Funny Friday: T-shirt Sayings

This past week, a T-shirt I ordered from a campaign on Teespring came in, one I absolutely love. front

The shirt was designed for author Jayne Rylon, and I saw it on her Facebook page. I loved it so much, I ordered two -- one for day, and one to sleep in. ;)

Then, this morning, when I went on FB, I saw another Teespring campaign, this one from author Kallypso Masters:


I might have to have that one too! (By the way, Kallypso is still running her campaign, so if you love this T-shirt as much as I do, go here.)

These two great T-shirts got me thinking about Christmastime and how my daughter and I like to sit and peruse the hundreds of catalogs that come in the mail just so we can read all the T-shirt sayings that crack us up. So, I thought I'd share a couple with you that made me laugh this morning (although I think the "Good Book" shirt above has got to be one of my favorites!). Any of these can be found with a simple Google search of the quote. Without further ado...

front2 (Having totally kinky curly hair, I get this one, lol!)


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And probably my personal favorite, having been raised with the story of Daniel and the lion's den (and wondering the whole time if I would've been the one eaten...):



Now, go forth and have a very funny Friday -- and don't forget to wear an interesting T-shirt!

~ Ella

Must-Read Advice for Writers

ella sheridan, erotic romance, author, romance author, for writers, encouragement, author tips21 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Started Writing: Must-Read Advice for Writers at All Levels By Robin Black

This article appeared on The Review Review website -- and my Facebook feed -- last week. After a particularly long and work-heavy month, I was taking a morning of downtime and actually managed to read an article I'm interested in. Yay! I found Black tips encouraging at a time when I'm struggling to handle my workload, deal with medical issues, and still manage to be enthusiastic about revisions on my current novella. It's not easy. But the validation of seeing some of the things I'm trying to tell myself reiterated from an experienced author helped me see that I am on the right path. I'm not delusional. This really is how I should see the world. And yes, "it will get better" is just as much a fact as "the downtimes will come again." Everything has its season; isn't that what Solomon said? :) Here are a couple of the tips I found particularly helpful:

" The best you can do is the best you can do. There’s a fine line between learning from other authors, and trying to be them. Be yourself. There are more than enough different types of readers out there for us all. I can’t tell you how much time I have wasted wishing my work were more 'hip'  and 'edgier.' And every single moment was indeed a waste of time. I didn’t even like much of the writing I wanted to emulate. I just liked the attention heaped on the people who wrote it. Write the book you’d most like to read – not the one you think will win over the editor du jour."

How often I have done this! I have lamented not being as good as so-and-so. I've lamented not being able to get my work in front of some big-time agent or editor. I've worried and wondered and agonized over the quality of my work -- and not believed my wonderful editor and critique partners and readers when they say they love it. It's got to stop! Can I doubt? Yes. Can I do it for more than a few seconds? No. As my daughter is fond of saying, "Ain't nobody got time for that."

"You cannot write the pages you love without writing the pages you hate. Nothing that you write is pointless, useless, or unnecessary. The product requires the process. The good days may be more enjoyable, but the tough ones are the ones they’re built upon."

Amen! Telling myself this was the only thing that got me through a period of severe writer's block (and yes, it does exist -- denying it doesn't make it so) over the last six months. I spent so much time agonizing over every word that I trained myself to have panic attacks when I sat at the computer to write. It has taken a lot of time, effort, and patience with myself to come out the other side, and still my confidence is more shattered than intact. That's okay. I'll get there. But it means going through the bad days as well as the good days -- and not being afraid to do so.

The final piece of advice speaks for itself, in my opinion. And, honestly, doesn't just apply to writing. Think about it.

"Don’t believe there are rules. There is only advice. There is only opinion. There are only my experiences and yours and yours and yours. . ."

Check out the full article and all of Black's tips here.

~ Ella

*Photo courtesy of AnimaTigris.

Funny Friday: A Peek Inside the Writer's Brain

I'm heading out for a writing retreat this weekend with my Music City Romance Writers buddies, and I am SO looking forward to it. A weekend to refill my creative well, enjoy the company of people who actually understand what I'm talking about (I know because their eyes don't glaze over!), and write, write, write! In honor of my excitement (!), here are some writing-related memes for your Funny Friday enjoyment. Yes, this is the way we think, lol! So the next time you meet your favorite author, just know that this is really how their brain works. :) Have a great weekend!

