#SweetWeek! Tara Lain’s Hearts and Flour is On Sale. (Cowboys Too!)

Hi —

It’s Sweet Week at Dreamspinner Press and among 13 books that are on sale, you can get Hearts and Flour for only $1.99. Here’s the Link.

And here’s the blurb for this fun story —

Can a raw food enthusiast find love with a guy who bakes cupcakes?

When Micah Truveen’s devoted health-food customers start showing up with white flour, Micah wants to chew nails! To make his misery worse, he finds his yoga teacher boyfriend in bed with another guy the day before Valentine’s Day. Micah decides to drown his misery at a friend’s anti-Valentine’s Day orgiastic hookup party—and meets the beautiful Queen, a gorgeous cross-dresser who’s got Southern sugah in his mouth and the right equipment under the dress. But when the hookup turns serious, Micah has to compromise to protect Queen’s secrets from his beloved grandmother. With everything against them, can two hearts rise above the flour?

Be sure to stop by! Plus, check out your fave retailer for a copy of Cowboys Don’t Come Out, also only $1.99 for a short time. Here’s AMAZON.


Get Lucky! SALE at #Dreamspinner! Wolves and Wowza 30% Off. #TaraLain

Hi and welcome. I want you to know that there’s a 30% OFF Sale at Dreamspinner Press right now in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. This means every book in the store is available at this reduced price. If you’d liike to catch up on my books, this is a good time —

Pre-order Love You So Hard — this charming novella is a re-release coming April 6th, but if you haven’t read it, now’s the time because it’e only $2.79 during the sale.Buy it HERE.






Like paranormal? Rome and Jules, as the name implies, takes a famous trope and reimagines it as a contemporary werewolf story. Don’t miss it. HERE for only $3.49.







People are still snatching up Hearts and Flour, a wild little tale of a raw food fanatic who falls for a cross-dressing cupcake baker. Only $2.79 during the sale. HERE. 







And of course, there’s Bleu Balls. My novel of double trouble is only $4.89 during the sale and explores the romantic lives of identical twins, Robin and Bobby. Check it HERE.







If you’d like to see my whole array of works at Dreamspinner (which is most of my books), just go HERE. Every book is on sale. Here. 

Be sure to check out all the fabulous authors and books at Dreamspinner. You’ll find your favorites. You can get whatever format you want and can even have the books sent to your Kindle directly. :  )

Top 10 Eddie Redmayne Performances #Actors #Nerds

Hi —

I hope you got to enter to win the $10 Amazon GC in the Hearts and Flour Blog Blast. If not, click Here and pop over to see my new release. Speaking of adorable nerds, here’s a fun video on one of my favorite guys, Eddie Redmayne.  A cover artist recently asked me for inspiration on how my hero in an upcoming book looks. I said he was an Eddie Redmayne lookalike. I adore Eddie’s quirky looks and think he’s a brilliant actor. I watch Fantastic Beasts again and again even though i don’t like much about the plot partly because of the charm he brings to Newt Scamander. Eddie is my nominee for human most likely to be an elf.

Chances are, you like I have not seen many of his performances. Check out this video and it may enhance your To Watch list.

Thank you so much for coming by. My next release is a paranormal, my first in a couple years. called Rome and Jules. You can preorder it now everywhere. : )

New Release!! Hearts And Flour by Tara Lain #giveaway @crossdresser

Hi everyone! Welcome and Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m delighted to be celebrating the re-release of my quirky, sexy little Valentine’s story, Hearts and Flour. It’s a special book to me for many reasons (one of my all time fave cats I’ve written) including the fact that my agent says this was the first one of my books she read and she liked it so much she wanted to be my agent. I hope you like it too. Be sure to enter the giveaway. : )

Hearts and Flour
by Tara Lain
Can a raw food enthusiast find love with a guy who bakes cupcakes?
When Micah Truveen’s devoted health-food customers start showing up with white flour, Micah wants to chew nails! To make his misery worse, he finds his yoga teacher boyfriend in bed with another guy the day before Valentine’s Day. Micah decides to drown his misery at a friend’s anti-Valentine’s Day orgiastic hookup party—and meets the beautiful Queen, a gorgeous cross-dresser who’s got Southern sugah in his mouth and the right equipment under the dress. But when the hookup turns serious, Micah has to compromise to protect Queen’s secrets from his beloved grandmother. With everything against them, can two hearts rise above the flour?
Second Edition
First Edition published by Etopia Press, January 2013.
Available for purchase at


