was to find a job somewhere and hope that spring would bring something better. Look at him: thirty-two years old, out of work, crouched in the back of his car to try to stay alive, not really sure he cared if someone rescued him. Maybe it was like his old man had said—he’d have been better off if he’d just curled up somewhere and died. Maybe his father had been prophetic. He certainly had crawled here, and unless someone came along, it looked like he would very well die here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Monkey Butt Bellybuttons

<julia> Hey y'all!
<julia> One more week and we have a sean yeah!
<BA> Woowoo!
<julia> or rather
<julia> Sean, yeah?
<sean> wooohooo
<BA> *grins*
<BA> I can't wait!
<sean> me neither
<BA> do you have a list of food you want?
<sean> all the food
<sean> ;)
<BA> heeeee
<BA> Julia's brother just left today. He was on his best behavior :D
<sean> LOL
<julia> he was
<julia> it was a good visit
<BA> nods
<sean> excellent
<BA> we put the fire table together
<sean> there's a revolving door chez blinky squinson, eh?
<BA> nods
<BA> you know it
<julia> lord yes
<sean> I imagine there will be turkey
<BA> so, we played Cards Against Humanity with them
<sean> Cards Against Humanity?
<BA> there is nothing more funny than making your brother in law say "Pac-Man guzzling cum"
<sean> LOL
<BA> or "two midgets shitting in a bucket"
<BA> oh, I'm TOTALLY introducing you to this game, honey
<sean> yes, it sounds like you must
<BA> you will lose your shit
<julia> LOL
<julia> OMG it's hilarious
<julia> and my bro and his wife valiantly plowed through
<BA> nods
<BA> it was amazing
<sean> grins
<julia> we will be way dirtier I imagine
<BA> they're a wee bit buttoned up
<sean> us?
<sean> dirty?
<sean> never
<BA> filthy?
<BA> ribald?
<BA> perverse?
<sean> innocent as the driven snow, I tell you
<julia> yellow snow you mean?
<sean> I was just polishing my uh... halo this morning
<BA> ew...
<BA> it's supposed to snow here this weekend
<BA> O.O
<julia> nope
<julia> I reject that reality
<sean> oh it should wait 'til I come!
<sean> we had snow last weekend
<sean> it didn't stick at all
<sean> but it was snow while it was coming down
<BA> *grins*
<sean> I might have done my version of the happy dance
<BA> Last year, the snow waited for you
<sean> it did!
<julia> but this year
<BA> I think we should take the train to Santa Fe while you're here
<julia> no big dump of leaves to clean up
<sean> I second that motion BA
<julia> that tree stayed at the rental house
<BA> I want to sit outside in the snow with the firepit on and toast snowy marshmallows
<julia> oooh
<julia> I like it
<sean> that sounds perfect
<BA> nods
<BA> how many years have you come for thanksgiving, honey?
<BA> six?
<BA> seven?
<sean> not that many I don't think
<sean> five?
<sean> two at round rock, one in georgetown and this'll be two in NM
<sean> right?
<BA> there may have been three in round rock...
<BA> not in a row, though
<sean> no
<BA> you came the year my stepmom died
<BA> not the next
<BA> the year after J and I went to Daddy's
<BA> now we're up to 2008...
<julia> math
<julia> bah
<BA> turkey
<sean> lol
<BA> (pun intended)
<BA> So I did one of those, I'm getting older things today
<BA> I bought gray hair brightening shampoo
<BA> O.O
<sean> to make your grey hair stand out?
<julia> heeee
<BA> nods
<julia> and to soften it
<BA> well, it sort of does that
<sean> ah
<julia> she got sparkly gray conditioner
<BA> but it's a pretty silver
<julia> :D
<sean> cool
<BA> and I want it to be silverier
<BA> it just happened
<BA> I swear
<BA> last year I wasn't gray
<BA> then I get married?
<BA> and BOOM
<BA> ;-)
<sean> cackles
<BA> (waits for Julia to respond)
<julia> I have no gray
<julia> just sayin;
<BA> that's because I ROCK as a wife
<BA> :D
<sean> heeeee
<julia> yep
<julia> and I am sooooooooo trying
<julia> heee
<julia> I can be a bit stressed sometimes it's true
<BA> *kisses*
<BA> you are my girl
<BA> so, let's tell a story.
<BA> I'll start:
<sean> you guys are like the yin yang symbol
<sean> you fit together perfectly
<julia> yup
<julia> okay
<julia> story
<julia> :
<BA> Once upon a time there was a man with a bellybutton that looked like a monkey's backside.
 * sean looks at BA
<julia> No one wanted to have sex with him unless he was on all fours.
<sean> except for gay monkeys
<BA> (what? We were at the zoo yesterday)
<BA> All the gay monkeys stared and drooled whenever he jogged by the monkey house shirtless and hooted lustfully from their enclosure.
<sean> lol
<julia> They did not fling things at him.
<BA> One day, one of the little dudes that worked at the zoo that was not a zookeeper, because those are rare, saw the monkey-naveled guy and sprung wood like whoa.
<sean> lol
<julia> He went, oh, I love monkey butts but that's weird
<julia> . So this is my perfect man.
<BA> Also, he had a secret.
<BA> He had a mole that looked just like Tony the Tiger.
<julia> Good thing monkey butt man loves Frosted Flakes.
<julia> <did I just change verb tenses?>
<BA> (you should hear Julia. She's sitting here, wiggling her eyebrows and going MONKEY BUTT MAN in her Serial Killer voice)
<sean> you're writing about monkey butt loving man and the dude with a monkey butt belly button and you're worried about verb tenses?
<sean> and also LOL
<sean> you are going to have the strangest dreams tonight BA
<sean> and no, I am not writing this one and dedicating it to you
<BA> you know, one day we were rooming with Chris Owen and J and I spent an hour telling each other stories about a time travelling butt plug
<BA> and I thought she was going to explode
<sean> *cackles*
<BA> she hadn't experienced Story Time with the Freaks yet
<BA> Oh, we went to Williams Sonoma yesterday
<BA> and they had a gluten free dressing
<BA> like stuffing dressing
<BA> not ranch or italian or bleu cheese type dressing
<sean> oh cool
<BA> hey
<BA> what's your favorite dressing?
<BA> balsalmic something, yeah?
<sean> balsamic
<BA> look at me, being all right
<BA> I bought cranberry pear balsamic
<BA> omg
<BA> the joy
<sean> oil, balsamic vinegar, a touch of lemon juice, italian seasoning, cracked pepper and salt
<sean> mmmm
<BA> nods
<BA> it's good
<julia> yum
<julia> I went away on monkey butts and came back to vinaigrette
<BA> things come and go so quickly here
<BA> did I tell you my daddy's having surgery next week?
<julia> ew
<julia> poor daddy
<BA> he's only had surgery once in my whole life. Hell, I think he's only had surgery twice in HIS whole life.
<BA> every time I think about it, I get all panicky
<julia> yikes
<julia> that's all i've had
<julia> tonsils
<julia> wisdom teeth
<BA> Daddy had his appendix out and he had to have his jaw wired shut
<BA> I've had surgery 4 times
<BA> but nothing for a long time
<BA> like 25 years
<julia> That's like a billion less than some of your family
<BA> heeeeeee
<BA> at least
<BA> The bassets are in my lap
<BA> I have a Sonny and a Sadie
<BA> *pokes Sean* Are you sleeping?
<julia> ow
<julia> oh wait
<julia> that was Sean
<julia> so, what are we baking first this year
<BA> hrm
<BA> chex mix
<BA> cranberry bread
<julia> oh good idea
<julia> I lov chex mix
<julia> thank goodness chex are gluten free now
<julia> except the wheat ones ;)
<BA> *cackles*
<BA> right
<sean> sorry sorry
<sean> it's late and I fell asleep
<sean> O.o
<BA> *grins*
<BA> Are you making commentary on my sparkling wit?
 * BA hugs tight
<BA> go sleep, honey. It's LATE for you
<sean> nope, it's as sparkling as ever
<sean> it is
<BA> next week you'll be here tomorrow!
<sean> I know!
<sean> yay
<BA> :D
<BA> okay, y'all. Sleep well. Much love.
<sean> you too
<BA> *kisses*
<BA> night babe
<sean> goodnight
<julia> night y'all