~ Ella

Ella Sheridan, romance, funny friday, writingella sheridan, romance, writing, funny fridayella sheridan, romance, writing, funny fridayella sheridan, writing, romance, funny friday

And if you ever wanted to know what it's like to not be able to write? This.

ella sheridan, romance, writing, funny friday

ella sheridan, romance, writing, funny friday

Weekly Web Search: For All You Writers Out There

ella sheridan, romance writer, erotic romance, writing, chuck wendig, terribleminds, what writers should stop doingI occasionally find links to posts by Chuck Wendig peppering Facebook. His blog, terribleminds, is often totally inappropriate, which might be why I like the articles of his I've read: no holds barred, totally irreverent, but usually so totally true as well. This past week someone linked to an older post of Chuck's about what we as writers should not do (as opposed to all the multitude of things we're told we should, every day, day in and day out--it's exhausting). So, writers, read this post and take a good, long look at your writing life. Are there things you need to change? Here's one of my faves: "Fear is nonsense. What do you think is going to happen? You’re going to be eaten by tigers? Life will afford you lots of reasons to be afraid: bees, kidnappers, terrorism, being chewed apart by an escalator, Republicans, Snooki. But being a writer is nothing worthy of fear. It’s worthy of praise. And triumph. And fireworks. And shotguns. And a box of wine. So shove fear aside — let fear be gnawed upon by escalators and tigers. Step up to the plate. Let this be your year."

Read more at "25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing."

Those Who Walk Beside You

My first published book comes out on Tuesday. Dirty Little Secret will release from Loose Id, and it's one of the most exciting moments of my career as an author, one of those "firsts" I'll remember for the rest of my life. And it wouldn't have happened without the people who walk beside me in this writing life.

ella sheridan, Dani wade, writing, authors, romance writing, erotic romance, author support, critique partner

I've been blessed to have one very important influence in my life as an author beside me since the moment I was conceived. My twin sister, Dani Wade, didn't look at me funny when I spent some of our teenage years writing stories. She went to college with me, almost all the same classes even, earning identical degrees in English Literature. She has loved me and allowed me to lean on her when life got in the way and I was trying to find myself, to grow and discover who I really was -- heck, when I was just trying to keep my head above water sometimes! And when I followed her on this path to writing and sent her my first novel, she didn't poo-poo the idea or put down my skill or jump down my throat about crowding into what had been "her" area of expertise for so long.

ella sheridan, dani wade, writer, author, romance writer, erotic romance, author support, critique partnerShe encouraged me. She taught me. She still serves as guide and mentor and critique partner and plotting partner and accountability partner and so much more. I would not be where I am today without her. When I think of my best friend, it has always been her, and I can't thank her enough for all she has meant in my life. I love you, sis! You have given me so much; I can't express how much you mean to me.

ella sheridan, gina maxwell, gina l. maxwell, erotic romance, romance writers, author, writer, author support, critique partner

I was also blessed a couple of years ago (God, has it really been that long?) to meet an amazing writer who has been a source of encouragement to me on a leg of this journey that has involved a lot of rejection, frustration, and confusion. Gina L. Maxwell came into my life when I sent her an e-mail out of the blue one day in response to an old ad for a critique partner she'd posted online. I didn't even know if she'd answer me, but she did, and we struck up a friendship. We've only managed to meet twice in "real" life, but I have learned a lot from this friend. She is something I definitely am not -- outgoing, lol! She connects with people, with readers in a way I don't know if I ever can (she has a gift, let me tell ya!). I admire the way the most beautiful writing just flows from her fingertips, the just-right turn of phrase, the totally HOT alpha males she can create. But most of all I admire how genuine she is. She's all out there, and gives of herself generously to readers and friends alike. She's the one who read Dirty Little Secret and said, "I love this book! But girlfriend...that ending? Uh, no, it's gotta go!" :) So it did. This book would not have sold without her honesty and her encouragement. Thanks, girlie! I'm grateful we were born at a time when becoming friends didn't rely on living close together, because I wouldn't want my life to lack your spark. ;)

