Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's L.A. Witt's Birthday, so you get to win books!

Well, okay, not like my actual birthday, but close enough. November 30, 2009 was the day I released my first book as L.A. Witt.  I should've done something for the 5-year mark, but it completely slipped my mind last year because I have the attention span of a cracked out squirrel.

But I didn't forget this year!

So here's what we're gonna do. I'm gonna give away some signed paperbacks. To win, y'all are going to jump into the Thunderdome, grab some chainsaws and---

What? What do you mean there's no Thunderdome?

*sigh* Y'know, I'm really getting tired of all my cool stuff getting hung up in customs.


Okay, so with no Thunderdome, we're going to play a game of:

L.A. Witt Fact or Crap

The rules, they are simple:
I will say ten things. Two of those things are crap.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify the LIES I've told below, and call me out in the comment section.

A total of ten signed paperbacks, 
five ebooks, and two $25 Amazon gift cards.

So how the heck do you win? 
The first five commentators to get ONE answer correct will win an ebook of their choice from my backlist.
The first six commenters to get BOTH answers correct will win a signed paperback of their choice from my backlist. 

Out of everyone who gets BOTH answers correct, I will draw two winners who will receive TWO signed paperbacks of their choice plus a $25 Amazon gift card.

Contest closes on December 3rd at midnight GMT. Answers posted after that time will be disregarded.Additional rules are below.

Let the games begin!

(note a couple of revisions have been made because Facebook has some slightly inaccurate details - if you commented prior to the revisions, you may resubmit your answers, and your original submission time will be used) 
  1. Though my career started in 2009, I didn't attend a convention or meet any other authors until 2012 because I had been living overseas. (for clarification: I started writing full-time in 2008, was published in 2009 - this part of the fact is not crap)
  2. Many of my books are set in my hometown, Seattle, but I haven't lived there since 2003. (for clarification: I just realized Facebook says I lived in Redmond, WA, in 2014 - I was staying there temporarily while moving to Spain, and changed my location so friends/family knew I was in town.)
  3. Prior to becoming an author, I sold jewelry, worked as a pro photographer, ran a medical equipment repair shop, and edited porn.
  4. Wilde's, the club at heart of the Distance Between Us/Wilde's series, is based on a real night club in Seattle.
  5. The Distance Between Us, Rules of Engagement, and The Given & The Taken were meant to be standalones, but ended up with sequels. 
  6. With Aleksandr Voinov's permission and guidance, I am writing a sequel to his Dark Soul series.
  7. I have written two novels that contain no on-screen sex - The Left Hand of Calvus and Lead Me Not
  8. Link and Zelda, the quirky Maine Coon cats from the Bluewater Bay series, are based on my own cats, Midget and Fluffy.
  9. The first time I ever saw one of my books in a brick & mortar bookstore was at Foyle's in London, and the book was Covet Thy Neighbor.
  10. I've started doing my own cover art, and made the covers for Wireless and Broken Blades.
Well....which two "facts" are crap? Answer in the comments and win!


To qualify, your comment must include your name, an e-mail address, and your guesses. I will contact winners after the contest closes. You have 72 hours to reply, or prizes are forfeit.

Contest is not restricted to the US.

Paperbacks are subject to availability. Please note that if I don't have the book on hand, it has to be shipped to me in Spain, which can add a delay of 1-2 weeks.

Amazon gift card winners may opt for iTunes gift cards as a substitute.

Winners chosen by random draw will be drawn by the author. Winners chosen by order of posting will be chosen based on the order comments appear on the blog.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

2016 is Just Around the Corner - How Did That Happen?

Yet another year is whizzing by, and in a few days, it'll be December. Which means it's almost 2016. Holy Ned, am I right?

So, it's time for another "here's what's in the offing" post.

My SFF pen name Lori A. Witt and horror pen name Diana Fyre both have titles in the works for mid-late 2016, but those will be announced when they're more concrete.

Ann Gallagher will be expanding into Young Adult and asexual romances this year. There is another inspirational romance in the works as well, but those details will come later. Confirmed for mid-2016 from Riptide Publishing is the tentatively titled All The Wrong Places, an asexual romance set in Bluewater Bay.

