Teach Me


Summer is drawing to a close (and all the moms say HALLELLUJAH! :P ). I gave myself the gift of more reading time and just generally more time off this summer. We need that time, and our brains definitely need that time! I’d love to know what you read or watched this summer. Tell me your favorite romance novel from your TBR pile this summer OR tell me what show you binge watched this summer that you really loved. (Links welcome if you want to make it easy for fellow readers to find your faves!)

* * * I’ll choose a winner on Friday, September 28thto win a $10 Amazon gift card and a signed paperback copy of TEACH ME! * * *

Come on over to my Facebook page for a chance to win!

(Likes and shares with your romance-loving friends appreciated but not required!)

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Naughty Hotties Memorial Weekend Blog Hop!

NGWN+mem+day+event+2015 Happy holiday weekend! If you're visiting, you're probably traveling along the Nice Girls Writing Naughty blog hop, right? Well, I definitely have a hunk to share with you, my hero from TRUST ME, Jack.

ella sheridan, author, writer, romance author, contemporary romance, erotic romance, romantic suspense, trust me, southern nights series, romance seriesJack is as alpha as they come, but his woman, Maddie, is more than his match. At the end of TRUST ME, they've only known each other a few weeks, but Jack is certain they're meant to be together.

So what does he do? At a weekend bonfire, he waits until their guests say good night, then convinces Maddie to agree to whatever he asks. ;)

I've included the scene below for your Memorial Weekend enjoyment. Comment on this blog (and the others in the blog hop) for a chance at the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card.

And I'll also choose one lucky commenter to receive their very own copy of TRUST ME so you can read the rest of Jack and Maddie's gripping story. Don't miss out! Be sure and comment.

* * *

She was beautiful in the moonlight, the fire’s faint glow flickering over her skin. Jack couldn’t breathe, looking at her. Knowing she belonged to him. Knowing she’d chosen to stay instead of running, to trust him when everything in her world had taught her that trust meant pain. He reached out, tugging the hem of her tee up to allow his lips access to the smooth skin of her stomach.

“What is that for?” she asked.

“What do you think?” He nipped her in a particularly ticklish spot, then ran kisses over the place where Reed’s bullet had left such a horrible bruise. She’d healed, but he’d never forget it. He never wanted to see her in pain again. He wanted to love her, pleasure her. Right now.

But there was something else he had to do first.

For once words escaped him. He dug in his pants pocket, gripping the jewelers’ box tight before pulling it out for Maddie to see, only she wasn’t looking at him, so he placed the box carefully on her breastbone, right between her perfect mounds. Then he went back to kissing her.

“What’s this?”

He couldn’t answer; he was too afraid his voice would crack.

Maddie stared at him for a long moment. When he still didn’t speak, she sat up, the velvet-covered square in her hand. He held his breath when she opened the lid.

“Oh Jack.”

He sat up too.

Inside, nestled on a satiny white pillow, lay a narrow gold ring. Chocolate diamonds nestled in clusters along the band, formed into small rosettes that sparkled in the moonlight. His throat got tight as the same chocolate sparkles stared up at him from her eyes.

“I know it’s too soon to get engaged, but I wanted—”

But Maddie was already shaking her head. “You’re always worried about too soon, you jackass. Who cares about too soon? Worry about what you want instead.” She dug the ring from the box and slid it onto her left ring finger. “It’s beautiful.”

“You’re beautiful.” And his ring on her finger… His breath got choppy. “Strip for me,” he said. Without waiting for an answer, he unzipped his jeans, the relief bringing a sigh to his lips. He pushed the stiff material down and lay back to watch as Maddie removed her clothes one piece at a time. The little tease was making him wait. Only when he circled his stiff erection and pumped roughly did she hurry up.

“Did you need something?” she asked teasingly.

He growled as she got to her knees, her breasts bobbing in the moonlight. “You on my dick.”

“Aren’t you charming.”

“Always.” He gripped her by the waist and tugged her atop him. Maddie spread her legs, and hot liquid settled against his needy shaft. They groaned together.

Jack swore his voice went so rough it scratched his vocal cords. “I want you, Maddie.”

“You’ve got me.” She rocked atop him, coating him in her sweet cream.


Maddie went still. She stared down at him for a long time, her eyes too dark to read in the dim light. Jack held his breath. Finally she leaned forward, her full breasts coming to rest on his chest, her lips a whisper away from his. “Forever, Jack.” She kissed him. “Forever.”

* * *

Remember, your comment is your key to two great prizes this weekend! And be sure to return to the Nice Girls Writing Naughty blog to continue along the blog hop for more great prizes.

