Book Review: The Lion Tamer

“The book is beautifully written and is easily my favorite in the series so far. ” 5 Stars from Momma Says to Read or Not To Read


Deja Who?

There’s no reason for the subject to be spelt wrong. It just made me laugh. I am a nerd.

I think most writers probably have certain themes that follow them through their stories. Character traits, or backstories, or tropes we can’ t help using. Often times, we might not even realise we do it.

It’s a question I’ve had on my mind for a while now.

What are the ones to follow me through my writing?

Here are the ones I thought about (and maybe why):

  • Banter

  • Adoption – I’ve had a few characters who were adopted, or orphans, or foster kids. It’s probably because I’m adopted, so there’s a wealth of emotional stuff there I can explore.


  • Autistic Characters – I’m autistic. That one is:

  • Pets. All the pets. So many pets. From Taine’s hamster to Sherlock in After the Scrum. I’m a fan of memorable animals.
  • Absurd moments. I find absurdity humourous. (Like giving a large rugby player a hamster for a pet.)
  • Rough childhoods. A theme running through many of my stories are characters who have survived abusive or neglectful childhoods. Again, as something I had personal experience with, I think it’s important that not ALL of your characters have blissful, amazing parents. I’ve found as a reader that I cherish the books that I can relate to. When I find a character who has pulled through terrible times as a kid, I see a bit of myself.
  • Nerds. I’m quite a bit geeky, so admit to giving some of those quirks to my characters.

How about you? If you’re a writer, do you notice certain themes consistent throughout your different novels?

As a reader? Do you pick up on these sorts of things?

Author Friends: Leslie McAdam

Are you a panster or a plotter?

Plotter all the way. I tried writing a book once as a pantser. It wasn’t pretty, and I don’t have the patience to rewrite that much. I try to get it as well-written as I can the first time around, which requires a lot of planning.

Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?

No. I don’t. Normally the problem is in thinking, not in writing. But since I think while writing, it’s the same thing for me. If I need to write, “I need to write, I need to write, I need to write,” I’ll do that. Sometimes the pump needs priming, so I’ll just write junk until I get the word count down and then I try another day.

What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over.

Only one? A House Like A Lotus by Madeline L’Engle. Followed closely by anything by Kristen Ashley or R.L. Mathewson.

Describe your perfect writing space:

Not interrupted every minute by my kids.
No, seriously, I can write almost anywhere. Normally, I’m in an ugly, old, pink armchair that has seen better days with a lap desk and my laptop. But I like coffee shops, too. Or the side of the road with a notebook and pencil. 

Do you write your title first or story first?

Nearly always the title. I often construct a story based on the title.

And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:

Well. Just because Facebook kicked him off for nudity didn’t mean it was wrong. His body? One to worship. Lean, sinewy muscles backed with strength and power. Soft, tan skin. A few tattoos based on stories he’d never tell. He wasn’t about to go down fighting. He’d start his own website, more popular than anything on social media. If only he could get the funding.
Thankfully his best friend was a venture capitalist wanting to expand into new areas. Unfortunately he was also the brother of the only girl he’d ever loved…and lost.



Leslie McAdam is a California girl who loves romance, Little Dude, and well-defined abs. She lives in a drafty old farmhouse on a small orange tree farm in Southern California with her husband and two small children. Leslie always encourages her kids to be themselves – even if it means letting her daughter wear leopard print from head to toe. An avid reader from a young age, she will always trade watching TV for reading a book, unless it’s Top Gear. Or football. Leslie is employed by day but spends her nights writing about the men you fantasize about. She’s unapologetically sarcastic and notoriously terrible at comma placement.

Always up for a laugh, Leslie tries to see humor in all things. When she’s not in the writing cave you’ll find her fangirling over Beck, camping with her family, or mixing up oil paints to depict her love of outdoors on canvas.

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How to Create Authentic Autistic Characters with 10 Questions.

As part of my How to Write Autistics series, I thought I’d share a list of questions that can help create an authentic character who doesn’t feel like a stereotype.

And I should point out these are just question that occurred to me. As with anything, other autistics might have their own thoughts. But here we go.

Ten Questions to ask your autistic characters (some might apply just generally to neurally diverse characters):

1. Were they diagnosed late in life or early?

It can affect how they develop coping skills.

2. Are they self-diagnosed?

3. Do they suffer from hypersensitivity? Are they overly sensitive to light, sounds, textures?

For example, I can’t stand the sensation of most fabrics touching my fingertips. It makes drying off with a towel or folding laundry particularly frustrating. I often have to repeatedly dip my hands in water or lotion my fingers to deal with it.

4. What are their special interests?

I hate the term special interest…but obsession sounds equally wrong. Most autistics I know have specific topics or things that qualify as their special interest. Some of us have lifelong ones while others are temporary. Some of my special interests include Bioware Video Games, TV Shows (As Time Goes By  and others), and Football (as in soccer.)

