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.

Check out my website:
Follow me on FacebookTwitterInstagramBookBub, and Book+Main
Sign up for my newsletter:




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:




Lessons from the Olympics.

This is a conversation I’ve had with my hubby three times in the last seven days.

Hubby: What are we watching tonight?

Me: The Olympics.

Hubby: Again? Seriously? Isn’t anything else on?


It’s fair to say I’ve watched the Olympics all day, every day since the opening ceremony. I’ve seen everything from curling (which I swear was invented by drunken, bored Scotsmen) to snowboarding to figure skating.  The Winter Olympics are always my favourite.

I’m taking a few lessons away from the athletes as well. I thought I’d share them.

  1. Never give up. Even if you fall on your face, you might still win in the end if you keep going.
  2. Tune out the critics (even if it’s your own self-doubt.)
  3. Sometimes winning comes without a medal. Set your own definitions for success.
  4. No matter how inspired. I’ll never be a figure skater. I’d probably maim myself in the attempt. lol
  5. Find joy in what you’re doing.

How about you? Are you enjoying the Olympics? What’s your favourite event so far?


Friendship is really one of the themes that connect the Sin Bin series.

Strong friendships run through each novel in the series. Relationships that are strong enough for friends to become family. The Lion Tamer is no different. In fact, it might be the story where those connections are even more important.

Scottie & Gray both suffered through terrible childhoods. In their experiences, blood family have hurt them more than anyone else. It’s their friends who gather around them to support them.

One of my favourite friendships in the entire series is actually the one that has developed between Gray and Alice & Alex, the autistic twins who first appear in The Royal Marine.

Here are just a few reasons why:

  1. Is there anything better than watching as hard-as-nails marine become gentle and kind?
  2. Alice and Alex have gained an immense amount of confidence from it.
  3. Origami parties. The visual. The visual is priceless.
  4. Patience.
  5. Snow angels. (You’ll have to read The Unexpected Santa to see why.)

Do you enjoy platonic relationships in romance novels?

What’s your favourite non-romantic relationship in The Sin Bin?


Author Friends: Eva King

Are you a panster or a plotter?
I’m a pantser through and through. I cannot, for the life of me, plan a book in advance. Believe me, I’ve tried. But it was absolute shite.
Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?
Yes, I do. I’ve suffered from it. You just stare at an empty, blank page for hours.
The only way I’ve managed to get over it was by stopping writing all together and read as much as I can. Then I try again after a couple of days.
What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over. 
Argh! Do I have to say? Right, okay… Twilight. I think I’ve read it about ten times. It isn’t a classic, but I see Stephenie Meyer as an inspiration. If she could do it, so could I.
Describe your perfect writing space: 
My perfect writing space would be an empty house for a whole day with no Wifi. Just me and my laptop. However, the chances of that happening are very slim, so I just use my mobile phone on the train as I make my way to work.
Do you write your title first or story first?
None of the above. I write the characters first. Everything else comes after.
And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:


I needed this land, like I needed air. 
Filling my lungs with the fresh air, I imagined my children, running wild, climbing trees. Growing older and having their own kids.
The circle of life would happen right here, underneath my feet. 
I circled around and faced the realtor, “I want to buy this land. Can I sign the papers now?”
She beamed, “yes, of course.”
Author Links:

Recovering from a broken relationship, Emma Mitchell moves in with her best friend. Her life is quiet and uneventful, just how she likes it. Little does she know that the events of the following months will change her life forever.

Famous Hollywood actor James McNair is a renowned womaniser with a penchant for partying and hitting the tabloids for all the wrong reasons. When a night of partying a little too hard means he finally has to take stock and reevaluate his lifestyle, a week away from the flashing lights of Hollywood is just what he needs. What better place to hide than in his childhood home in Edinburgh, Scotland?

When the old friends are reunited, feelings resurface and sparks fly. But James must keep the pretence of his new persona until the premier of his biggest film in his career. He just has no idea if he’ll be able to keep his feelings for Emma under wraps until then.

Sometimes it takes more than damage control to find a happily ever after.

Buy Link

My Year of No.

Several friends of mine tend to have a ‘word of the year’ that seems to sum up how they intend to approach a new year. I usually don’t. For 2018, I had one word on my mind – No.




This is my year of No.

One thing I’ve noticed about myself (and other autistics) is we loathe confrontation so much that we end up saying yes when we’d rather say no. We get roped into doing more and more if only to get out of a conversation or argument. Being afraid to hurt someone’s feelings is also part of it.

Last year felt like a year of yes. It was completely unintentionally. And by the end of 2017, I felt exhausted physically, emotionally, and every other way you can. I’d pushed myself to do more and more and more. And had less and less and less as a result, if that makes any sense at all.

So this year is my year of no.

I’m not saying yes to getting involved in things (whatever they may be) when I’m honestly not interested or if it pushes me beyond what’s healthy for me.

I’d actually started doing it in November of last year and ended up writing the best novel I’ve ever written to date.

If life is all about balance, a bit of no sometimes helps keeps you from tipping over.

(That made no sense.)

How about you?

Do you struggle with saying no to opportunities even when you should?

Do you have a word for the year?