Monday 29 September 2014

Coming Soon: IN THE RAW by Eileen Griffin and Nikka Michaels

It is my honour and privilege to welcome Eileen Griffin and Nikka Michaels to my blog today. Their latest co-written book, In the Raw, will be released on October 6th and below they share everything you need to know about the story as well as an intriguing excerpt.

First they have been kind enough to give us an insight into how their co-writing process works.


One of the questions we always get asked is: “What is it like to collaborate and co-write with another author? Writing is such a personal thing - Isn’t it hard to write with another person?”

Three years ago, we would have been asking those same questions of any co-writing duo (or team). Writing is personal. We both agree that writing involves digging deep down inside you and pulling out little bits of yourself the rest of the world doesn’t see and putting them on paper for everyone to read. It’s highly personal. The flip side is that writing is also a lonely profession. It’s a profession, that by nature, forces you to sit in front of your computer/laptop/tablet/journal and pour your words and feelings onto a page … by yourself.

For us, collaborating is the best of both worlds. We can be solitary beings in front of our laptops when we need to get our words down, but we also have a built in cheerleader who is always there to cheer us on when a scene or character isn’t coming across the way we want it to.

Don’t get us wrong, co-writing is a challenge in and of itself. You have to trust the person you’re collaborating with - really trust them - and be able to give up a little bit of control over your work. Because, when you co-write, it’s not just “your” work. Each line, even if only one person created it and typed it into the document, is a joint effort. Each plot idea, each outline, each character development, all of it is a joint creation.
To put it more into perspective, here are some common questions we routinely get asked about our partnership:

Q:  For those who don’t understand writing with a partner, how would you explain your writing partnership to them?

Eileen:  I can see how people who are used to writing alone would find it odd or weird to write with a partner. To be honest? I love it. We bounce so many ideas off of each other that our SL usually becomes so much more than we originally envisioned it. I also think that writing with someone takes a lot of compromise. There are people who need to be in complete control over their characters and SL. Nik and I happily share joint custody over all of that and discuss every idea or SL change we have. It’s all about give and take. We each have our own OCD about writing, but we work well together and our ideas make our stories and characters stronger.

Nikka:We bounce ideas off each other and flail, then I ramble on in brainstorming. Then we switch. Then Eileen organizes everything and makes it pretty and sensible. Then rinse and repeat. Writing with a partner might not be the best choice for everyone but for us personally, it seems to work as we both have something to bring to the table.

Q:  What has been the most challenging aspect of writing with a partner? What has been the best part?

Eileen:  The most challenging part of having a writing partner? Time zones, dinner times and google docs deciding to play nasty and kick one of us out when we’re both working or plotting a scene at the same time.Nik and I discuss every chapter and character we write, so finding the time to be online together can be a challenge sometimes. There have been times when one of us can’t be online when the other is writing and we’ve been frustrated by the need to ask questions but not wanting to stop the creative flow of writing. We work around it the best we can, but time zones and schedules are definitely the most challenging for me. The best part about having a writing partner? I have an absolute blast writing with Nik. She makes me laugh on an hourly basis. Nothing we begin turns out the way we originally think it will. Short works turn into novellas. Novellas turn into novels. She makes me want to do more and write more. To actually get paid for all of that is priceless.

Nikka: The most challenging part: Everything Eileen said. Time zones, dinner time, and technology usually are the only things that keep us from writing together.  The best part: It sounds so blasé to say writing with Eileen is fun, but the word really describes it. She’s funny and smart and we work as a good team to get the words out. Plus writing with her makes the sometimes lonely solo process of writing so much more interactive. You’re not stuck at your computer pounding the keys by yourself. You’re writing with someone else and you get to see new ways of looking at ideas or advancing the plot or someone telling you hey, that idea sucks when it’s needed or a thumbs up when it’s good.

Q: Can you give an example of how co-writing works for you two?

Eileen:  When we begin a new WIP, we’re often times each drawn to one particular character who we feel a connection with. Each of us will “adopt” that character and take over most of the writing for scenes from that character’s POV. However, even though we usually alternate working on the WIP based on which character drives the scene, we also help each other out if the scene is a particularly hard one.