ella sheridan, family, author support

Writing is a journey. It doesn't happen overnight, and (hopefully) it doesn't end with the publishing of a single book. To be an author, you have to be in it for the long haul, and I am. But as much as I have the drive to do what I love, my family doesn't love writing! They have their own loves, but guess what? They get dragged along behind my job, just like all our families have to deal with the peculiarities of our jobs. But they have stepped up to support me in every way they can. My two kids ask about how my books are going, do their best not to interrupt when I'm on a deadline, step up to help out when I'm in a crunch and need extra hands to get everything done. My husband is...amazing. I know many authors whose husbands do not support their writing, who get jealous of the time this work takes despite the fact that those same husbands get to do the jobs they want to do. My husband has a demanding job, but he doesn't begrudge me the pursuit of my dream. He doesn't complain that my work makes me as busy as him at times. He doesn't give me a hard time when I disappear for hours with my computer and my characters and leave him holding the responsibility for the household. We work together to make our family all it can be, and he gives my work the same respect I give his. I could not ask for more when it comes to a life mate. I am truly blessed with my children and my husband. They "get" me in a way many writers are not gifted with in their family. Thank you so much, guys. Thank you for enduring the fast-food dinners, the distraction when I'm off in my own world, the stress when I'm trying to meet a deadline. I love you all more than I can say. I can only pray I support your dreams as much as you have supported mine.

On Tuesday, when Dirty Little Secret is released, it will have my name on the cover. The words inside will be mine (well, along with suggestions from my editor -- thanks, Rory!). But in reality, it wasn't just me that wrote this book. It was me, and all the people who walk beside me, every day, every step. They'll walk beside me during this special moment and hopefully many more. They say it takes a village to raise a child; maybe it takes a village to raise and support an author as well. I know I'm very thankful for mine.

What I've Been Reading: Lexi Blake

I have a confession: I don't read a lot of new books. Not because I don't want to, but because I have so little time to read. I don't want to waste what little time I have to read trying a new book/new author I might or might not like. So I often go on recommendations before trying out a new-to-me author. And in this case, I'm so glad I did. Lexi Blake, The Dom Who Loved Me, Ella Sheridan, erotic romance, BDSM, readingDani Wade, my sister, is responsible for my current obsession. Her "Oh my God, you have to read this!" came a couple of months ago after she tried out the first of Lexi Blake's Masters and Mercenaries series, The Dom Who Loved Me. I was fully sick of the books I'd reread fifty bazillion times, and so I gave in. I downloaded the book onto my Kindle...and I was hooked. Immediately.

The series currently has 4.5 books (four full books and a novella), with the fifth book, Ian's story (CAN'T WAIT!!!), due out in October. My favorite so far has been book three, A Dom Is Forever. Liam is just so deliciously lickable. ;) Not only does he have an Irish accent, but he loves curvy women (and we love him). His heroine, Avery, isn't physically perfect or flashy, but he can't get enough of her anyway -- and the way he instinctively takes care of her makes him even more sexy. Here's the description from Lexi's website:

A Dom Is Forever – Out Now!Lexi Blake, A Dom Is Forever, Ella Sheridan, erotic romance, BDSM, reading

A Man with a Past…

Liam O’Donnell fled his native Ireland years ago after one of his missions ended in tragedy and he was accused of killing several of his fellow agents. Shrouded in mystery, Liam can’t remember that fateful night. He came to the United States in disgrace, seeking redemption for crimes he may or may not have committed. But the hunt for an international terrorist leads him to London and right back into the world he left behind.

A Woman Looking for a Future…

Avery Charles followed her boss to London, eager to help the philanthropist with his many charities. When she meets a mysterious man who promises to show her London’s fetish scene, she can’t help but indulge in her darkest fantasies. Liam becomes her Dom, her protector, her lover. She opens her heart and her home to him, only to discover he’s a man on a mission and she’s just a means to an end.