Micah stashed his bike in the shed behind the house. He couldn’t stop chuckling.
Dharmaram would be so happy. Micah fingered the wrapped box in his pocket. The
bracelet that rested inside was pure gold and engraved with abstract shapes the
salesman had told Micah were dolphins. That sold him, of course. It cost a
bundle, but he didn’t care. He loved it. The look on Dharmaram’s face when
Micah gave it to him tomorrow would be worth twice the price. He knew it.
At least he was home early tonight, so maybe they could watch a little TV and snuggle.Tomorrow Micah would start prep on the meal in the early afternoon. He wanted
to blow it out. Candles and flowers. Good china and silver. Well, he didn’t
really have good stuff, but he’d bought a new deep pink tablecloth that would
set off his plain white plates and make them special.
He fit his key in the lock and stepped into the kitchen. Funny, the lights were off.
Dharmaram usually turned on every light in the house when he got home. Maybe
he’d had an extra class to teach this afternoon and hadn’t thought to mention
Micah paused and let Furtwangler step onto his shoulder from the top of the
refrigerator. He scratched the cat’s chin. “Hi, guy. How you feeling?” Like the
glacier for which he was named, at seventeen Furtwangler was slowly
disappearing. One of the only good things to come out of Micah’s time with his
mother, Furtwangler was still a great cat.
Micah turned on the light and slipped his shoes onto the shoe rack. He pulled the
package from his pocket. “Where shall I put this so that our nosy roommate
won’t find it, guy? What do you think?”
Micah glanced up at the high glass-front cabinets in the kitchen. Good thought.
Dharmaram hated to cook, so if he was left alone he’d never open a cabinet.
Just graze in the refrigerator on whatever Micah had left for him.
Holding on to Furtwangler with one hand, Micah stood on tiptoe and opened the top door. He slid the present behind the teapot he used for herb infusions. He really
wanted to give the bracelet to Dharmaram tonight, but he’d force himself to
wait. It would be more special tomorrow.
He walked through the dark dining room into the living room. No lights. He turned on a low TV-viewing light. “Stay here, guy. We’ll watch some TV, okay?”
The cat slithered off his shoulder to the comfortable, cotton-velour-covered couch, and Micah headed down the hall to the bedroom.
“Umpf.” Micah stopped. “Ohhhhh.” Shit, was that Dharmaram? Had he hurt himself doing his damned backward-bending pose again? He took two more steps.
“Oh, oh, oh!”
         What was wrong?
Micah ran the last seven steps and threw open the bedroom door in time to see a
large bare ass in the air and a very big dick shoving its way into the pink
butthole of the guy Micah had just spent five hundred dollars on.