Nikka:  An example of this came up while we were writing In The Raw. The scene followed a painful scene between Jamie and his father, which resulted in a fight between Ethan and Jamie. Even though the scene was from Ethan’s POV, one that I usually write, I kept getting writer’s block every time I tried to work on the scene. We knew we had to make Ethan’s remarks and attitude cruel to Jamie, and it killed me to write it. Eileen took over for a few days, cranked out some hateful dialogue, and we moved past it. Could we have still written a similar scene solo? Of course. But having a partner to help write it, to help move past it and get the words out, was priceless.

Eileen:  The same applies to scenes that seem effortless for Nikka to write. I love cooking and watching cooking shows, but the art of translating the techniques and nuances to the page is hard for me. On the other hand, Nikka takes a scene, blocks it out in her head and runs with it. The result is amazing. So usually, regardless of whose POV the scene is from, we never try to bully our way through a scene. We each have strengths in our writing and together, we just work.

The bottom line for us comes down to trust. You see online how many times trust is broken between people. At the core of our friendship and collaboration is a trust that we’ve built with each other since the first day we met. We not only bounce our collaborative ideas off each other, but we bounce our individual WIP ideas off each other, too. We help each other plot out tricky or problematic scenes and have beta’d for each other since the beginning of our writing careers. Trust isn’t easily come by but can so easily be destroyed. For us, it’s worked - the friendship, the collaboration, and the trust. And at the end of the day, we both know how incredibly rare our relationship is and treasure it immensely J


In the Raw

By Eileen Griffin and Nikka Michaels

Genre: M/M, Foodie Romance

Length: 85,000 Words

Series: In the Kitchen

Release Date: October 6, 2014

Publisher: Carina Press


If you can’t take the heat…

James Lassiter has had a crush on fellow culinary student Ethan Martin for three years, but has never had the guts to make a move. Putting himself out there is hard, especially when under the thumb–and wallet–of his overbearing parents. Now that bad boy chef Ethan–who is always vying with Jamie for best in class–is struggling with the pastry course, Jamie suddenly has a reason to reach out.

Ethan doesn’t mean to be an ass–okay, so mostly he does–but even though he’s secretly hot for Jamie, he sure as hell doesn’t want help with pastry. Ever since his dad walked out, Ethan has been the one to hold things together and he’s done fine on his own. Except that he can’t get his cake to rise.

Jamie could be the answer to what Ethan’s been missing his whole life–someone to depend on. But with the two competing for the same scholarship, things suddenly get too hot to handle. And if Jamie finds the strength to go for what he wants, he isn’t about to settle for what he needs.

I opened the door, shivering when a gust of wind swept through. I pulled my jacket tight around my body, sighing when I saw no cabs waiting at the curb. “Shit.” I could either call information or wait a few minutes for another to drive by. I leaned against the brick wall of the building to wait when I heard the bar’s door squeak open and shut again.
“You could have waited for me, you know?” Ethan’s annoyed voice as he approached had me wondering what I’d done now.
“No worries.” I shrugged, tired from the long day and the confusing mix of emotions hanging out with him seemed to bring. “I didn’t want to rush you because I was ready to leave.”
He stepped closer, his shoulders hunched as he reluctantly admitted, “I wanted to hang out with you. Not Summer or the guys. Just you.”
I stared at him. “What do you want from me, Ethan? Half the time I don’t know whether you hate me or want to be friends. Then you do something like defend me to my father, who incidentally thinks you’re the antichrist. Tell me what we’re doing here.”
Instead of launching into the verbal tirade I expected, a determined look crossed his face and he murmured, “Fuck it.”
He stepped closer and I tensed. As unpredictable as Ethan was, I wasn’t sure what he’d do. I let it out a surprised gasp when his mouth met mine. There was nothing gentle about it. Months of tension, fighting, flirting all igniting when he touched me. Not a romantic kiss by any means…it was bruising, rough, passionate, intense, all the same things I’d come to equate with Ethan Martin. My fingers curled in the fabric of his sweatshirt, tugging him closer as my eyes slammed shut.
Braced between the solidness of his body and the cold wall behind me, I felt my entire body heat. Ethan’s ravenous lips and desperate tongue claimed my mouth, tasting of beer and mint. He slid one hand up to cup the back of my neck, holding me captive as he braced himself against the wall. I kissed him back fiercely, our teeth knocking together with the force of it.
Sounds I didn’t even know I was capable of making left my mouth and I didn’t care we were in public where anyone could see us. I nipped his lip, sighing with pleasure when he moaned into my mouth. He might be an infuriatingly stubborn asshole at times but one thing was for certain: Ethan Martin could kiss. He broke away, breathing hard as he leaned his forehead against mine.
“Wow.” I fought for breath, a smile tugging at my lips. “For once we’re actually on the same page.” As soon as the words left my mouth, he pulled back. His expression changed from needy to terrified as he released me, his hands clenched into fists.
“I’m sorry.” He backed away, staring at my face like I’d punched him. “I’m really fucking sorry, Lassiter.”
I swallowed hard and took a deep breath, raising my hands as if I was soothing a spooked animal.
He yanked up his sweatshirt hood and took off, leaving me to stare after him in silence. What the hell had happened?