TRUST ME is available at the following retailers if you'd like a copy of your own:






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Insta-Love, Virginity, and Other Wonders

Authors can't get away from reviews. Much as we try to avoid them, there are those times when you must go look at your book page, and there they are, staring you in the face. And I have to admit, readers come from varying backgrounds and interests and personal opinions and, therefore, have differing ideas about books they read -- as it should be. But I've noticed a disturbing trend that, for me, is a bit sad. Some readers can no longer suspend disbelief, even when it's necessary, while enjoying a book.

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Suspension of disbelief is a concept we are most often taught in high school lit classes. There are a lot of readers who love romance out there, and many of them understand that the romance genre is not, for the most part, reality. Even so, when it comes to parts of the story that are realistic, they label it fantasy and claim it ruins the book for them. It's sad that, instead of widening our world as we claim over the past hundred years, we've actually narrowed it in many ways, seeing not the many possibilities of how people come to love, marry, live, and think, but how WE love, marry, live, and think -- and believe no one else's experience is valid. But it is. Our world is made up of many possibilities, including ones you might think are fantasy.

Like insta-love.

I kinda get a chuckle over this when I see it in reviews. "I hate that insta-love stuff. It's so fake!" Really? I have to admit, I didn't come to love in an instant; it took me a while to realize that my husband was "the one." But he knew the day he met me. I've seen posts on Facebook of readers commenting that not only did they fall in love immediately, but they married shortly after (like weeks), often to the dismay of those around them. And when someone trots that out, they most often end with "and we're still together today." Didn't happen to me that way, but it HAS HAPPENED. It's not only in fairy tales that you see someone or speak to someone and know in an instant they are the one for you. Love doesn't come with a strict timeline, thank you very much!

Here's the other reality of romance and "insta-love": readers say they don't want two characters to just fall instantly into love at first sight with each other, but no editor in their right mind is going to buy a book featuring a long, drawn-out courtship (except maybe a historical). Time is necessarily compressed in books, just like they are on TV.file0002050295530 Do you think we can really get DNA results in real life as fast as they do on CSI? Heck, no! Do you want to follow the lab techs as they go about their daily business for the weeks it takes to get that info in -- and have the suspect disappear in the meantime? Uh, no, you don't want to see that. Time is compressed so that you, the watcher (or reader) will stick with the story. That's the reality of the entertainment industry today -- what we the entertainees have demanded. It's just how it is.

And then there's the dreaded virginity question...

I'm not sure what it is that people have against virginity. It's almost reverse peer pressure: "Your heroine MUST NOT be a virgin; it's unrealistic!" And God forbid your hero be a virgin, because, ya know, men cannot possibly control the urge to have sex, even if they're raised in monstrous conditions with severe psychological scars (the same goes for women). That's sarcasm, by the way -- I firmly believe virginity is a reality for everyone on the planet, and that the first time comes at its own pace for each and every person, not on a timeline. Jess, in Teach Me, is a virgin. So many reviewers complained about me "trotting out the virgin card." But there was a very good reason why Jess was a virgin, and here it is:

SONY DSCIt fit who she was.

Why? Jess was and is incredibly shy; it's the very first thing Conlan notices about her aside from her eyes. That's why he equates her to a doe. Hesitant, beautiful, SHY. If you aren't shy, maybe you can't understand, but I AM SHY, and that attribute kept me from being very forward as a teen. I didn't get into a lot of parties and other situations that might've led to sex. When you have body issues or are unsure of yourself, you are often left in the background. That's reality. Does that mean shy people never lose their virginity in high school or college? No, but it can go either way.

But that's not all. Jess did meet and start to date in college. She met Brit, her very first "serious boyfriend." College isn't really that old, around age twenty, give or take, for most of us? Brit was helping Jess through a tough situation with her parents' death, and I don't know about you, but if my parents just died and I was in college and I was trying to figure out life from that point on, having sex for the first time might be a bit of a stretchy decision for me at the moment. Not only that, but though she was grieving and uncertain (and SHY, don't forget shy!), Jess felt that something was off about her feelings for Brit and the way he treated her. Given that we find out later he might've had something to do with her parents' deaths, we can intimate that his behavior at that time might've been a bit on the stalkerish side already. Lots of red flags there.

Now, we preach that women should listen to their instincts and not sleep with someone just because they feel it's expected, but I guess some people don't really believe that. They felt like surely in and amid all this turmoil, Jess should've had sex at some point, right? WRONG. She did what she was supposed to: she listened to what her mind and her heart and her body were telling her and said no. And almost died for it.

Surely then she had sex, right?


Yeah, I think if my first and only boyfriend beat me up because I wouldn't have sex with him, I'd run right out and find the next willing partner and... Well, you get the idea. Sarcasm aside, maybe some readers haven't been through a traumatic experience, but I know what it's like to face a terrible situation and then try to rebuild your life on the other side. It doesn't work that way. It takes time, and it takes trust, and Jess finally found that in Conlan. Why is that so hard to find realistic?

