The Struggling Author

That would be me, Paula Hardin and many others out there in the writing world. I’ve learned so much since I started. When I look back at my first book that I ever wrote it’s a painful thing. Once I entered it in a contest and a judge told me, I should hire a ghostwriter to write my stories. I have to admit, I cried and afterwards couldn’t write for months. Not to mention hurt and also furious. How dare someone tell me to hire someone else to write my stories. I can look back now and realize at the time she may have been right. I didn’t know what I was doing. I thought I did, but I know now that I still don’t know everything, but I’m learning my way.

I’m not the best at blogging, I have twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and I even have google+, and Pinterest. I’m in the process of recovering my first book’s cover so I can do a relaunch. In September4th through the 6th I’ll be going to the Writers for New Orleans and I’ll actually have a table at the book signing. This December at the Geekonomicon 2015 Convention in Biloxi, MS I’m going to have a table and there working out the details but I might also be on a panel or two. I’ll keep you posted.

Here is my link to: Forever Lost, and The Unforeseen Rescue, which is in ebook and paperbacks.

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The Lure of Old Cemeteries

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If you know me, you would know, I’m a scary cat when it comes to watching horror movies. At the same time. I have this passion for paranormal, witches, voodoo, and old cemeteries. The old ones are my favorite, aged, and covered with moss, and some defaced from weather, and climate.

When I visit an old cemetery I love the old crypts, or graves. Love to see their names and wonder  what their life was like when they were alive. A defaced and broken crypt is ideal for a scene in any paranormal story which might include a vampire, goul, ghost, or whatever your fantasy might take a writer.

So with this in mind, here are some great pictures of some crypts located somewhere in the deep south. Let your mind wonder, and your imagination run wild, and free.

The Mortuary

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This is a Victorian Mansion on Canal Street in New Orleans, It was originally built as a family home later sold to a Notary in 1923, and in 1928 information was brought to attention that it was purchased on on behalf of PJ McMahon which turned it into a grand funeral home. It has over a mile radius of graves and in between the year of 1930 to 2003 over 20,000 funerals took place and their body fluids flushed down the basement. Not to mention being surrounded by the city of the dead. It is documented by a paranormal investigation team. Now it has switched hands and is a Haunted House and only opened at Halloween. For what you mean, they turned it into a HAUNTED HOUSE. I’ve been to see this place of wonder at night, and my daughter screaming to me that she seen a ghost in the cemetery connected to the house as we pulled away. It sent shivers down my spine. And the legend

Steam Punk Genre

Happy Thursday and wishing you a great holiday weekend. Since I can’t post parts of stories now, I am finding blogging a little difficult. My life is boring, I don’t have fun exciting things happening at home, all the hunky guys has it day, history is taken, so this leave me, flatlined.  So, here is something interesting which has happened in my life recently and I thought maybe this would be fun to write about.  I have discovered STEAM-PUNK through Runere. Thank you for the introduction. What an exciting genre. I love art and in this genre I see it as a wild range of possibilities, and things you can put together like media art. My mind feels like it’s about to burst with ideas, and than I have my darkness, and the combination is endless. I’m at a crossroads where I don’t know what to call myself. (Laughing) I find as a person, we’re always growing, and learning new things. It’s never enough for me I love to learn something new everyday.

It’s sort of like gothic and paranormal, some people really dress like this during the everyday functions. Some would consider them  eccentric’s, and frown upon them. A person of unconventional and slightly strange views or behavior and some would even ridicule them.
It makes my heart pound with adrenaline as a writer. To me, it’s wild and it’s crazy and looks like a great deal of fun. There are websites, blogs, and actual conferences for their obsessiveness need to express themselves. I’m getting all excited just thinking about it. 

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As a writer- or a day dreamer, what can you do with this in your head. It’s mind boggling. Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction,alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980’s and early 1990s. Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. developed earlier in an alternate history.

One of their weapons of choice is.. a nurf gun. They take a regular toy gun that your children play with, and take it apart, spray paint it and put it back together with other pieces sometimes to give it realistic. Who thought of this? This is wild, and shows such creativity. A Steam punk belly dancer  There is so much out there.. This is just an example.