Carina Press:


Eileen Griffin lives in the southwest, but loves to travel and has spent many summers crossing Europe with nothing but a backpack on her back. She enjoys TexMex, lives for good wine, and has a certain penchant for purple unicorns. She loves reading all genres of books, but her current obsession is writing M/M romance. Her past published works include: Chasing Matt, a M/M novella co-authored with Nikka Michaels, Dinner For Two, a M/F romance novella, “Claiming Ayden”, a M/M shifter romance that is part of Evenight’s Alpha’s Claim Anthology: M/M Edition, and “Lost and Found”, a short story written for the M/M Romance Group’s Don’t Read in the Closet: Love’s Landscapes Event. Eileen is currently working on a new M/M series set in a Bed and Breakfast with Nikka Michaels, as well as several other projects both individual and co-authored.


Nikka Michaels lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest where she spends her time cooking, laughing and crafting romantic tales to satisfy her craving for HEAs with heat. A voracious reader, novice knitter and music lover she’s been known to multitask without breaking a sweat. She loves to read and write M/M romance but believes everyone deserves a love story. She currently has several releases out including, Chasing Matt, a M/M novella co-authored with Eileen Griffin, Christmas with Caden, a M/F romance novella from Cobblestone Press, “Waking up Wolf”, a M/M shifter romance in Evernight Publishing’s Alpha’s Claim: Manlove Edition anthology, and the MM series which includes, Mile High Service, Room Service and Lip Service Cobblestone Press’ Blue line. Lip Service, the sequel to Room Serviceand . She also has a short story, “His Assistant” in Evernight Publishing’s best sellingExecutive Assistant: Manlove Edition anthology.




Thursday 25 September 2014

Blog Tour and give-away: Sue Brown, Clare London and The 'With a Kick' Series

I’m delighted to welcome Sue Brown to ‘The Way She Writes’. She’s here to tell us all about the With A Kick Series and her upcoming release Hissed as a Newt as well as A Twist and Two Balls by Clare London.

Sue has generously offered a copy of Hissed as a Newt to one reader. Leave a comment with a contact email address below between now and midnight on Sunday. A winner will be picked, announced and contacted on Monday September 29.

“All guys do emotional just in different ways. I eat ice-cream, you get drunk in the gutter…”

What is the With A Kick series all about? Love in an ice-cream shop, but ice-cream for adults. I am not an ice-cream aficionado at all. Unlike chocolate, ice-cream isn’t my soul food, but the day I was given a sorbet with alcohol poured over it was the day I tasted a little bit of heaven. I babbled on about this shop to Clare London and we formed an idea for this series in her garden office. Clare created a wonderful relationship between a failed actor and a Turkish taxi driver, and I wrote a story about a clown, Stan the clown.
Sadly the shop in London no longer exists. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to return to Covent Garden to discover there was no more heaven in a tall glass. I wandered round and round the shops trying to find it, only to be severely disappointed. We needed our own shop. With A Kick is the place where love forms over glasses of naughty ice-cream. The men need comfort, ice-cream provides it, with a little extra kick of alcohol.