He pushed through the swinging kitchen door and found a couple of caterers laughing and gossiping quietly in a corner. Bet they had something to talk about. And there, back to him by the sink, was the woman.
As he looked at her now, Micah realized there was no way she could be a caterer,
unless she owned the company. The red dress was silk and those four-inch
stilettos would have paid his mortgage for a month. She wasn’t real tall. Even
with the shoes, he guessed she’d be a little shorter than his six feet. Very
slim with just a slight rounding at her hips, strong, lean legs, and willowy
arms in the long sleeves. A mane of golden hair fell over her shoulders. The
color looked real but well tended, like it cost a bundle to keep that silken
Why the hell was he staring at her? Unlike his erstwhile boyfriend, he had no interest in women in any sexual or romantic sense. Never had. But what was she doing
She filled a glass from a spigot of filtered water.
Her head went back, so he assumed she was drinking. Suddenly she turned toward him, and he was staring into brilliant blue eyes. “Did you want some water too?”
Her voice was soft and low. A lilt suggested moonlight and magnolias.
“Uh, sure. Yes. I’d like some.”
She reached into a cabinet like she owned the place, pulled out a glass, and filled
it from the spigot. Micah watched the play of muscles across the low back of
her dress. Then she turned with the water glass extended. Man, what a beauty.
Delicate, sculptured features—wide eyes, soft lips, a pointed chin—all
surrounded by the velvet blanket of smooth gold hair.
Micah stared and… stared. Beautiful face. Beautiful Adam’s apple.
“You’re a guy.”
She… uh…
he smiled. “Of course. Why else would I be here, sugah?” The “why” sounded like
“wha” and the “I” like “ah.”
Micah grinned. “Excellent question. You’re quite convincing as a woman. And very beautiful.” Jesus, his body didn’t care what the guy was. Total turn-on. Who
knew he’d get excited over a cross-dresser?
“Thank you, kind sir. So are you.”
Micah stuck out his hand. “I’m Micah.”
He took it. His skin was so soft Micah could barely feel it except for the warmth that flowed straight to his balls. He smiled. “I’m called Queen.”
“But you’re not a queen, are you? I mean, a drag queen?”
He smiled. Hell, it was practically demure. “No. Just a man who likes to wear
women’s clothes sometimes.”
Micah was out of his depth here, but he felt willing to drown. “Like a transvestite?”
Queen sipped his water. “I prefer to avoid labels. I only get the chance to dress up
occasionally. I’m perfectly happy in men’s clothes as well.”
Micah smiled. “It’s confusing.”
Queen looked up through his lashes, which were darker than his hair. “How so?”
“I’m not usually attracted to women.”
“Ah, but I’m not a woman.”


About the Author

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!


You can find Tara at Lain

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter Goodreads | PinterestGiveaway

Presented By

Fem Guys Are HOT! Me and Davey.

WolfinGucciLoafersLGHi and welcome. First let me say that if you haven’t entered to win the $25 GC in my WINTER’S WOLF Blog83f4d1fe137048fe37838e0dfd52bdb9 Tour, you’re running out of time, so Click HERE. Also, if you haven’t entered to win Melanie Hansen’s lovely prizes, click HERE.

Now, on with today’s topic. Effeminate men! If you read my books, you know that many of my heroes are fem guys. They’re often wildly capable and even have alpha natures, but in their external expression they’re flamboyant and effeminate. Think of Lindsey Vanessen in WOLF IN GUCCI LOAFERS, Rodney Mansfield in FIRE BALLS, Quentin Darby in HEARTS AND FLOUR. Trevor Landry in CANNING THE CENTER is so fem he can pass for a woman up close.

I think these heroes are sexy. My super alpha heroes think these heroes are sexy. And so, thank you, do my readers. People who don’t know i write these guys are sometimes a little taken aback. Reviewers who say, “He was a bit much, but i loved him anyway”, and things like that.

A theme in my books is the low self-esteem many of these heroes suffer because they are fem and this is HeartsandFlour_ByTaraLain_1600x2400because they are often made to feel that way by the people around them — even other members of the gay community. In CANNING THE CENTER, my hero has to intervene to let an effeminate young man join the Gay and Lesbian Student Society. In my upcoming novel, KNIGHT OF OCEAN AVENUE, my flamboyant stylist hero feels the construction worker he loves could never endure the censure he’d receive from having such a fem boyfriend.

I love this video from Davey Wavey who says fem guys are sexy and “being yourself is sexy”. I say “so true” and writing my sexy fem heroes is something i plan to keep doing for a long time. Here’s Davey.

Thank you for coming by! : )

Want to Win a Tara Lain Animal Book?

TL_AT3_cataclysmicshift_coverlgHi! I just got back from a short vacation at Walt Disney World where i adored Animal Kingdom. So i’m WintersWolfFScelebrating my fun! From time to time, i invite you to subscribe to my newsletter where we have great drawings and Subscriber Exclusive contests. I just sent out the newest issue of the newsletter and if you want to join now, you can get in on the contest to win an ecopy of ANY of my books that has an animal in it — cat, dog, wolf, panther, or etc!

Here’s what you do–

Subscribe to the Newsletter. It’s short, snappy, fun, and full of stuff to win.


After you subscribe, check out my books on the book page of this site and find a book you want that has an animal in it.