A fellow author (whom I love!), Sandra Owens, wrote the K2 series featuring a hero in Someone Like Her who was a virgin. That point of the story caused the biggest issue in reviews: no man who was a SEAL would still be a virgin! Not only that, but the reason he was still a virgin was flimsy at best -- his mother was a prostitute who abused him and his sister, and surely no such woman could ever be even slightly realistic. (Sarcasm again...) And yet that entire part of the story was based in a true life story, Sandra's father's story. That was his life she was writing about in many ways, and yes, it was true. But for whatever reasons, some reviewers felt it was "unrealistic."

I've written before about the writing advice "write what you know" and how we might not be able to experience dying of cancer, but we can relate to the emotions. As a reader, I might not have been a SEAL and decided to remain a virgin, but I can understand the reasoning. I can see the legitimate motivation. I can see someone else's experience -- that wasn't anything remotely like mine -- and empathize with it. That seems to be something some people have lost. I've never seen genocide, but I know it happens. I've never had sex before marriage, but I know it happens, and that it's a valid experience for many people. My own experience is different, for whatever reason, but no less valid. Maybe it's time to bring that tolerance we all talk about to the world of fiction, of romance, and start seeing each story as the adventure it is, the chance to step into someone else's shoes and experience something we ourselves haven't, not just a homogenized plot that reads as exciting as milk by the tenth incarnation.

What do you think? Do you feel some things are just too off-the-wall to believe? Can you suspend disbelief if the author motivates a character's choices well enough? I'd love to know which side of this idea you fall into!


Happy Valentine's Day!

I don't care what they say about commercialism -- why diss a holiday that celebrates love? Every day should be Valentine's Day in the world of romance! This Valentine's Day is particularly special, however, because my newsletter is set to go out on Sunday, and I've included a very special Valentine's Day celebration: an exclusive scene cut from TEACH ME and now shared only with my newsletter subscribers.


I can't wait to share this sweet, hot, totally erotic scene with you! If you aren't on my mailing list, be sure to SIGN UP HERE before Sunday or risk missing out on this glimpse into Con and Jess's relationship. :)


Where in the World Is Ella? ~ Part 2

We continue my trip around the blogging world with a few more visits this week. Check it out -- and don't forget, some giveaways are still open! Christmas-003Babbling About Books

Katiebabs is graciously hosting me on November 7th to discuss my take on the "write what you know" mantra for writers. You get to see how much of Teach Me really is "what I know." :)

BlogButton_zpsf8c811b9Ramblings from this Chick

I visited RftC to talk about why we love tough-guy heroes. Soldiers (like Conlan), cops, firefighters, MMA fighters...why do these tough heroes make us weak in the knees?

RftC is also hosting a giveaway, a copy of Dirty Little Secret and Naughty Little Christmas -- it's two books for one entry! :) Giveaway ends November 14th, so check it out ASAP.

JRSHeaderJust Romantic Suspense

On Just Romantic Suspense, I'm talking villains instead of heroes. What makes a good villain? What makes my villains perfect to hate?

Where in the World Is Ella? ~ Part 1

I began a blog tour last week for the release of Teach Me. It's been so much fun writing about the things I've learned and my thoughts on writing and reading, heroines and sexy, sexy heroes. You can click over to any of these blogs and take a look at what I had to say. Some of them still have open giveaways too! Teach-Me-Banner-800x438Reading Cafe

The Reading Cafe hosted me for a guest post, "Five Things I Learned While Writing Teach Me." Julie B. kindly reviewed the book as well, so check out her thoughts on Conlan and Jess. This giveaway is open until Tuesday, November 4th!

Guest-Post-FinalRiverina Romantics

This was a fun one! I did a little guest post called "Love on the Run," where I discussed the disadvantages of, ahem, sexy times while the villain is in pursuit. ;)

youRomance Junkies

I gave an interview to Romance Junkies that, if not a tell-all, does reveal some interesting things about me, including what my "perfect" hero is like and the place I'd most like to be whisked away to...

logo1Savvy Authors

I'm over at Savvy Authors talking about the Power of Perseverance, how important it is to keep going, keep pushing when you have a story you need to tell.

letSwept Away By Romance

Swept Away is hosting me TODAY, Monday November 3rd, to talk about how absolutely crazy I am. No kidding. ;) Hop on over and have your fears for me confirmed, lol!

Where To Next?

Stay tuned! Next week I'll have a couple more visits to share, and maybe some more giveaways. Don't miss it!

Teach Me Release Day Dance Par-tay!!!