Hissed as a Newt (due out 29th September 2014

Blurb: A drunk clown rolling around in the gutter is not what David Wright expects to find as he walks to With A Kick, his favourite ice-cream shop. David has had a lousy day. A literary agent has crushed his dreams and all he wants is the consolation of alcoholic ice-cream. He’s about to walk away when he realises the clown has been dumped by his boyfriend. On a whim, David takes the clown into With A Kick before he gets arrested. Underneath the smeared make-up, he meets Stan, who has just discovered his boyfriend and best friend getting more than friendly. Over ice-cream, David and Stan discuss their problems and discover maybe they can help each other.


“Sorry about the delay. It got busy all of a sudden. Do you want another ice-cream?” Lee looked enquiringly at Stan who shook his head.
“Do you do beer?”
“Coffee,” Lee said and from the tone of his voice that was all Stan was going to get.
David ducked his head to hide his smile.
“What happened to giving the customer what they want?”
“We give them what they need. And you need coffee, water and sleep.” Lee stalked off leaving Stan staring after him, his mouth open.
“He cut me off—in an ice-cream shop.”
“Patrick wouldn’t be happy if you made a mess. Patrick’s the owner. He’s big. You can taste my ice cream if you need a shot of alcohol.”
“Are you sure little Hitler over there won’t have us thrown out?” Stan asked snidely.
“I’m willing to take the risk if you are. Here, this spoon is clean.” David pushed the spoon over. “Dig in.”
Stan hesitated then he took a mouthful and moaned. David was hard put not to fidget at the obscene sound. He was aware of Lee’s frown from the counter but he couldn’t bring himself to care too much.
“What is in this?”
“Peach schnapps over vanilla sorbet.”
“It’s an orgasm in a bowl.”
“Tastes better though.” David smirked at him.

A Twist and Two Balls by Clare London

Eduardo Mancini is going to be a star of the London stage and screen. Or that was the plan. His alter ego Eddy March hasn’t got further than the chorus and a bit part in a TV series. His parents aren’t supportive, his agent can’t place his particular skills, and he’s finding it hard to hang onto his young dreams. Things go from bad to worse when he’s late for an important audition, hasn’t got enough money to pay the taxi fare, and is chased across the streets of Soho by the irate driver.

Eddy reaches what he believes is sanctuary – With A Kick, a store where ice creams are blended with alcohol and imagination, and where his friends can help him. But Nuri the taxi driver is persistent in his steady pursuit, above and beyond the money he’s owed. Despite their very different characters and background, Eddy and Nuri’s relationship goes from a complete unknown to a wary balancing act. There are still mistakes to be made, and hurdles to clear. And both of them have to admit that their life so far hasn’t gone the way they planned.

But maybe being caught by Nuri was just what Eddy’s career needed – both for his job and his heart.

About the Author

Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn't following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact she hides so she can plot, and has become at ignoring the orders.

Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. The series was boring; the kissing was not. She may be late to the party, but she's made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

Come over and talk to Sue at
Her website can be found at

Monday 22 September 2014

To Celebrate the Release of The Butterfly King, an Interview with Edmond Manning

It is a pleasure and an honour to welcome Edmond Manning to my blog today. The latest title in his  ‘Lost and Founds’ series, the Butterfly King was released on September 20 and to celebrate the fact he was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

The questions sprang from the mind of my husband and I. Both questions and answers range from serious to ridiculous. I hope you’ll have as much fun reading this post as I had putting it all together.

The Questions

1.  Did you always want to write or did the urge take you by surprise?

I’ve been writing fiction since I was twenty but swear to god, I never really thought of myself as a writer. I always just kind of…wrote. People would ask me if I had hobbies and I’d say, “Writing fiction,” and they’d say, “Oh, you’re a writer.” I’d look at them in horror and say, “No, no. Not at all. It’s just a hobby.”