Then send an email to tara at taralain dot com and say Animal in the subject. Tell me which book you want.

Got it? That’s all there is to it. And remember, if you haven’t entered to WIN the $25 GC in the Winter’s Wolf Blog Tour, do it NOW!  :  )

More Davey: How to Act Straight Gay

Hi everyone–

WolfinGucciLoafersLGYou already know my Davey Wavey addiction. Some of his videos are funny, some are dumb, and many have great messages for all of us, gay or straight. This is one of those. If you read my books, you know i write a lot of gay characters who don’t “act straight”. In my recent release, Wolf in Gucci Loafers, my hero, Lindsey, is as flamboyant and over-the-top as a person (aka werewolf) can be. One reviewer said she’d NEVER read a character like him and, though he took some getting used to, she ultimately enjoyed him a lot. But actually, Lindsey is a “queenish” guy who is secretly an alpha male of the first order. Some of my heroes are not. They’re drag queens who are more effeminate than many women (see HeartsHeartsandFlour_ByTaraLain_453x680 and Flour) or big hunky guys who hate SnowBalls_ByTaraLain-453x680sports, like to decorate, and are scared of spiders (see Snow Balls).

The bottom line is, i like to write about gay men, and, if you know some, you know they come in many permutations. They are not stereotypical flaming queens like in the old movies, but they also aren’t straight men who happen to have sex with other men. Gay men are people with many layers and facets — just like the rest of us. I like to write men who are loved for being fabulous as well as brave and strong. Here’s what Davey has to say.

Thank you for coming by! : )

Impromptu Valentine’s Giveaway from Tara!

HeartsandFlour_ByTaraLain_453x680Happy Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Giveaway! My perfect Valentine’s book is Hearts and Flour. It even takes place at Valentines Day. Want to win a copy? I’m giving away 2 ecopies. (And be sure to enter the Valentine’s Day Gift Hop too while you’re here! You might win aa Kindle!)

Here’s how you win Hearts and Flour:

  • Do ONE of the following
  • Subscribe to my Newsletter (see the subscription in the right column?)
  • Like my Facebook Page
  • Like my Amazon Page
  • Become my Fan on Goodreads
  • Review one of my books on Goodreads
  • Leave me a comment telling me which one you did (if you’ve done all of these things (giant hugs) make something up!

Excerpt : HEARTS AND FLOUR by Tara Lain; MM Contemporary; The Vegan and the Cupcake Baker

Available at Amazon  ARe

 To Micah Truveen, raw, vegan food is his religion. So when his devoted customers show up with white flour cupcakes, Micah could kill. Then Micah comes home to find his boyfriend, Dharamaram, in bed with someone else. He throws the rat out and agrees to go to his friend’s orgiastic anti-Valentines party where he meets a gorgeous cross-dressing guy who gives him a night to remember.

 Southerner Quentin Darby wishes he could stop wearing women’s clothes. He so wants to live up to his grandmother’s glowing opinion of him, he’s never even told her he’s gay. And now there’s Micah who makes him wish he could just be who he is. But Micah finds out that Quentin is the baker responsible for the plague of cupcakes afflicting the community! And Dharmaram adds a little blackmail to the mix. Can two hearts rise above the flour?


Gasping for breath, he stopped outside the store. Locked. Of course. It was only eight thirty in the morning. At least Dharmaram’s class didn’t start until nine. If only Quentin would come here to the shop right after he dropped off his grandmother. Or maybe even before. Oh God. What if he went in and Dharmaram confronted them together? No warning. Just a smack in the face. Maybe he should run to the yoga studio? He took two steps down the pavement—


He turned back to see that beautiful face. A beautiful face and body—dressed in men’s clothes. He’d seen Quentin as Queen. He’d seen Quentin naked. But this was the first time seeing him as a man.


Of course, that masculine image was slightly compromised by the fact that Quentin wore an apron over his jeans and T-shirt. An apron covered in flour and dough. Micah wanted to lick it off. The first processed food he’d had in years.

Quentin wiped his hands. “What did you want?”

His eyes wouldn’t focus. He just wanted to keep staring at that loveliness.

“Maybe I could get one of your raw cupcakes?”

