Friday, October 16, 2015

Featured Guest Author: Tara Lain Talks Titles Including Excerpt And Giveaway


Once upon a time a much loved storyteller named Tara journeyed to the land of Sinfully on a quest to introduce a new series of sexy tales and enchanting romances. Accompanying her was the mysterious ‘Fairy-godfather’ figure, Carstairs Pennymaker, weaving his own special magic and bringing Happy Ever Afters to whoever he takes under his wing, and in tale number one it’s a couple named Sinders and Ash who benefit from his own particular brand of big hearted meddling, including a midnight ball and some rather fetching crystal sandals! Sound familiar? LOL….

Tara also set a question which could win you the choice of an ebook from her backlist titles. So make sure you enter the Rafflecopter and don’t forget to check out the fabulous excerpt!


Talking Titles With Tara

Hi everyone! I’m Tara Lain. I’m so happy to be back at Sinfully celebrating the re-release of my contemporary interpretation of a fairy tale theme. It’s called SINDERS AND ASH. Guess which fairy tale trope it interprets! LOL. Several people have been kind enough to tell me how much they love the title of the book, so I thought I’d share with you something about my passion for book titles.

Many authors create book titles after they write the book. Some authors hate creating titles – period. Not me. I think my love of titles must spring from my many years as an advertising creative director, coming up with ad headlines. A title is a bit like a headline – it encapsulates in a few words the message of the ad with, hopefully, excitement and intrigue. Also, you seldom write ad copy until you have the headline. I feel the same way about books. I usually have my title at the same time I start the book – and sometimes before. I’ve actually had titles suggest the story – like I decided the hero in Fire Balls would be a firefighter after I came up with the title, and with Hearts and Flour, I literally had a title before I had a story.

Only occasionally do I change the title after the book is well along – but it does happen. I had a title I didn’t like for Knight of Ocean Avenue, but the first time my hero, Shaz, called Billy Ballew his knight, I knew I had my title. That title inspired the others. I was playing around with words that might go with Knight. Knave was a natural and I thought of Knave of Hearts. No wait. What if it was Knave of Broken Hearts? The title cried out for a cardiologist hero!

Naming my fairy tale romances has been huge fun. I names my hero in the Cinderella retelling Mark Sintorella. That suggested that his nickname, since he cleans fireplaces in his job, would be Sinders. At that moment, I had to name my other hero Ash and Sinders and Ash was born. The next book in the series (releasing Nov 25th) is a Snow White contemporary tale. I’ve had the title since before I ever created a single aspect of the story – it’s called Driven Snow. As a child, I remember hearing the phrase “pure as the driven snow” so many times and I knew my hero in this book would not only be virginal, he’d be driven by the threats of the evil “queen”, so I’ve kept the title since I first thought of it. I’m now writing the third book in the series, which will be released at the beginning of the summer – but I’ll save the title of that one for a later surprise.

Do you ever buy books by their titles?

Would you like to WIN a book of your choice from my backlist? Be sure to enter below.


 Sinders And Ash
Tara Lain

Sinders and Ash

Publishers ~ Dreamspinner Press

Published ~ 14th October 2015 (Second Edition)

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance





2nd Edition
A Pennymaker Tale
Housekeeper Mark Sintorella (Sinders) works diligently at a resort hotel while designing clothes anonymously, hoping to get into fashion school. Then his carefully planned life is upended with the arrival of Ashton Armitage, son of the fifth richest man in America—and the most beautiful guy Mark has ever seen. Ash must find a wife or he’ll lose his grandfather’s inheritance, and he settles on Bitsy Fanderel. But secretly Ash is gay, and the guy who cleans the fireplaces sets his heart ablaze.
Further stirring the pot is the little elf of a man, Carstairs Pennymaker, who has Mark wearing his own designs and masquerading as a girl to impress the fashion investors in the hotel. When the clock strikes twelve, two beautiful princesses line up for the wedding—but one isn’t a woman. Will the slipper fit? Only Mr. Pennymaker knows for sure. First edition published by Amber Quill Press, LLC, 2012


Purchase Links




Excerpt:Sinders and Ash(The Pennymaker Tales)

Pennymaker turned and looked at Mark. “What are you working on?”

“Excuse me? I, uh, have to clean some fireplaces this morning. You know they keep the rooms cool just so they can use them? Makes work for me.”

“That’s not what I mean, of course.” Pennymaker turned back to the rack and pushed some jeans aside. “Aha!” His hand shot through the garments to the dress form. He made an opening in the clothes and stepped through to stand beside the red dress. “Perfect. Just beautiful. What a talent.”

“Excuse me?”

Pennymaker beamed at him. “You have exceptional design skills.”

God, it was hard to not be flattered. “Thank you, sir.” But how had Mr. P known to look for the dress? Who’d told him?

Pennymaker walked over to the chair and sat. It creaked. Hopefully the tiny man wouldn’t strain the old wood too much. “I would like to show that dress to some people.”

“Uh, who?”

“Let’s say some potential investors.”

No. He couldn’t get excited. “Really, sir? You’re in the clothing business?”

“I’m in many businesses, my boy.”

Okay, try not to be suspicious. “How did you know I was a clothing designer?”