Badurday – February 5, 2011- Debora Ryan/Michele Zurlo

JILLIAN:  A fellow Siren-BookStrand author is our guest today. She writes both erotica and Mainstream. As Michele Zurlo, she owns the blog called The Steam Room where I  have been a guest in the past. She also is hosting an awesome event for Valentine’s week.  She has a lot of other authors discussing romance and other Valentine’s Day topics. She’ll attach a list of those writers to the end of this interview along with her discussion of the event. 

As Debora Ryan, she write mainstream novels for Book Strand Publishers.  She’s here today in an interview for her new book to be released in the next four to six weeks or so. It’s called Crimes of the Heart.  Please welcome her to the blog today.


When Leah is caught embezzling, will blackmail lead her to love or destruction?

Ever since an accident killed her parents and left her older sister with life-altering injuries, Leah Keenan’s life hasn’t been her own.  The insurmountable medical bills force her to desperate action.  The company she works for is large.  Nobody would notice if she skimmed a few thousand here and there to pay outstanding bills.

The complications Will Dannaker brings are more than Leah needs in her life.  Posing as a management intern, he is placed in her care.  He isn’t an intern; he’s a fraud specialist working undercover at his father’s company.  When Will’s charm fails to penetrate Leah’s shields, he resorts to blackmail to make her go out with him.

As things grow serious between them, the embezzling spirals out of control.  Six million dollars are missing—far more than Leah took—and all the evidence Will gathered points to Leah.  Everything blows up when she is arrested, and Will is forced to fight his family to prove his love to Leah.

Jillian: Your book, Crimes of the Heart, seems to be a romantic suspense. Is this your first in this genre or do you have others?

Debora: Funny, I never thought of it as romantic suspense. I thought of it more as crime fiction, but there are definitely elements of suspense throughout. Tomorrow Cries could also be considered romantic suspense. I like complex, layered stories where the conflicts are both internal and external.

Jillian: Your heroine, Leah, is in a bad situation. Can you tell us a little about it?

Debora: Leah is operating on a lingering sense of survivor’s guilt stemming from a tragic accident that took her parents and left her sister unable to care for herself. Her fatal flaw is that she tries to shoulder this responsibility alone. She confides in nobody, not even her best friend who would be more than willing to help her. Leah probably thinks of her situation as penance.

Jillian: Writing a heroine that commits a crime is scary. Do you think Leah’s criminal behavior will cause readers to not like her? If not, tell us why.

Debora: I sat on this story forever because I wasn’t sure how to approach building her relationship with Will. Love is messy and imperfect, and so are my heroines. Leah’s situation is very delicate because taking her relationship with Will too far would cause him to commit an unforgivable crime. Both of my characters commit crimes. Leah embezzles to pay for her sister’s expensive medical care. Will blackmails Leah because he really wants to go out with her. The difficult part for me was in walking that line between making the characters interesting and sympathetic while showcasing their faults and the ways in which those faults nearly ruin their relationship.

Jillian:  Your hero, Will, is working undercover. What’s his back story?

Debora: Will is a fraud investigator. He left home and turned his back on the family business to prove he could be something other than the man his father wanted him to be. At his mother’s request, he returns home to find out who embezzled six million dollars from the company. Hint: There are multiple embezzlers working for Will’s father.

Jillian: When does this book come out and where can we be looking for it?.

Debora: This will be available from BookStrand most likely in late February/early March. You can check my website at for updates

JIllian: My theme for Saturdays here on the Southern Sizzle blog is Bad Boys. Who is your favorite bad boy of film or television?

Debora: Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood (played by the handsome John Barrowman). I like that he’s a bad boy fighting for the side of good, and he never passes up the chance to flirt with anyone, male or female. He has no shame and he doesn’t know the meaning of fear.

Jillian:  I adore him as well. He’s amazing and hot!!! And oh, so bad! 

Jillian: You write also under the name of Michele Zurlo- Tell us about The Steam Room and your Valentines event.