When Avery’s boss leads them to the traitorous Mr. Black, Liam must put together the puzzle of his past or Avery might not have a future…

The thing that I love about this series -- and all of my favorite BDSM writers' books -- is the emotion that swamps every page. This is not erotica, not sex or "play" for sex's sake. This is pure erotic romance at its heart. Avery struggles with a past full of pain and sorrow and guilt. She has pushed herself to live when she'd rather die, and we see that struggle. We share her realization that she still holds herself back, and we take those first few steps of opening herself to Liam with her. Liam's past is full of secrets, and for a man who wants to be an untouchable island, the emotion he feels but doesn't want to acknowledge pulls us irrevocably toward him. He is truly the "strong, silent type" overcome by the love of the woman who is his match in every way -- in the bedroom and out.

I can't say enough about Lexi Blake's writing. If you want sexy, steamy, emotional, sometimes wrenching stories with plenty of twists and turns (oh, and handcuffs and rope :) ), you have to check out this series. I'm lucky enough that I get to hear Lexi speak this coming weekend at a nearby RWA workshop, and I can't wait to tell her in person exactly how much I enjoy her work. She's definitely on my keeper shelf!

Genre Talk - Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance

Genre Talk - Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance. I recently had an editor from a major urban fantasy house ask me about my book. I hated to tell her it wasn't urban fantasy (who wants to tell an editor their book isn't what she's looking for?), but I hate the love triangles and lack of HEAs in UF. I told her it was a gritty paranormal, since I didn't know how else to categorize it. :) Then I read this blog by Lisa Kessler over at Paranormal Unbound about this very issue. Think I just added a book to my TBR pile!!!

The Golden Heart

I didn't win the Golden Heart Award. Though the fact makes me a little sad, I was included in a small but awesome group of authors who made the competition very tough, and I am happy for those who did win; they earned it, as did we all! The night of the awards ceremony was a thrill, let me tell you, so I thought I would share some pictures so you could share in the event with me. (Sorry the pictures are small -- darn technology! -- but if you click on them they blow up.)

The Lucky 13s -- at least the ones who could make it to Nationals!

The Lucky 13s (or at least the ones who could make it to Nationals. I was privileged to be a part of such a wonderful group. And below, my awesome sister and critique partner, Dani Wade, sharing a moment with me before the ceremony began.

My awesome sister and critique partner, author Dani Wade, sharing a special moment with me before the ceremony.Critique partner and friend extraordinaire, author Gina L. Maxwell!Critique partner and friend extraordinaire, Gina L. Maxwell.

My name on the big screen -- what a feeling!

My name on the big screen. I'm sure it would've been an extraordinary feeling, except I was too nervous to pay attention! Thank goodness for Gina working the camera. :)

Author Christie Craig in her role as emcee. Hilarious southern lady!

Author Christie Craig in her role as emcee. Hilarious!

On to the after party!

And finally, on to the after party! We had a fabulous time dancing the night away.

As you can see, the glitz and glamor cannot be understated. I hope those of you who got to attend had a wonderful time, and for those who couldn't, may you get the chance in the future, maybe as a Golden Heart or Rita finalist yourself. :)

Meeting People

RWA Nationals, Atlanta, Georgia, authors, Golden Heart, Rita Awards, Literacy SigningAnd by people, I mean authors, lol. I will be in Atlanta tomorrow for RWA Nationals, and the place will be chockful of authors (and editors, and agents, and...well, you get the idea). I have to admit, the few authors I've met have typically been my local RWA chapter mates. But I have met a couple of my favorite, non-chapter mate authors (and pray I never act that way with readers who come to see me O_o). No, really, for the most part authors are great; like all groups of people, we have our cranky apples, but I have never felt as welcomed as I have at local meetings or book signings when that Deep South hospitality and southern charm get poured on and arms are opened wide. It's an awesome experience, one I can't wait to have with my own readers someday. RWA Nationals, Literacy Signing, authors, Atlanta Georgia

I was once privileged to visit the late Beverly Barton at a local signing. Beverly was a mentor of my sister's, and I stood in the shadow of my twin and listened in awe as they talked like the friends they were, like everyday people with everyday concerns. Beverly joked that she never did a book signing without her husband nearby, and yet somehow, whenever she managed to end up alone at a book signing table, she always attracted the strangest person in the store. Her husband stood behind her during the conversation, silent but smiling and nodding his head. This woman who had written books I had read dozens of times was right there, in front of me, talking away! It was a great moment. A few months later, not long before she died, I gave a short "workshop" on editing at our local meeting, and upon passing me in the hallway, Beverly told me I had done a good job. Wow! Just that one sentence made my day!