Happy release day to my book baby, Teach Me! Conlan and Jess deserve their time in the light, and I'm so happy that time is finally here. Normally, release day is party day here on the blog. Readers gather round while I go on ad nauseum spin tales of the songs that inspired the book and the characters and the emotions of my latest story. But on this release day, with Teach Me, I'm doing something different: a live virtual dance party on Facebook!

PartyAnnouncementTonight, Tuesday October 28th, from 8:00-10:00 Eastern, I will be joined by a host of other authors at the Teach Me Release Day Dance Par-tay! Come join us, hear about the songs that inspired our books, share some songs you enjoy with our "Name Your Song" game, and win prizes as we dance ourselves silly to celebrate the release of Teach Me!

Click here to attend!

And if you can't stop by, I still want to show my appreciation for my wonderful readers with a special "Reader Appreciation" sale this week. Teach Me is available at all retailers for $.99 this week only! Click one of the links below to get your copy asap -- and ENJOY!

Amazon All Romance Ebooks Kobo Barnes & Noble

~ Ella

TEACH ME Cover Reveal!

Almost seven years ago, the niggling of an idea entered my mind, the start of a story featuring a girl much like me (when I was younger) and a man who was everything that girl could possibly want. That story, the first novel I ever finished, ultimately became the opening book in my trilogy, Southern Nights. And now, all these years later, TEACH ME is almost ready for release. One month from today, this book that's been my baby, more so than any other I've written, will be unleashed on the world! Despite the three books I've published in the past year, this feels like my very first release, and in a way it is -- it's my first indie-published book. I've taken such pride in perfecting this story and presenting you with the very best novel I can. I can't wait for you readers to get your hot little hands on it! You can even preorder the book beginning today (links below), but first, I have a surprise for you...

The first glimpse of TEACH ME's cover!

ella sheridan, author, writer, romance author, romantic suspense, erotic romance, contemporary romance, Teach Me, Southern NightsI can't begin to express the emotion that filled me the first time I saw the completed cover. It's just...amazing. And I've had to keep it under wraps since the spring! (Can you say nail-biting? So glad that's over! :) )

Want to know more? How about the blurb for the book?

A woman determined to heal…

Shy researcher Jess Kingston spent the last eight weeks recovering from her ex-boyfriend’s brutal attack. Body healed, she’s ready to put her life back together—except her ex isn’t ready to let go. She won’t cower in a corner while Brit tortures her, but she’s powerless to fight back.

A man determined to resist…

Ex-military security specialist Conlan James avoids commitment like the plague. His job, his Harley, and the occasional one-night stand are all he needs, until the day he rescues Jess from a tense situation and realizes he can’t get her off his mind. He can teach her to protect herself, but protecting his heart is another matter.

A madman determined to win…

As the deadly game of cat-and-mouse with Brit heats up, so does the hunger between Con and Jess. Safety might be found in numbers, but in bed, all bets are off—and the wrong move could lead to heartbreak. Or death.

TEACH ME will be available in e-book and print beginning October 28th (my first print book -- squeeee!). But guess what? You don't have to remember a date a month from now. TEACH ME is already available for preorder! Just click on the link for your favorite e-retailer below and pick up your copy now, for ONLY $.99!!!




Pick up your copy today, and have it delivered as soon as it goes live! Still not sure? How about an excerpt? Okay, you twisted my arm... :)

~ ~ ~ * ~ ~ ~

What the hell are you doing here?

This wasn’t the first time in the last five minutes that Conlan had asked himself the same question. Maybe if he had an answer, the revolving door in his brain would stop spinning, but that didn’t seem likely. Not anytime soon. Not with the beautiful brunette he’d come to see sitting close enough that, if he let himself look, he could detect the light dusting of freckles across her nose. But he wasn’t looking, and he shouldn’t be here, so how had he ended up standing in line behind the thirtysomething latte league? It sure as hell wasn’t for the coffee.

Legs braced wide, he shifted from one hip to the other, the creak of his motorcycle chaps reminding him he could be enjoying a few extra minutes on the Harley before work instead of spending that precious time here, mooning over a woman. Doe Eyes. The first time he’d seen her all those months ago, he’d thought her eyes reminded him of sweet Georgia pecans and skittish does. The name stuck, as had the memory of her eyes—and a hundred other glimpses he shouldn’t have taken.

Another name called, another latte dispensed, another shuffle forward.

He hadn’t seen those eyes in eight weeks, and yet still he’d shown up every Monday, like clockwork, hoping for one more glimpse and calling himself an idiot. Wasn’t like he planned on asking her out. So why the hell did he torture himself with these weekly forays into enemy territory?

Sex. Or sex appeal, at least.

Another step closer to the counter. The move didn’t ease the constriction behind the zipper of his jeans. This was what she did to him, thinking about her. Especially now, after so long apart.