As Lauren Gallagher, I'm making a few adjustments in 2016. Most notably, I probably won't be writing hetero romances anymore. If an idea comes along, I'll certainly run with it, but it has become clearer and clearer over the past year that my heart belongs to LGBT romances. So for all intents and purposes, I'm retiring from M/F romance, and as Lauren, focusing on lesbian and bisexual.

Lauren has two releases in the near future: 
  • December 14: Stuck Landing, Riptide Publishing (The first lesbian book in the Bluewater Bay series)
  • February 16: The Best Laid Plans, Samhain Publishing (Bisexual menage)

 As always, L.A. Witt is and will continue to be my busiest name. There are loads of projects in the works, both on my own and with various co-writers/collaborators, so for the most part, those will be announced as they come.

Here are L.A. Witt's confirmed releases for 2015-2016 (dates subject to change):
  • December 15: Not Safe For Work, Samhain Publishing (BDSM office romance)
  • January 3: If The Seas Catch Fire, self-published (Erotic suspense)
  • February 15: Broken Blades, co-written with Aleksandr Voinov, self-published (WWII romance)
  • April 12: To Live Again, Samhain Publishing (Wilde's series)
  • July: Hiatus, Samhain Publishing (Contemporary menage)

There are definitely more books in the works for all five of my names, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Guest Post: Alaina Drake

Today, debut author Alaina Drake is visiting my blog to talk about her new release, Forbidden Touch, available now from Cariad Romances.

Alaina, take it away!

If You Give a Writer a Plot Bunny…

I was knee-deep in the twentieth chapter of my first book. I knew I was getting close to the end, and I was praying to the God of Good Endings that she’d help me come up with a satisfying closure for Beckett and Hannah’s journey.

But no matter how much brainstorming I did, no matter how many candy bars I ate or Cokes I drank at one a.m., I couldn’t figure out what was supposed to happen. And that terrible panic set in.

So, I took a break from writing and started reading again. I read a book a night, consumed them really. I made notes in the margins and at the end of the books. Was the ending satisfying to me? Why or why not?

Then I perused my reading journal where I had reflected on over five hundred erotic novels I’d read over the last three years. I made a list of the top ten satisfying endings in erotic romance. I tried to find a common trend among my favorite endings, but it still eluded me.

Then one day I was sitting in a rocking chair eating crackers with my toddler while we read the famous series of books by Laura Numeroff that starts with “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” It’s known as a “circular tale,” because giving the mouse a cookie sets off a chain of events that ends in the mouse requesting….wait for it…a cookie.

My daughter laughed every time the story ended where it began, and I had to admit there was a sort of lovely satisfaction I had as a reader when the story rounded out on the final page. How else could that story have ended? I could list a dozen ways that wouldn’t be as satisfying.

And that’s when I had that choir-singing, bells-ringing, AHA! moment.

Some synapse in my brain combined my erotic romance investigation to this children’s book, which lead me to a crucial conclusion: the happily-ever-after wasn’t enough for my story.

Then I had to answer a difficult series of questions: If the happily-ever-after isn’t enough, what is enough? What is missing for it to be satisfying?

Almost all readers of romance know that the couple will most likely get their happy ending. We know they’ll overcome their troubled pasts. We know their love will heal their scars. We know the terrible car crash or the diagnosis of cancer will be wiped away, and they will ride off into the sunset, holding hands and smiling into each other’s glistening eyes.

Maybe I’m too cynical here, or maybe I’ve just read too many romances, but for whatever the reason, I realized that the whispered “I love you’s” on the final pages weren’t “doing it” for me anymore. I closed those books with a scowl and a sigh. “It had so much potential,” I’d write in my journal. Despite the characters getting their happy ending, I needed more, but what exactly I needed, I couldn’t articulate.

So, I returned to my list of top ten satisfying endings, and I noticed a trend: all of them had some sort of circular plot. In the end, there was a sense of returning to the beginning. The story was more of a reflection on the journey than it was preoccupied with tying the neat bows on the happily-ever-after.

In fact, there were more loose ends than neat bows.