When I finished the first draft to King Perry, a book that spiralled out of me, dancing, spinning, laughing, out-of-control, utilizing literary techniques and a strong voice that left me dizzy and rewriting the same sentences fifteen times for the perfect nuanced meaning, I finally realized, “I’m a writer.”

That’s when I decided to seek publication.

2.  Are there authors who inspire you and if yes, who?

I grew up worshipping Charles Dickens. My dad loved the classics and he passed that love to me. But he also loved mysteries, and popular literature. He wasn’t a snob. So I grew up reading Dickens, Agatha Christie, and lots of stuff. I am greatly influenced by Armistead Maupin as well. After a decade of Dickens’ stuffy (and beautiful) writing, Maupin’s style was like fresh air. People spoke very casually and conversations didn’t always begin and end with a description of the room. It was very freeing. Those two are the biggest influences, I’d say.
As for a modern influence, Edward P. Jones who wrote The Known World. His stories break your heart and are written beautifully. I discovered a lot about “beautiful sentences” from his stories.

3.  Do you have any rituals associated with your writing process?

Hmmmm. Yes…but no. I need time away from the real world before I write. I can’t come home from work and start typing. It usually takes me 2-3 hours to lose myself before I can really focus on fiction. I might spend that time eating, cleaning house, walking, or some other solitary activity. Hanging out with friends and chatting on the phone do NOT count as “getting ready to write” time. So while I do not have any one ritual, I definitely do a combination of things to ‘get myself ready.’

I will say that it’s hard for me to write when the house is a mess. But I’ll write for a while, walk around the house and absently pick up three pair of pants left in the living room during the week, bring empty milk glasses to the kitchen from every room in the house, all while pondering the next sentence or how I’m going to make this character meet up with that character…and suddenly, the house is clean.

4.  Are you a linear writer – start, middle, end – or do you plot everything out first and then write scenes as they come to you?

Once I map out about 30% of the book, I sit down and write. For example, before I started writing King Perry I knew the story’s climax would involve a baby duck. But when I sat down to write I had no idea where Vin and Perry would find one. Would they drag it around with them all weekend? How does it get where it needs to go? When I began typing the words to Chapter One I thought, “How the hell is this gonna work out?” I had also written most of the final climax by that point.

Despite my love of planning ahead, I also I love the spontaneity of writing. Character details and specific sentences form in gorgeous surprise right before my eyes. Yes, I plan ahead for major milestones and some key sentences, but a lot of what I write just pours out when I have made my heart soft and open. Some of my favorite details in the book were surprises until I found myself typing the words.

To me, writing this way is like decorating a Christmas tree. You put on the lights (major plot points) and the garland (who you think this character is). But when it comes to hanging individual icicles and ornaments, you don’t know all the lovely combinations you’ll accidentally create. I learned things about King Mai I did not know at the start of the book. Prism ornament next to an orange light—perfect. The cute red ball next to the blue light—nice!  Silver icicle dangling just perfectly to glimmer the light from both. It’s beautiful when the tree shines in the dark, decorated with both forethought and spontaneity.

5.  Do you ever find plot twists in your dreams?

No, which is surprising. I dream a lot. I dream some wacky shit. I’ve always dreamt a large number of dreams every night, ever since I was a wee bairn. (That was for Dermot.) My dreams never directly fuel my writing…but I wouldn’t be surprised if my insane dream life has influenced my personality and how I think in immeasurable ways. A review once said, “I don’t understand how he can think up these stories…” I bet that’s my crazy dream life’s influence. Insane plots feels very natural to me.

6.  Do your stories ever go down paths you hadn’t intended?

Oh, always. I always find myself fascinated by where these stories go.I write the beginnings, I write the ends, and trust the middle will work itself out. And I have no idea what’s going to happen to make it work out. I just…trust it will.

For example, when writing King Mai, (SPOILER ALERT) I started writing the Saturday morning chapter and discovered (quite a surprise to me) that the main character, Mai Kearns, quit his King Weekend. Vin pushed him too far. Even as my fingers were flying along the keyboard, I kept thinking to myself, ‘Well, now what? How the hell am I going to fix this?’