The thought had a snort escaping. Ahead of him, Mr. Suit and Tie startled and glanced over a shoulder, but Conlan ignored the look. He was too busy figuring out when “this” had become enough like a relationship in his head that he would think things like “after so long apart.” Doe Eyes might appear prominently in his thoughts from time to time—especially certain times—but he’d never seen her outside of this coffee shop. And he wouldn’t. A quick roll in the hay was one thing, but Doe Eyes wasn’t the kind of woman who had one-night stands. He could tell that much just by looking at her. She was a relationship kind of woman, and he was a relationship-phobic kind of guy. Which meant he seriously needed to get a grip—and not on the part of him growing even harder at the idea.

Idiot was right.

He should be at work. Southern summer heat brought out the crazies almost as well as full moons did, and JCL Security was feeling the impact, juggling cases like they had eight arms, which they didn’t. Too many sleepless nights had been spent at his office, especially with the Bennett case coming up. Just a couple more weeks before Thea Bennett had her bastard of a husband before a judge and hopefully out of her life, but the paper- and prep work to get the high-profile bastard there had been a bitch. He seriously needed to—

“Conlan, hey!”

For a passing moment he was convinced the voice belonged to the woman filling his thoughts. But when the high, candied voice called again, he realized it was coming from the counter. The cashier. Tonya, Tammy? Tracy? He couldn’t remember. She was blonde with a deep tan he would’ve deemed impossible in a landlocked city like Atlanta, the shade a stark contrast to her white smile. Stepping up, he threw her a grin. “Hey.”

She batted long lashes, almost hiding the way her glance slid down to the crotch of his jeans, framed in his leather chaps. “Long time, no see.”

He winked automatically. “It’s a long wait between Mondays.”

The girl giggled. “Your usual?”

“That’s right. Thanks,” he said, passing over a ten-dollar bill.

She made change, certain to caress his hand as she laid the money in his palm. Conlan was more interested in the dark Colombian roast another employee was walking toward them. High-octane all the way. The sight of the near-black brew had him salivating for something other than Doe Eyes for the first time that morning.

He reached the condiment counter just as his phone buzzed in his back pocket. Probably Jack. Retrieving the cell confirmed his suspicion.

Where the hell are you? his partner had texted.

Piss off, Con replied, a grin tugging at his lips. The irony that he’d spent too much time asking himself the very same question didn’t escape him. In a half hour he’d be at the office and they could both stop wondering.

With a little back-and-forth he managed to cram the phone back in his tight jeans. He glanced around absently, and his gaze snagged on a pair of amber-brown eyes that suddenly met his.

He froze.

Doe Eyes dropped her chin and shifted over the slightest bit, enough that her friend’s position blocked her from view, but not before he caught the blush coloring her creamy cheeks.

His cock banged against his zipper as if begging to be let out. The bite of pain caught his breath in his throat. Jesus, what the hell was he—

Don’t! Ask. Again. He knew what the hell he was doing here, and he needed to go; he really did. He needed to stop letting his dick run this show, grab his coffee, and get back to reality.

He was restless, that was all. He was a man who needed action. Needed to be doing something, anything, not sitting behind a desk like he’d been for weeks while prepping Thea’s case. Usually he worked off his frustration in a way that involved cool silk sheets and bare skin and satisfaction on both sides, but there’d been no damn time. Just his hand and the additional chafing it provided, which wasn’t near as effective—or satisfying. That had to be the reason he couldn’t stop thinking about his mystery woman.

Of course. That had to be it.

Popping the lid off his cardboard cup released the rich aroma of ground coffee beans into the air. He lifted his cup and blew across the hot liquid, the sound almost a sigh of relief. He was already reaching for the packets of sugar when black squiggles caught his eye. There. On the part of the paper sleeve now facing him, he could see a name and number were clearly written: Tiffany. A 470 area-code phone number.

So that was her name. Sounded like an eighties pop star. A glance over his shoulder found the cashier leaning across the bar where drinks were picked up, her mounded breasts shelved there, on display. Come back soon, she mouthed, her shoulders doing a little wiggle. On reflex, he threw her a grin, but her seemingly seductive move couldn’t pull his glance downward. His dick didn’t even twitch. Apparently only one thing could trigger his runaway libido this morning.

He added the sugar, trying to ignore the panic in his gut and his one-track mind. The latter was impossible. He wanted to know Doe Eyes’ name, her phone number. Were her breasts as full as they looked beneath that starched white button-down? Was her hair as soft as he swore it would be when he fisted it between his fingers?

He stirred a bit too vigorously, and coffee sloshed over the side of the cup.

Don’t look. Don’t. He realized he’d closed his eyes. A sigh escaped as he rubbed a thumb and finger against them, but as soon as the lids popped open, he searched for her. Had to see her. Felt his heartbeat pick up knowing she might meet his eyes.