“You came here before opening for a cupcake?”

Micah shook his head. “No. I have something to tell you. Something pretty awful.”

Quentin frowned. “Something more awful than you going back to your yoga teacher a few hours after we had sex?”

Micah breathed out hard. “It’s related to that. Where can we talk?”

“There’s people baking in the kitchen. You know, baking that poison I make and force on people?” He stood very upright.

“I’m truly sorry for that. Just, please, let me tell you what’s happened.”

“OK.” Quentin stepped aside and pointed to the back. Micah walked into the shop, assailed again by the sweetest of smells. No second sweetest, after Quentin.

Quentin walked through the door that led to the kitchen and Micah followed. He turned right and stepped into a small office with a desk, computer, and a filing cabinet. Quentin pointed to a straight-back chair across from the desk. He took the desk chair. “So what did you want to tell me?”

Whew. Face-to-face, this was tough duty. His heart beat so hard he could feel it in his toes. “I, uh, I really care about you.”

Who knew Quentin’s face could get that angry. “You sure have a unique way of showing it, sugah.”

“Wait. I’ve done a bunch of dumb things, and I’m not sure which is dumbest. First, I did that whole priggish song and dance about the cupcakes being poison when I should have been telling you how much I admire you and appreciate how you take care of your grandmother. And I really want to know why you created those raw cupcakes—” he held up a hand “—but first I have to tell you about my other idiot moves. The reason you saw me with Dharmaram is because he was blackmailing me. He figured out that the beautiful woman he saw me with is the grandson of his most proper southern lady student, and he threatened to tell Mary Beth about you if I didn’t take him back in. What you saw was him moving his stuff into my guest room. That’s guest room.”

Quentin’s mouth literally hung open. “But why did you do that? Why didn’t you tell me?”

Micah shrugged. “I knew if I told you, you’d immediately come out to your grandmother, and I didn’t want to force you to do something you didn’t want to do.”

“So you’ve been hosting that snake in the grass on account of me?” The blue eyes widened to saucer expanse.

Micah shifted in the chair. “I was. But that’s why I ran here so fast this morning. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I woke up this morning and he was climbing in bed with me. I threw him out again.”


“Not good, because he’s going to go straight to Mary Beth and—”

“Who’s going straight to me, darling?”

The soft southern voice came around the partly closed door followed by a curly head and blue eyes that sparkled just like her grandson’s.

He would have smiled but fear seemed to have frozen him solid. What could they say? All he could do was follow Quentin’s lead.


Thank you so much for coming by! Be sure to enter.  : )

Home for the Holidays with $450 GC & Books!

Home for the holidays hop buttonHi all–

Welcome to the Home for the Holidays Blog Hop! Do you KNOW what you can win? Wow!

  • A $450 GC
  • A book from EVERY one of the 75 authors participating! Including my F.A.S.T. Balls

How do you WIN this fantabulous prize? 

  • Leave a comment with your EMAIL (don’t miss this last part. Yes, i may know your email, but the grand prize deciders don’t, so you need to list it!)
  • The winners will be decided from all the comments left on all the blogs in the hop.

You can also win a prize here on my blog! Since the theme of the Hop is holiday food, i’ll HeartsandFlour_ByTaraLain_453x680give away the winner’s choice of my books with a food theme. For MM lovers, there is Hearts and Flour. For MMF lovers, you can win Genetic Celebrity! (If you have both of those, we’ll work something out.)

To enter to win my prize — please do one of the following:

  • Sign up for my email newsletter (see the signup on this page)
  • Like my FB Page
  • Like my Amazon Page

We’re supposed to share our favorite holiday recipe. This is funny, since my idea of a good meal is going out to dinner!  LOL. Or conversely, having some raw veggies, a piece of cheese, and some nuts. I’m so not a foodie. I love making scrambled eggs with feta cheese and chopped Roma tomatoes. Actually, i love eggs in all their manifestations — poached, boiled, fried, omelets, and, above all, scrambled.

sugarcookiesBut, in the spirit of the holidays, i will share a recipe i love to EAT. I don’t love baked goods as a general rule. I’m an ice cream girl. But i do love crispy cookies. My grandmother used to make the thin, crunchy sugar cookies at the holidays, so here is a recipe i got from Taste of Home in case you want to indulge.