Debora: The Steam Room is my website where I feature a new author each week. I research each person that I interview to tailor the interviews to them. I’ve come to know a great many interesting people this way. The week before Valentine’s Day, I’m changing things up a bit. I’ll be posting a new blog entry every day that features different authors and readers telling us about love and romance. Here is the blurb and the schedule for that week:

Cynics refer to Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark Holliday, something created to market cards, candy and flowers.  Romantics don’t care where it came from or why it’s become such an important holiday, we’re just happy there’s a universal day set aside to celebrate and honor romance.  Those of us in the romance industry—whether we’re writers or readers—find a way to stretch this sentiment so that it touches our everyday lives. 

For some of us, reading romance provides an escape from our daily stressors.  For others, it lets us enjoy romantic encounters and relationships that will never be our reality.  We love our Significant Others, but real relationships are seldom about the romance.  Between work and family demands, we often have little energy left for even small romantic gestures. Romance is a habit. Once we fall out of that habit, it’s difficult to pick up again. Even so, that doesn’t mean the love dies. Romance novels fill a need we don’t often have time to fill for ourselves.

Still, Valentine’s Day is our day.  While we bring love and romance into our everyday lives, we still want to celebrate the actual holiday.  This year, I will be doing nothing special.  Monday is swim practice for my kids. After work, I’ll pick them up, feed them dinner, help with homework, take them to practice, and fall into my bed seconds after I kiss them goodnight. I’m pinning my hopes on the weekend before.

Romantic Monday, February 7: Jenika Snow, Tonya Ramagos, CR Moss, Berengaria Brown

Happy Endings Tuesday, February 8: Stephanie Cage, Julia Rachel Barrett, D. Renee Bagby, Jami Davenport, Michele Zurlo

Love is…Wednesday, February 9: ZA Maxfield, Karenna Colcroft, Tina Donahue, Lynne Roberts

Rediscover Life Thursday, February 10: Missy Martine, Jillian Chantal

Magical Journeys Friday, February 11: Melissa Bradley, Laura Tolomei, KR Beiley, Debora Ryan

The Lighter Side of Love Saturday, February 12: Daisy Harris, Rachel Clark

The Poetry of Love Sunday, February 13: Erin M. Leaf, Larion Wills, Frances Pauli

Please stop by each day and share your thoughts.

Wishing you lots of steam!

Michele Zurlo

AND here is Michele/Debora’s bad boy!


Sayde’s Cowboy Eye Candy Tidbit 9/24

Today’s Tidbit is an easy one, someone should guess my cowboy today.

He was the 2008 PBR World Champion!

Now for the photo:


Oh my poor baby! I will come help you up, and make you feel better!

Okay, Now my question for my writers:

When you write your query, how many drafts do you go through?

A friend of mine just made her “hundredth” draft and I’m on my thrid for the book I’m querying. I am obsessive too. If the query isn’t just the way I want it I get thrown off, I start debating whether the book is good enough, I mean If I can’t write two good paragraphs then surely that means the entire book sucks.

Do you get these thoughts? Does the query process drive you absolutely mad?


Remember to leave a comment and I’ll enter you in the drawing for tomorrow. I draw for a FREE book at 10pm.

Sunday Afternoon

The muse is visiting my house today.  Lots of good words flowing.  I’m working on what I am calling The Italian novel.  The reason for that is that every working title I try ends up sounding a bit insane or inane.   I am happy with how it is progressing.  This week has been productive.  I know I am making progress if I start to fall for my hero and mine is beginning to grow on me.  This particular hero took a while as I am used to writing Beta males and Dario, in this book, is an Alpha .  Alphas are harder for me because they remind me of certain lawyers I deal with in my day job that I’d like to slap rather than get cozy with.   Here is a male Italian model to enjoy:  Emanuele from Rome


Well, hey there world!

This is the fabulous new home of Southern Sizzle Romance. We write in a wide variety of romance genres, so whether your tastes run to hard-ridin’, hard-lovin’ cowboys or those wicked Regency gentlemen, we’ve got something you’ll like!
Come check us out often — we have lots of things to say. Love us, hate us, or just be bewildered by us, we guarantee you’ll never be bored with us!

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