He was so screwed—and smart enough to admit it. He let go, let the conflict and the churning in his gut and the tension cramping his muscles go. And then he looked toward her table.

It was empty.

“Well shit.”

He stood for a moment, cursing himself, the coffee, and everything else he could think of. When another customer stepped up behind him and cleared his throat, wanting access to the counter, Con grabbed his cup and headed out the door. On his way, he chucked the coffee in the trash without a single sip.

~ ~ ~ * ~ ~ ~

I hope you enjoy Conlan and Jess's story as much as I've enjoyed bringing it to you.

Ella Sheridan, writer, author, romance author, erotic romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, Teach Me, Southern Nights~ Ella

Psst! Don't want to wait until the end of October to read the book? You just might have an opportunity to read it before it hits stores by joining my Advance Review Team. Only newsletter subscribers are eligible, so sign up today! Better hurry; ARCs are set to ship any day now...

Want To Read Teach Me Early?

ella sheridan, author, writer, romance author, contemporary romance, erotic romance, romantic suspense, Teach Me, Advance Review Team, book reviews, new releaseTEACH ME, the first book in my Southern Nights series, releases October 28th. I’m anticipating that day almost as much as the arrival of my firstborn -- okay, maybe not quite that much; she was two weeks late, after all. :) But this is a very exciting day, and I need help making it truly spectacular — and you can help me do that! How? By joining my Advance Review Team.

That’s right: ADVANCE. You get to read Teach Me before it actually releases. What do I require in return? Only one thing: an honest review posted on release day.

That’s it.


Awesome! Here’s what you do.

1. Sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already. Only members of my mailing list get the opportunity to join the Advance Review Team. You will continue to get only one e-mail a month from me. No spam! Just news, once a month.

2. Once you’ve signed up for the newsletter, send an e-mail to ellasheridan.writer @ gmail (dot) com with the Subject: “Advance Review Team”.

3. What do you have to tell me to get picked for the team? Only one thing: that you want to read and review my books. That’s it! If you want to read advance copies of my books, and are willing to post a review on release day, nothing else is required. :)

ella sheridan, author, writer, erotic romance, romance author, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, Teach Me, Advance Review Team, book reviewsOkay, once you’re a part of the team, what then? It’s simple.

1. I will send out an e-mail when a new release is coming up.

2. Shortly after, you will receive an ARC of the new book in the e-format you prefer. (Approximately three weeks before release.)

3. You read the book. Awesome, right?

4. One day before release, you will get a final e-mail from me. That reminder e-mail is to let you know your review should be posted to Amazon and any other e-book retailers or sites you feel comfortable posting to (Goodreads, B&N, etc.), on the following day. You can even write it ahead of time and have it ready to copy and paste on release day.

That is all. Oh, and there might be occasional prizes…

Now, does this mean I want a guaranteed 5 star review? No. I want an HONEST review. Once a new book goes up for sale, your reviews help the book get noticed, help others find it and decide if it will fit their reading tastes and needs. One of the greatest gifts you can give an author (aside from buying their books) is a book review. Receiving a review on one of my books is a privilege I don’t take lightly!

Now, are you ready to join? Believe me—if you want to read an advance copy, you want to start now! Teach Me is already getting awesome props from beta readers. It’s a don’t-miss opportunity. Not to mention, it gets you on the team before books two and three come out in December and February, and you get to read those too!

So what do you say; are you interested? Sign up for the newsletter and then shoot me an e-mail quick, because arcs for Teach Me will be going out to my ART members by October 7th.

~ Ella

And don't forget, I'll reveal the official cover for Teach Me on September 28th!

Inside Scoop: Creating a Book Cover

ella sheridan, author, writer, romance author, erotic romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, coming soonEven before I became a writer, I was fascinated with how writers do things. I guess maybe it's like those behind-the-scenes features on DVDs, the ones that tell you how all the special effects were created, what the actors thought about their roles, the other actors, et cetera, what went into the making of the set and script and movie itself. I can't get enough of those "sneak peeks," and since I'm a lifelong reader, it makes sense that I'd feel the same way about books. Authors don't usually have much of a say in their book covers -- did you know that? But this year I got to do something very exciting; I got to help create my own book cover! Now, I didn't actually do the drawing or Photoshopping or whatever myself, though some authors have the skill to do so. I hired someone to help me create a cover for Teach Me, the first book in my new series, Southern Nights, which premieres October 28th. The entire process, though, was eye-opening, intimidating, and often just plain amazing! Want to hear about it?