Authors have the ability to do that. They can make or break someone's day, their experience at an event, even a reader's experience with that author's next book. I have met a couple of authors whose books I have not picked up since; I have met many whose books I have snatched up at first opportunity afterward, like Annie Solomon. Standing in line with my sister as she waited to speak to Kerrelyn Sparks at the Literacy Signing in Orlando a few years ago, I looked at the seat "next door" and saw the most intriguing book cover I'd ever seen -- a Gothic gate, dark colors, a moody, edgy scene. "Ooh, I wanna read that!" I thought, not even really caring what it was about. I just loved the cover. And being my twin, Dani spoke up and said, "Look at that!" pointing out Annie's book. We snatched it up, reading the back cover, and got even more excited. Annie spoke with us so graciously that night, two readers who knew nothing about her or her writing, that I read her book first when I arrived home from that trip. It was One Deadly Sin, and it was phenomenal. And unbeknownst to me, Annie was a member of a nearby RWA group I later joined, and taught a workshop that helped me finish my problem child manuscript, Take Me. I have never forgotten that moment standing in line, though, speaking to her, and how gracious and kind she was.

I'm thankful I have been able to experience the author/reader meet from the reader's side of the equation, so that when I'm on the author side of that table, I can help make, not break, my readers' day. Meeting people is not easy for me -- being painfully self-conscious most of my life, I tremble and panic at new places, new experiences, and new faces. My editor and agent appointments this Friday at Nationals have me in a bit of a tailspin! But one thing my mama, and now these wonderful authors who have helped me grow into one of them, have taught me is that enthusiasm and genuineness go a long way. I want to be that author, the one that leaves you feeling awesome and inspired and excited.

So, after October, once Dirty Little Secret is out, I hope you get a chance to read it. And I hope I get a chance to meet you. And I hope, somehow, that meeting can make your day a bit brighter, a bit more fun, and your next journey through one of my books a bit more meaningful. :)

Nationals or Bust Week 15: The Finale

We made it! I've lost 11.5 lbs and learned some invaluable lessons, not to mention gaining a great support group. Whether it's two pounds or ten, getting healthier is always a good thing!


Nationals or Bust Week 15: The Finale.

Guest Blog Alert!

Ruby Slippered Sisters, guest blog, Golden Heart finalist, GH finalist, Dani Wade, Ella Sheridan, writing, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romanceI'm over at the Ruby Slippered Sisters today with my twin, Dani Wade, talking about our writing journeys, how we're alike, and how we're different. Check it out! RSS Welcomes GH Finalist Ella Sheridan...And Her Sister

Oldie but Goody: Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione

Pleasure Unbound, Larissa Ione, Demonica series, paranormal romance, romance, author, writer, Ella Sheridan, reading, TBRAahhh, the Demonica series! I LOVE these books. And yes, I've already read them, and the series that follows, so why am I reading book one, Pleasure Unbound, again? (Besides the fact that it's awesomesauce?) I'll tell you: I've struggled recently with the fact that my reading time is severely limited. Between work and writing, I rarely take time off to read, but I do like to pick up a book at night sometimes to help me settle down to sleep. This can be dangerous, mind you, if I get too involved and want to stay up (waayyy past my bedtime c;), so for the most part I reread books on my keeper shelf so I don't have that "must see what happens next!" feeling to keep me up at night.

Recently, however, I felt guilty that I wasn't reading anything new. I needed a fresh infusion into my TBR pile, so I went searching, bought a couple of newer books, and piled them on my bedside table. Know what happened? Each one, while somewhat interesting, couldn't hold my interest. I would get a couple of chapters in and think, Eh, why am I struggling with this? And I would stop reading. After about the fourth book, I seriously wanted to chuck something against a wall. It wasn't that the books were bad, but my head is so full of chaos right now that if it isn't greatly compelling for me, I'm not gonna finish it.