The little man waved a hand. “That lovely T-shirt, of course.”

“No one told you?”

“Who would tell me?”

Had him there.

Pennymaker stepped back and surveyed the dress. “Now, who is your model?”

What? Mark cocked his head.

“Whom did you set the dress form to?”

“Oh, uh, myself. I, uh, don’t have anyone else. I’m pretty slim, so it works.”

“Perfect. Perfect. When do you have to be at work?”

This conversation was crazy. “In about an hour. This is my morning off. Unless they need me, of course.”

“Good. Put on the dress.”

“What? Why?”

“We’re going for a little walk through the hotel. You’ll be my… niece. Go on, go on.” He made a shooing gesture with his hands.

Mark shook his head. “Sir, I know I fit the dress to me, but that’s because I don’t have anyone else. I’m not a transvestite.”

“Never said you were, dear boy. But these people I want to have see the dress will be much more amenable to taking your designs seriously if they think of the idea themselves rather than me telling them. That’s how we all are, now isn’t it? I want them to see the clothes. We don’t have another model, and we don’t want anyone else in on our secret.”

Secret? “What if someone recognizes me?”

Pennymaker cocked his head. “That’s very unlikely. You do a good job making yourself plain and unmemorable with your cap and glasses.”

Mark felt the blush. Shoot. The man had him dead to rights.

“Besides, people see what they expect, and they certainly don’t expect to see Mark Sintorella in a dress. Now, put it on.”

Mark stepped behind the rack of clothing. He stripped to his boxer briefs and stopped. What the hell was he doing? He could jeopardize his job for this crazyassed little guy with his hairbrained scheme.

The voice came from the other side of the clothes. “Do you have it on?”

“Sir, I don’t mean to be rude, but are you sure about this? I really need the money I get from working here.”

“Tut-tut, my boy. Hurry. I want to make one tour around the lobby and public rooms before you start your shift. Time’s a wastin’.”

Mark pulled the dress over his head and let it fall into place. The skirt was just full enough to swing when he walked, so no one would notice his cock under it. “Uh, I don’t have any boobs.”

“Let me see.”

“See what? What I haven’t got?”

He stepped out. Pennymaker looked at him studiously. “Gorgeous. You don’t have breasts, but then neither do some women to speak of. I’m more concerned about the hairy legs. Go shave, quickly.”

“What? Sir, I don’t think so….”

“This won’t be your only modeling assignment, I suspect, so think of it as a long-term investment. Consider that brilliant young model who used to walk the catwalks in both male and female shows. You’re at least her equal in beauty.”


“No buts. This is your future. Now go!”


 Connect with Tara

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!




Tara is generously gifting one lucky reader an ebook from her backlist titles. For a chance to win just enter the Rafflecopter below. GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. YAY! CAn't wait to read this!

  2. Not entirely. I definitely also read the blurb. :)

  3. Some times a title will make me laugh but I'd always read the blurb first. One of my favourite titles was "Unicorns and Rainbow Poop" by Sam Kadence.

  4. the title catches my eye first as well as the cover

  5. I don't think I've bought one just from a title, but a clever one certainly helps!


  6. Yes, tittles and covers catch my eye and my interest sometimes... But I normally skim the book and read the blurb before buying anything.

  7. A good title definitely can make me look more seriously at a book, and a great title can make me hit the buy button!

  8. A catchy title will stop me in my tracks. If the blurb sounds interesting and the excerpt doesn't suck rocks, I check out the book reviews (all 5-star reviews have me running for the hills). Then I hit the buy button. Sinders and Ash sounds like a wonderful story. Thanks for the giveaway.
    --Judy S
    j dot stonewright at gmail dot com

  9. A title has attracted me but Iw on't buy it unless I like the blurb as well.

  10. Maybe a combination of title and cover...especially at the library book sale. I usually see the title on the spine first, then if I pull it out and the cover is interesting I'll buy it without reading the jacket.

  11. No not usually. I very rarely do it based on the title. I'll do it if I see a particular author though without reading the blurb.

  12. Getting a title for your book is like naming your baby - it's gotta be just right :) A good title will catch my eye, but unless it's a must buy author, I usually have to read the blurb before purchasing - sorry!

  13. I can be intrigued by the title but unless I like what's in the blurb also I won't buy the book. That also works in reverse as well, If I don't t necessarily like the title but if the blurb is interesting I will still consider purchasing :)

  14. At the very beginning, yes, I bought books that catch me with their title and cover. Later, I start to read the synopsis to have an idea of the story.

  15. I have, but usually I'll read the blurb too.

  16. Sometimes the title does attract me and prompts me to read the blurb and excerpt. After doing so, then I make my mind if I'm interested in reading it.
    Congratulations, Tara, and I wish you so much success! I love reading your books.
    taina1959 @

  17. The title may get my attention but I by my books based on the blurb.

  18. Hi everyone -- Sorry to be so quiet. I was at GRL and had a great time, but it was soooo busy. I'm really interested in your comments about titles and blurbs. I also love writing blurbs, so you've underscored the importance of those critters for me. I really appreciate you stopping by and thanks so much to those who are checking out Sinders and Ash! Hugs to all! : )