I wrote the whole chapter without knowing how Mai would rejoin his King Weekend. I knew something spectacular and life-changing would have to happen for Mai to ‘unquit,’ but…what? I think it worked out great in the end, but for a while, I was a little panicked.

7.  Is it true anyone who writes a bad review about your books gets turned into a tree sculpture and put in your garden?

Hahahaha…no.Of course not. *leans forward and grits teeth* Because nobody…nobody writes a bad review about me.
All intimidation aside, I get my lumps in reviews like other authors. One person said she’d “rather chew off her own arm” than read the rest of King Perry. Ouch! I’ve tried chewing off my own arm. It’s not easy.
But if I *did* try to turn someone into a tree monster, I bet they’d look like this: 

8.  Is it true the cat association of America has put you on their most wanted list?

9.  Have you ever considered writing a book called ‘One Hundred and One Things to do With a Cantaloupe’?

No. That would be ridiculous. However, I have considered writing these book titles:
·         Cantaloupes: Chaucer’s Dirty Little Secret
·         The Muskiest Melon: How Peach-Colored Fruit Won World War I.
·         Sweet Cantaloupe, Your Rind Blows My Mind
·         Cantaloupe Sex:  How Much Lovin’ Can Happen Between Man and Fruit?
·         Cantaloupes:  Rub It. Stroke It, Call Me Maybe
·         Cantaloupes Sex II: The Secret is The Juice
·         Unfair Marriage Laws:  Can’t Marry Your Strawberries and You Cantaloupe.

10.        Have you ever considered setting a ‘Lost and Founds’ book in Ireland? (Just trying to get you to come and visit).

I’m going to answer that question seriously, so ha! Yes, I have. My heritage is predominantly Irish, so, an Irish setting appeals. A way of honoring the people I came from. We are Donahues, Connors, and more. When I was a teenager, my mom showed me the box my great-grandfather used when he came from Ireland to America. You can tell he used a young sapling tree as a pliant wood to nail the box together. The sapling had once been soft enough to bend around the hard corners. Touching the wood that was once a tree in Ireland, meant something.

The problem as I see it, is each of the king books has to honor the man, the experience, the life he leads before and after the King Weekend. I’d need to spend some time in Ireland.

In 2013, I moved to New York City for a month to research The Butterfly King. One day toward the end of my stay, I realized I “got it.” I got whatever it was I needed to write a love story about New York. Not just characters in New York, but a real love for New York itself and appreciation for the character of its people. After three weeks of wandering around, sight-seeing, shopping for groceries and toilet paper, working every day, takin the subway everywhere, I GOT IT. I can’t even define what that means.

I was lucky it only took a month in New York (a little over three weeks, really). Maybe other writers are good enough they can do it without visiting a place and falling in love with it a little. I dunno.

I guess my point is, I may have to move into your home for as long as a year.

The Butterfly King

The blurb:

Terrance Altham doesn’t know why he’s been arrested. He’s committed no crime and the cops aren’t talking. Sadly, the man sharing his holding cell talks too much. Known only as Ghost, he is a young grifter, apparently familiar enough with this police station to convince Terrance a break out is possible, and pushy enough to leave Terrance no choice but to follow Ghost into the underbelly of New York City.

Terrified by the unjust imprisonment and the possibility of a life behind bars, Terrance searches for proof of his innocence while Ghost seeks the elusive Butterfly King. But neither man seems in control of the weekend’s direction and the consequences of missteps are life-changing. As Ghost’s manipulations come to an explosive head, each man must decide amid danger and street violence what kind of man will triumph, lost or found?

Narrator Vin Vanbly (a.k.a Ghost) returns in the most revealing King Weekend yet, where he faces the dark side of his dangerous manipulations, and learns mistakes can be deadly. Vin must confront sinister dealings from his past—and a future promising disaster—as he waltzes Terrance across Manhattan in spring, searching for the elusive and charismatic, Butterfly King.

Buy link:


Edmond Manning is the author of romance series, The Lost and Founds. The first three books in this series include King Perry, King Mai (a Lambda Literary finalist 2014), and most recently,The Butterfly King. Feel free to say hello at