I've never had that problem with Larissa Ione.

I have her latest book on my shelf, unread. But I realized I was having trouble keeping the details of the series in my head, so I decided to start from the beginning and move forward -- and it's been great! I'm reading, staying interested, and gathering up all those pertinent facts I need to make the latest book make sense and be interesting. (By the way, the same is true for JR Ward's latest book, which is staring at me from my shelf as I speak, but I told myself I couldn't read it until Unbroken was complete. :s)

So, there you have it, what I'm reading right now. c: Here's the description from Amazon if you've never checked out these amazing books:

In a place where ecstasy can cost you your life . . .

She's a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure-but fears it will always be denied her. Until Tayla Mancuso lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life.

Two lovers will dare to risk all.

Eidolon cannot resist this fiery, dangerous woman who fills him with both rage and passion. Not only is she his avowed enemy, but she could very well be the hunter who has been preying upon his people. Torn between his need for the truth and his quest to find his perfect mate before a horrific transformation claims him forever, Eidolon will dare the unthinkable-and let Tayla possess him, body and soul . . .

Check out this and other books by Larissa on her website HERE. It's totally worth it, believe me!

And for another great read, hop on over to The Mutual Admiration Society to see Dani Wade's new release, Finding Her Rhythm, and learn all about her rock-star hero, Michael Korvello!

What I've Been Reading

tymber dalton, the reluctant dom, BDSM, erotic romance, romance, readingYou can find out a lot about an author from what they read. After all, who wants to read a paranormal romance by an author who doesn't read paranormals? Or an erotic romance from someone who doesn't read them? We expect certain things from certain subgenres of romance, and we want them followed -- or broken, but only in a "break the rules but make me like it" kind of way. So what have I been reading? Lately I haven't had a lot of time to read, but I try to sneak in something now and then. And I'm glad I did last week when I picked up The Reluctant Dom by Tymber Dalton based on a recommendation from an FB group. When I read the blurb and realized yes, one of the characters will probably die in this book, I was torn. I love happy endings, always. But I also love dark, gritty, angsty books as well. The deeper and more edgy the emotions, the better I like it. So I clicked the button and waited for the book to download to my Kindle.

Lord a'mercy! I've read quite a bit of BDSM, both for pleasure and in my day job as an editor, but very little of it comes close to what Dalton managed to create here. The depth of the pain, love, and longing in this story tore my heart apart and put it back together. It was beautiful, it truly was. I highly recommend it, and to convince you, here's the blurb from Amazon. :)

Love hurts...if you're lucky.

Kaden's dying, but before he goes he has one problem to solve -- he must ask his oldest and dearest friend, Seth, to take over as Dom and Master to his beloved wife, Leah.

Seth has always seen himself as the perpetual screwup and Kaden as the strong and steady one, so his friend's request rocks his world. He also knows there's no way he can refuse Kaden this.

Now Seth finds himself immersed in a role he's far from comfortable with -- inflicting physical pain to provide emotional comfort to the woman he's secretly loved for years. Can he deal with his crushing gried over the impending loss of his oldest friend and still learn the skills he must master in time to become The Reluctant Dom?


What struck me, beyond the truly heart-rending situation the characters found themselves in, was the title character, Seth. He is in every way reluctant -- reluctant to lose his friend, reluctant to face his true feelings for Leah, reluctant to step up to the plate when he's always thought of himself as the perpetual screwup. He's both your typical alpha male and not, at the same time. He drew me to him and made me believe he could do what Kaden asked of him even when he didn't believe it himself. Great job, Dalton!

Even the subject matter (and I don't mean the BDSM) was handled in a gentle, compelling,  painful, healing way. Death is hard to deal with in a romance, even in paranormals or romantic suspense where danger is all around and you know, you just know someone isn't gonna make it out of this alive. But death is all around us, and Dalton shows us both the torture and the gift the process brings to our lives. It both rang true and had me screaming, "No! No! No!" by the end. And yet, Kaden and Seth and Leah enriched my life too. I'm glad I read it. You should too. :)

Check out this and other Tymber Dalton books at the author's website here -- and prepare for a passionate ride, in more ways than one!