1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup 2% milk


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Cover and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes or until easy to handle.
  2. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut out cookies into desired shapes. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets.
  3. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 8 dozen.


TL_GeneticCelebrity_coverinAnd also on the topic of YUM, here’s a scene from my MMF menage, Genetic Celebrity. This is a foodie scene. The book gets much hotter — with food!  LOL Enjoy!

Excerpt: Genetic Celebrity by Tara Lain; MMF Menage with Food!

Available at   Amazon and all other retailers

 Tommy Riley loves cooking and the simple life. But his passion for Angie “Booky” Edelson is anything but simple. Beautiful, ambitious, hard-driving and 10 years older than Tommy, Booky represents all the things Tommy has tried to leave behind. Besides, she only seems to love him for his food! Then Tommy’s boss brings home Shay Shaleen, a pierced, tattooed, androgynous street kid for Booky to turn into a top male model. Tommy sizzles for the beautiful guy but Shay gets caught up in the flattery of a famous fashion designer. Why does Tommy have to fall for two people who can’t love him back? Is there a recipe for blending with these genetic celebrities?

“Oh God, Tommy. Oh God. Oh God. Yes, yes! Mmmmmmmm.”

Tommy grinned. “That good?”

“Oh God, yes!” Her mouth opened wider and stretched…around his wooden spoon. Her pretty red lips pursed just a bit, and he caught a glimpse of the tip of her tongue. Was he a pervert for wishing those lips were stretched around other parts of him? Hell, the age difference wasn’t that great. Ten years. Big deal. Roan, his boss, was thirteen years younger than his wife, Em.

Booky collapsed against the granite counter, clutching her chest. “I think you make this even better than Roan, darling. And I don’t say that easily.”

He rinsed the spoon in the stainless steel sink. “So stay and have some with me. Roan’s supposed to come later.”

“Do I dare? That will be the third time this month I’ve missed Mama’s family dinner. She’ll kill me and ask questions later.”

He fished into the steaming pan and grabbed a sliver of chicken. Okay, try to resist. Slowly he walked toward her, step by step, waving the piece of meat in his fingers. “Chicken cacciatooooooore. Peppers, onions, tomatoes. Mmmmmmm.”

She squeezed against the counter, fending him off. “Tommy ‘Tick Tock’ Riley. You’re a home wrecker.”


She pressed her arm against her forehead. Booky did drama like nobody else. “Oh God, I love capers.”

Lots of capers.” He stood in front of her. They were practically eye to eye. It would be nice to tower over her, flex his big alpha-male muscles and watch her swoon. Too bad it wasn’t gonna happen in this life. Five feet eight and his cooking were all he had, so he’d better use them. He wafted the morsel under her nose. “Smelllll the goodness.”

She followed the movement with her nose like a hypnotized cobra. “Oh, poor Mama.” Snap. She grabbed the chicken in her teeth and chewed. Eyes closed, moaning. Hell, he’d like to elicit that reaction with other pleasures.

The big brown eyes opened. “She’s going to forget what I look like. I’m such a bad daughter.” Dramatic pause. “I’ll call her and say I’m eating with you tonight. Again!”

Still chewing, she walked around the island counter that separated the kitchen from the huge open space of the loft. She grabbed her purse from the sectional couch and fished out a phone. He got a wink as she dialed.

It wasn’t likely anyone would ever forget what Booky Edelson looked like. Her gleaming black hair fell to her shoulders like a curtain of ebony, and the liquid brown eyes peered out from under straight bangs. Bold features, they called them. A long straight nose and full lips. She was slim but curvy with generous breasts and a round butt. Yeah, if you saw her, you never forgot her. And the in-your-face appearance matched a personality just as big.

Why did he adore her? She was everything he said he was tired of and didn’t want to be. Aggressive, ambitious, pushy. Just like his parents. Plus, even though he’d always liked women too, he’d pretty much been with men since he was sixteen. His family really hated that. He sighed. It didn’t matter anyway because she only loved him for his food.