No, no, you don't have to beg! I was gonna share with you anyway. ;)

There are several steps to creating a book cover, but two things are necessary from the outset: a book (of course!) and a cover artist. So I started there. Once the rough draft of Teach Me was complete, I began the hunt for someone to help me bring those characters and their story to life visually. And let me tell you, the process was not easy. What was the process? Here are a few of the stops I took:


  1. I started by reading articles on creating book covers, what worked for different genres, what to look for in a cover artist. Have you ever compared the cover on a historical romance and a paranormal? They "feel" different, don't they? So I educated myself on how a romantic suspense novel was supposed to "feel" when you look at the cover.
  2. I also visited the Amazon top 100 romantic suspense book list several times, making notes on which covers I liked and why. I did the same with my favorite RS authors' websites.
  3. I visited cover artists' sites recommended to me by fellow authors, as well as some I saw in online forums, and many I found just by googling "romance book cover artist." Ultimately I went to over two hundred sites.

Sound tedious? That's because it was. :) What was I looking for? Ultimately I was looking for an artist whose covers drew me. If I went back to a cover again and again, if it caught my attention, I knew the artist had the potential to create the same effect with my cover. That's what I wanted, but as the saying goes, I had to kiss a lot of metaphorical frogs (or look at a lot of covers that didn't quite fit me) before I found a prince of an artist -- or princess, in this case. That's how I ended up with my fantastic cover artist, Kelli at Book Cover By Design.

The next thing I did after contacting Kelli was to fill out a questionnaire for her. This gave her the blurb for my book, info about my characters, the genre of the book, the "mood" or feeling I wanted to convey (remember that comparison we talked about?). When a reader looked at my cover, I wanted them to see dark, mysterious, steamy, sexy. Filling out a questionnaire helped her understand what I was going for. She even read an excerpt of the rough draft.

Of course, there was one more important piece to this puzzle: the cover model.

Finding the perfect representation of the character that has lived in your head for so long is NOT easy. :) In this case, Conlan had been with me for over four years, since Teach Me is the first book I completed (though it has been through many incarnations since). As with cover artists, I went through hundreds of stock photos looking for the perfect man to represent my hero. (For more on that search, see my awesome blog post Finding Hotties. ;) ) Conlan had to be dark, broody, masculine. Oh, and he couldn't look like he was seventeen years old. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find stock photos of a model who doesn't look like he hasn't been out of high school more than a few weeks? To represent a man who was ex-military, in his early thirties, who had seen combat and was now a bodyguard and security specialist, I couldn't settle on a baby face. I needed a strong, handsome man -- and I did eventually find one! Here he is, as a matter of fact:

ella sheridan, writer, author, erotic romance, romantic suspense, southern nights, conlan james

Yummy, isn't he? Kelli looked at several different poses from the same model, combined them with her ideas for the background of the cover, added the title and author name in fonts that would enhance the mood we were going for, and then sent me a couple of examples to look at. These "mock-ups" weren't official, but were the first step toward what would be the finished product.

What happened next? Well, I responded to Kelli with the particular example I liked. There were some things I wanted tweaked, of course -- every author has particulars they want just right. We added a tagline, a single sentence that summed up the story for the reader (and hopefully makes them want to read the book. And no, I'm not telling you what it is yet! :) ). We added a cover quote from my good friend and fellow author, Gina L. Maxwell. We even created the spine and back cover, including the blurb for the book (or back-cover copy) and images, so that I can offer Teach Me in paperback as well as e-book format. And when it all was finally complete?


I'm not ashamed to say that, once we got a final version settled on, I cried. This isn't my first book cover -- I have three published books already -- but this was the first one I had a hand in designing, the first one where I chose the model and could get what I considered the perfect representation of my character in front of my readers. It was an amazing feeling; it truly was. I cannot wait for you all to share it with me!

And where is the cover, you might ask?

Well...I can't show you yet. *ducks to avoid various objects flying at my head* I know; I know. I want so badly to share this with you, but I can't! Teach Me will go up for preorder -- get this! -- on September 28th, exactly one month before its release. And on that same day, I WILL REVEAL THE FINAL COVER. All that hard work, all the decisions and the searching and the angst (I do have a few bald spots now, lol) will finally be over, and I'll get to share with you the results.


Will you be waiting? I know I am! I have the file in my hot little hands (metaphorically speaking), and I can't wait to let it out into the world. I hope you love it as much as I do. But I guess, like you, I'll have to wait a little over two weeks to find out. :)

~ Ella

A cover reveal isn't all I've got going on in the rush up to Teach Me's release! Want to find out what other fun we'll be having? Be sure and sign up for my newsletter and get first access to all the details!

What's Next?