If you have a topic you’d like us to chat about, please let us know. We’re totally up for that.

You can find us on Twitter at @seanmichael09, @juliatalbot and @batortuga.

Sean’s website is
Julia’s is
BA’s is

Sean --
Julia --
BA --

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Thank You Veterans by Cardeno C.

My blog day is Monday so I'm a day early, but I want to share my thanks for the many heroes who do the hard work of defending all of us and the many families who sacrifice as a result. With immense gratitude, happy Veteran's Day.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Crikey, is Renae too Australian?

Psst!  Renae?


Psst – Renae!

Go away.  I’m busy.  I can’t talk tonight.

But Renae, it’s Saturday and you need to do a Café Risque blog.

Oh jeepers!  Crikey, I’ve run out of time.  I’ve been so busy today I haven’t had time to think up a good blog topic.

Umm – did you just say “Crikey”?  Like Steve Irwin?

Err – blast.  I did, didn’t I?  Forgive me.  Sometimes I sound too Australian for my own good.

Too Australian?  Is there such a thing?

<laughing>  Maybe, maybe not.  Depending on your view.  Now, I need to think of a blog topic.  Do you have an idea?

No – unless you want to talk about being Australian.  What DOES an Australian person do all day?

Err – probably about the same as a person in any other part of the world.  We’re pretty normal here, y’know.

C’mon.  There must be some things that you do that are Australian that you can share?

<sighs>  Okay – well, let’s see.

For a start, it’s spring here in Australia.  We’re gearing up for summer now.  I was speaking to my November Release Day Buddy, RG Green, and she was saying she recently had the first real freeze.  I really have no idea what this means.  Something to do with ice or snow, I think.  Perth rarely dips below zero degrees celsius, so we don’t get “freezes”.