Maybe an example will help. One of my favorite endings in erotic fiction is in Tiffany Reisz’s The Mistress. The last line has Soren, the male lead, laughing. An astute reader will remember that Nora, the female lead, made an earlier comment about a book ending in Soren laughing. The multiple textual layers come together to give it the extra “zing” that makes me feel satisfied despite the fact that a not-so-satisfying secret is hinted at in the final pages. Without that final line, I think I would have hated the ending. In fact, at first I really did. I felt like getting on Twitter and telling Ms. Reisz I was so furious with her. But, thankfully, it was somewhere between 2 am and sunrise, so I went to bed instead. In the coming days, I learned to love the ending, not only because of the final line but because it challenged me to get past the traditional happily-ever-after.

And, really, this idea of a circular storytelling is nothing new…at least to other cultures. In my experience as an English professor, I had many traditional and non-traditional students in my class. Inevitably, every semester, I had to assign that dreaded narrative essay where the students told a story about something that affected them. (Trust me, I’ve read more stories about dying grandmothers than I ever wanted.) Many of the traditional students scored high on the assignment because it met the college’s rubric that required a clear, chronological progression through the story. Yet, many of the other students from other cultures would score lower because many other culture’s story-telling techniques are circular rather than linear. I, ironically, often found their stories the most interesting, despite their “lower” scores.

So, the night after I had my moment of enlightenment on the rocking chair, I armed myself with this new knowledge. I wrote the final chapters so quickly they practically wrote themselves. I realized that the ending of my novel needed to be circular for me to be satisfied. The happily-ever-after, while emotionally satisfying on some level, simply wasn’t enough on its own.

Without even knowing it, I had left myself bread crumbs to follow throughout the book that allowed for the circular nature of the ending. I had started with a plot bunny.

Which made me want some compelling characters.

Which made me ask for some snappy dialogue to go with them.

And because I fell in love with them, I asked for a setting to put them in.

And because on that mountaintop setting they fell in love with each other, I needed to give them a satisfying ending…

Which, of course, required me to return to the little, hopping plot bunny that started it all.

What about you readers and writers? What makes for a satisfying ending for you? Is a happily-ever-after enough? What are some of your favorite endings? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Teaser from Forbidden Touch:

Scurrying around the room, I stuffed my clothes and toiletries in my suitcase, slid on my flip-flops, and opened the door. When I looked back, Beckett silently watched me leave without an ounce of regret, no inkling to follow and make things right.
The door slammed behind me, and the elevator dinged, ready to take me to the first floor. I bolted outside as fast as I could with my rolling luggage. My body registered the brisk fall air for an instant. Its coolness crystallized the beads of sweat on my skin. I found and started my car with tears rolling down my cheeks and dripping off my jaw.
Although I couldn’t remember putting the car in drive or turning on my headlights, there was no question where my car was heading. There was only one place that could sew me back together.
I retreated to my parents’ house to lick the wounds I got and grieve the ones I gave.


Hannah Black saunters into the bar in her four-inch stilettos, intent on breaking her recent streak of bad dates and even worse sex. What she finds instead is sizzling hot doctor Beckett Stanton - but she doesn’t realize that he is the last man she should have chosen for her one night fling. While their views of sex and love polarize them, the attraction between them doesn’t allow either to turn away. The two play a dangerous game that tests both of their resolves, and when Hannah is given the chance to satisfy her needs, she is forced to make a decision - because the man with whom she wanted a no-strings-attached fling tugs at her heart in ways she never anticipated.

Buy Link: Amazon

You can find Alaina on Twitter and Facebook.

The Forbidden Touch Blog Tour continues...


Alaina Drake discovered her love of writing in the fourth grade when she won her first young author writing contest. After attaining a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English Literature, she set out to write novels that combine her two loves: erotic romance and classical literature. She has taught literature and writing at both the high school and college levels, and when she’s not writing, you’ll find her watching sports, baking cookies, and, of course, reading way past midnight. She is an avid rock climber and former ballerina, and she finds a lot of connection between the two activities despite their obvious differences. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and daughter. She loves to interact with her fans on Twitter, Facebook, and on her website where she blogs about writing, reading, and the everyday joys of motherhood.