“Hi, Mama.” She listened for a minute. “Yeah, that’s why I’m calling. I’m at Roan’s, and, uh, he has some things for me to do.”

She looked up at him. “Yes, Tick Tock is here.”

She didn’t say anything for seconds, but she looked like she was trying to get a word in. Mouth open, closed. Open.

“Yes, he’s cooking dinner but…”

She shifted and actually seemed to cringe. Booky cringing? Her mama was a force.

“Mama, I have to work.” She listened. He could hear her mother’s voice squawking out of the cell phone. “I’ll see you next week. Bye, Mama.”

She clicked off. “See what you did?” She adopted her best Jewish-mother voice and struck a pose. “So what would a daughter of mine want to be eating with her ‘just friend’ instead of coming home for dinner where she might get herself a makher for a boyfriend?”

Tommy laughed. “What’s that mean? It sounds dangerous.”

“It kind of is, but it means a person who makes things happen. A mover and shaker. Mama has this doctor she’s been trying to fix me up with for weeks. I keep escaping. She’s pissed.” She bounded around the island. “Okay, I’ll make the salad.”

“Hey, I don’t want her to be mad at me. If I ever get to meet her, I don’t want her to kill me too.”

She rinsed the lettuce and stuck it in the lettuce dryer. “Mama doesn’t mind me hanging with you. She just wants me spending more time with a good Jewish doctor with marriage on his mind.”

A doctor who was thirty-seven instead of twenty-five. A mover and shaker. Just like everyone always wanted him to be. Shit. “Why are you resisting? Don’t you want to get married?”

She stopped ripping lettuce and cocked her head. “I’ve been married.” She shrugged. “You know, I kind of think I want something I’ve never had. Something not written down in Mama’s book of marriage.” She grinned at him. “That’s weird, isn’t it?”

He stashed some plates in the warmer. “No, actually. It makes perfect sense. Just like I’ve always wanted something my family didn’t have written down in their book of success.”


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Creating Characters for a Romance. The Secret is Conflict.

10932162_sHi —

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I’m currently in the happy place of starting a new book — totally new. Not part of a series or already proposed. The page is blank, which is both delightful and terrifying.  It feels like  i’m doing the “gazing into the universe waiting for someone to introduce themselves” dance. But actually, there’s a process involved.

I’m sure different writers have different approaches, but i tend to start with a character so i’m going to riff for a few minutes on creating characters for a new romance. HeartsandFlour_ByTaraLain_453x680Since my new book isn’t far enough along to use as an example, i’m going to describe the creation of  Hearts and Flour. This is a good example because it’s a stand-alone novella, not part of a series. In that book, i was walking in my hometown of Laguna Beach one day and noticed a health food stand — very organic and vegan. What if i created a hero who owned a place like that? He’s not only a vegan but a fanatic about raw food. And that’s how Micah Truveen was born.

Okay, the basis for any good book is conflict, both internal and external. Your main characters have to want something they aren’t getting and overcome the obstacles in their pathway. It helps if the two MCs, who in a romance are the lovers, want different things and/or have inherent characteristics that make them somewhat or even VERY antagonistic toward each other. After all, you have to keep them from living happily ever after for 20 to 100,000 words! So when i’ve defined a character somewhat, i ask who would be a logical antagonist to my MC? In the case of Micah Truveen, how about someone who bakes big, delicious, sugar-laden cupcakes!?

But my second character can’t just be an antagonist. He has to want something too that 12106307_she’s not getting. My second MC in Hearts and Flour is Quentin Darby, a lovely, young southern man who adores his grandmother but has never told her he’s gay or — a cross-dresser! Since Micah is out and proud, that continues the contrast between the lovers.

So once the inherent conflict is established, the story begins to unfold for me. They have to meet and be attracted before Micah discovers that Quentin is the evil cupcake baker, there has to be a confrontation, both between the lovers and with the grandmother — plot points begin to take shape and soon I have a story! It’s funny. I never knew this was my process until i taught the course recently at Savvy Authors and wanted to explain a successful plotting approach to a pantser who didn’t want a lot of structure but needed a little.

So now i’m creating my new book. You see there’s this cardiac surgeon who– but that’s another story. :  )