5. How do they stim? Also, how do they feel about their stim? How do those around them react to their stim?

6. What coping mechanisms do they use for dealing with social stresses?

7. How do they deal with meltdowns and/or shutdowns?

8. Are their family supportive of them finding independence as an adult?

9. How do they deal with eye contact?

10. Do they live atypically? In other words, do they try to blend in and mask their neural divergence?

I’m sure there are a ton of other questions.

There’s a brilliant Youtube channel that can be an amazing resource for you (there are others, but this is one of my favourites):


Author Friends: Jodi Payne

Are you a panster or a plotter?

I’m that rare hybrid bird. I’m a plotting panster. I’ve discovered that I am pulled in so many directions that if I don’t make some scene notes and jot down ideas about the direction the train is headed, I lose them and can’t recall those details when I am writing. So I write out key scenes on index cards, loosely based on a three-act-play sort of structure, and then I know things will move and change as the characters develop more organically.

Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?

I definitely do. The only thing I know how to do is to write something unrelated for a while. So write a poem or a blog post. Write flash fic or a letter to someone. The important thing for me is to keep writing, because if I’m blocked and I get out of the habit of writing at the same time, I’m doomed. It’s extremely difficult to get back on the wagon.

What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over.

You’ll never believe this, but I’m not a comfort reader. I know, that’s not what an author is supposed to say! Sorry. I do have favorite books–Beloved (Toni Morrison), Hamlet, Good Omens (Gaiman and Pratchett), Calvin & Hobbes–but I don’t comfort read. I listen to music when that’s what I’m looking for. I’m a huge music fan.

Describe your perfect writing space:

Lots of natural light, decent speakers, and a clear desk. When I can I like to get a good view – ocean, mountains, park, trees – something to stare at when I’m thinking that’s bigger than I am and full of fresh air.

Do you write your title first or story first?

The story first. Ask any editor I’ve ever had. I am terrible with titles. The story is frequently written and submitted with a “working title” because I can’t come up with them on my own. So stressful!

And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:

Oh my God, I have been so busy lately. And now it’s crazy Tuesday, as I call it., one of the busiest days of the week. It’s up early to drive the kids to school, then it’s off to work, a lunch hour meeting, rushing out in time to pick up the kids after work, hurry to Panera and get them fed, then drop one off here and one off there, by 7:00pm. I have to pick up one at 8:00pm and another at 8:30pm. But in the middle of this crazy day I get to steal one solid, blissfully quiet hour. And you know what I do with it?

I go to Starbucks.

I do. I get a latte, usually with something sweet in it like caramel or vanilla. I take it to a table where I sit, alone, and do something really exciting like watch people out the window running around just like I was.

And I drink it.

I drink it slowly, savoring every uninterrupted sip. Every minute that no one is talking to me. Every second a phone doesn’t ring. One hour of not making myself accountable. I don’t run errands. I don’t catch up on paperwork. That’s my time. Mine.


I jealously protect that hour like Gollum hoards The One Ring.


Jodi Payne takes herself way too seriously and has been known to randomly break out in song. Her men are imperfect but genuine, stubborn but likeable, often kinky, and frequently their own worst enemies. They are characters you can’t help but fall in love with while they stumble along the path to their happily ever after. For those looking to get on her good side, Jodi’s addictions include nonfat lattes, Malbec and tequila any way you pour it.






Latest Release

Blurb for Creative Process:

Best-selling thriller author Reese Kelsey knows his career isn’t conducive to romance. He doesn’t work the normal nine-to-five, and sometimes his characters take hold and demand all his attention, causing him to neglect important appointments… and lovers. Rather than go through another heartbreak, Reese contents himself with his small circle of friends-fellow gay New York City artists-and his dedicated publicist, Chad.

Until he sees Owen Mercado lugging his cello toward the subway and impulsively offers him a ride.

Owen has worked long and hard for a career in the symphony, and success comes with a demanding schedule-something Reese understands. Their desires and lifestyles are surprisingly compatible, and Reese and Owen certainly set the bedroom on fire. They’re both carrying baggage, but they fit, and it’s hard not to hope for a future that once seemed impossible.

But when Reese’s work inevitably pulls him into its dark world and refuses to let go, Owen draws a hard line, and Reese discovers he can’t rely on good intentions alone. He will have to control the obsession that drove his other lovers away or risk losing Owen as well.

Buy Link for Creative Process:




Book Review: The Lion Tamer

“It felt like the author was talking about friends you knew and cherished and that’s a real gift to be able to write about characters that feel so real and you’ve a great affection for. I’ve enjoyed being back in the Sin Bin with this lot and this is a great addition to the series. ” 5 Stars from Kirk at OMG Reads

“Gray and Scottie really jumped off the page for me. Their struggle to work out the problems in their relationship while juggling family, friends, and their own anxieties truly made this an interesting book to read.” 5 Stars from Ramona at OMG Reads