There comes a point, usually when you've just finished a book, when an author asks him- or herself, "What's next?" I've been asking myself that for a couple of months, ever since my latest release, Just a Little More, was turned in to my editor. Thankfully, I had a project on the horizon that I could jump right into -- and now's the time to share it with you. :) ella sheridan, writer, author, erotic romance, romantic suspense, southern nights, conlan james

Southern Nights

They're hot. Steamy. Made for passion. Southern nights were made for love -- and the characters in this series find love when they least expect it. You'll get to share their steamy Southern nights starting October 28th with book one:

Teach Me

A woman determined to heal…

Shy writer Jess Kingston spent the last eight weeks recovering from her ex-boyfriend’s brutal attack. Body healed, she’s ready to put her life back together—except her ex isn’t ready to let go. She won’t cower in a corner while Brit tortures her, but she’s powerless to fight back.

A man determined to resist…

Ex-military security specialist Conlan James avoids commitment like the plague. His job, his Harley, and the occasional one-night stand are all he needs, until the day he rescues Jess from a tense situation and realizes he can’t get her off his mind. He can teach her to protect herself, but protecting his heart is another matter.

A madman determined to win…

As the deadly game of cat-and-mouse with Brit heats up, so does the hunger between Con and Jess. Safety might be found in numbers, but in bed, all bets are off—and the wrong move could lead to heartbreak. Or death.

Jess and Conlan's story has been with me for five years. It was the first book I wrote when I decided to seriously pursue publishing. Even through several rewrites, I'm still in love with these characters and their love affair in the sultry Southern heat -- and the way they try to fight their overwhelming need for each other. Keep an eye out the next few months to get more details about their story and the rest of the men and women of Southern Nights. When will you get to read them? Here are the expected release dates:

Teach Me -- Jess & Conlan's story -- October 28th

Trust Me -- Jack & Maddie's story -- Tentatively scheduled for December 2014

Take Me -- Sam & Gabe & Peyton's story -- Tentatively scheduled for January 2015

And yes, that picture is the model I chose for Conlan on the cover of Teach Me. Wait till you see it! It -- and he -- will knock your socks off!

Inspiration: "If I Lose Myself" by OneRepublic

ella sheridan, erotic romance, romantic suspense, teach me, southern nights, Jess, ConlanI've been working like a mad thing on revisions for the first Southern Nights book, Teach Me. Sometimes, when a book has been a part of you for as long as this one has me, you lose the inspiration that originally had you revved about the project. Since I wrote the original manuscript in 2010...yeah, it's been a while, and making sure the story felt as fresh and alive as it did the first time I opened a Word file and began to type was very important to me. ella sheridan, erotic romance, romantic suspense, native, onerepublic, inspirationAnd then came Christmas, and the gift that keeps on giving: music. Every book I write has a playlist; it's part of my writing process, and also a quick way for me to dive back into a book when I've had to put it on the backburner to meet deadlines on other projects (you can see a couple of my playlists for books here and here). Teach Me, being the first book I ever wrote, didn't have a playlist -- I was too new to know what my process was then -- so keeping it fresh has been a struggle. For Christmas, though, I received OneRepublic's new album, Native, and found the inspiration for Jess's story.

"If I Lose Myself" is a song about looking out a window. Sounds simple, right? (Don't most songs? :) ) But it's not. It's also about life and deciding who and what is important, about risking and refusing to give up. Have a listen:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGx0rApSk6w?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

See what I mean? In case you didn't catch them, have a look at the lyrics:

ella sheridan, erotic romance, romantic suspense, onerepublic, native, inspirationI stared up at the sun, Thought of all of the people, places and things I’ve loved. I stared up just to see With all of the faces, you were the one next to me.

You can feel the light start to tremble, Washing what you know out to sea. You can see your life out of the window tonight.

If I lose myself tonight, It’ll be by your side. I lose myself tonight... (oh) yeah, yeah, yeah.

If I lose myself tonight, It’ll be you and I. Lose myself tonight...

I woke up with the sun, Thought of all of the people, places and things I’ve loved. I woke up just to see With all of the faces, you were the one next to me.

You can feel the light start to tremble, Washing what you know out to sea. You can see your life out of the window tonight.

If I lose myself tonight, It’ll be by your side. I lose myself tonight... (oh) yeah, yeah, yeah.

If I lose myself tonight, It’ll be you and I. Lose myself tonight... Whoooooooooo

Take us down and we keep trying, Forty thousand feet, keep flying. Take us down and we keep trying, Forty thousand feet, keep flying. Take us down and we keep trying, Forty thousand feet, keep flying. Take us down and we keep trying, Forty thousand feet, keep flying.

(Lose myself) If I lose myself tonight...

There are a lot of other great songs on the album, but this one in particular spoke to me. (And yes, for those of you who are familiar with my books, this will be the theme song for Teach Me, just like Dirty Little Secret and Naughty Little Christmas have their theme songs. :) ) Do you have a song that inspires you, a "theme song," so to speak? What is it, and what does it make you think about?