Tomorrow we’re expecting a mini-heatwave.  36 degrees (96F) so my husband has promised to take the kids down to the beach for a while.

The beach?  Aren’t there sharks in the water?

Sure.  But if you were afraid of every little thing that could kill you, you wouldn’t get out of bed.  There are sharks in the water, and recently a surfer lost an arm and a hand to a shark.  But we have beach patrols, helicopters and warning systems.  We should be okay.

A long necked tortoise (which is
actually a turtle - go figure)
Which reminds me of another distinctly Australian thing I had to do last week.  Being spring, the reptiles and wildlife are on the move.  My husband had to stop in the middle of the road on the way home to allow a family of three long necked tortoises to cross.  And I found a snake that had been run over by a car.

The poor snake had been killed by a single tyre across his middle.  He was just trying to warm himself on the road.  The problem was his head was intact from the incidence.  Venomous dugite snakes are still deadly after death.  Their fangs contain the venom, and even after five years, a scratch from a dugite skeleton’s teeth can kill you.  So I went back with a bucket and picked up the poor thing.  The kids would be walking past it on their way home from school, so I wanted to dispose of it.

Eww!  Gross!

Yeah.  I know.  But someone had to do it.

What about today?  Anything today that is distinctly Australian?

Today I worked 7 hours at the local church fete.  My feet are buggered! 

To me - this is an esky
But I won a prize in the raffle.  I won the “blokes pack” which I wanted because I was eying off the mini esky.

The what-ie?

The esky.  You know?  Like an icebox?  Cooler?  You put your cold drinks in with ice to keep them cold?

Ahh!  And you wanted this?

Yes.  It is just the size I need. 

But “blokes pack”?

Yes.  I also won a BBQ utensil holder, a couple of stubby holders and some BBQ cleaning cloths.
Stubby Holder

Umm – a “stubby holder”?  What is that?

A stubby is a small bottle of beer.  What do you call them?  These things?  ---->

I don’t.  I don't believe I've ever held one before.  So is BBQing “men’s work”?

Yes.  In Australia it is *wink*. 

The BBQ is my husband’s domain.  I don’t mind.  It means he has to clean the thing and stand next to the hot food in the summer.  I’ll stay in the kitchen and make the salads, thanks.  (hint: aircon!)

Throwing a couple of shrimps on the barbie, are you?

Shrimps err.... Prawns!
Err…  We don’t call them “shrimps” in Australia.  Sorry.

Oh.  What do you call them?

Prawns.  To me, a shrimp is someone of small stature.  There are 9 inches difference between my husband and me.  That makes me “a shrimp.”  But yes, we do have prawns on the BBQ.  However usually I skewer them. 

So, do you have problems writing Australian?

Of course not!  LOL.  It’s normal to me.  But what I do find hard is writing authentic life for an Australian, but in a way that a person who doesn’t live in Australia, or even in Perth, would understand. 

Like trying to explain your national sport to an unfamiliar reader, without making the character stop and elucidate.  Because that would not seem a natural act for a character to do.  Or trying to find words that an Australian would regularly use, without making readers scramble for a dictionary. 

Some words have easy solutions.  On my coming novel, Safe in His Arms, my American editor picked me up on the word “bin.”  She wanted to change it to “trash can” which would be completely foreign for any Australian-born person to say.  Of course we know what a trash can is, but don’t ever use the term.  The problem was easily fixed with inserting the word “rubbish” before the word “bin.”  In regular speech, an Australian would probably just say “bin,” but “rubbish bin” could also be used, and wouldn’t feel out of place like “trash can” would.

However there are some words that just don’t translate.  I try to avoid using them as the simplest solution.

Is there anything else that you did today that was distinctly Australian?

<snort>  Of course.  I had Weetbix for breakfast.  I drove an Australian car on the left hand side of the road to the fete.  I handled Australian money all day.  I had a Devonshire tea for my morning break, and a sausage sizzle for lunch.  I bought plum jam, honey, lemon butter and scones from the fete.  I also bought a dill plant.  I
These are scones people!
And the word is pronounced to rhyme
with "John" not "cone."
placed a Tupperware order.

When I got home I fed my chooks and collected the eggs.  I watered my pot plants where the bore wouldn’t reach.  I rescued my corn from being strangled by the pumpkin vine, gave the cucumbers something to climb up, picked silverbeet and gave it straight to the chooks, and ate fresh boysenberries off the vine.

I had a steak sandwich for dinner and complained to hubby that he should’ve put beetroot on it.  I helped my daughter build Lego, and listened to my son mumble and get excited about Minecraft.  I lied to a telemarketer on the phone, fed the cats, and washed dishes.  I read my daughter a book about sea dragons, promised my son that he could fall asleep in my bed, and wondered how my husband could watch a movie and play on the iPad at the same time.

So – if you didn’t do any of that today.  Then perhaps you’re not Australian.

Or perhaps you’re just not me.  Because that’s what I did.

Be sure to check out my upcoming novel, Safe in His Arms which is available for preorder here.

How to contact Renae:

Twitter:  @renaekkaye