Mamma Romance

What a romance author can teach her son.

The other day I was hit on in the most awkward way.  The worst part wasn’t that the man in question was a federal employee, with the power to make a simple task nearly impossible. It wasn’t that it happened with about twenty other people listening.  The fact that I’m happily married and let him know it was not the biggest issue. Yes, all that is cringe worthy enough!  The worst part of it was the terrible example the whole thing set for my son. 

If a romance author can clear anything up, it’s the right way and the wrong way to leave an impression on a woman. One day soon, I see a sit down in our future.  I may not be able to help him with math anymore, but how to speak to the female heart…this I know.

I think I’ll let him shrug off the willies first. (Never a dull moment.)

The making of a Duo-Cast audiobook - behind the scenes with Polished

         I am a fan of storytelling. I am also a fan of the theater. Put these two interests together and it's no wonder why from the moment I finished my first full length novel, I was DYING to hear it acted out in audio. It took a while to get my rights back, but my 2013 bestselling MMF menage romance is now live on Audible in dynamic Duo-Cast Audio. 

The term Duo-Cast is something I've coined, because though duet format audiobooks are nothing new (albeit more rare than single narration), I believe in creating an experience that captures each and every character as individuals, no matter that only two actors are cast. Duet narration is an appropriate label whenever there are two narrators. When producing polished with CTR Audio, I wanted to ensure that the listener could easily forget there are only two narrators, because each character lives independently in their performances. One stage actor playing many roles is different than a soliloquy. I didn't want an audiobook that was in fact a book narrated simply for the convenience of expanding the opportunities to read. It was important to me that Rory, Spencer and Jack came to life for my audience. Polished is an audiobook experience you don't just hear...It's one that you feel!

Stream a 6 chapter preview!

          It all started with casting. Of paramount importance was finding the right voices. In George Orlando I found someone that could handle Spencer's rugged yet gentle demeanor, his stoic moments along with his dry humor and of course his Queens accent. I first intended to cast Jack separately for Polished, but George was phenomenal in his talent to embody the dichotomy that is Jack Rothman, switching personas effortlessly. Jack's subtle sullenness coursing beneath his confident mask, his sex appeal wafting around him, his dominance and all had to be believable. Only an actor of true ability is able to not only switch accents, but also switch personalities and still keep the flow. 

I pride myself on writing real people, the kind you would expect to know and like. I hope that my readers become their friends, their champions and their defenders along the way. The voices of these characters need to fit like a glove and allow the listener to feel they are truly meeting someone in the flesh. Speaking of real...Rory Campbell is about as real a woman as it gets. Fiercely loyal, both confident and at times insecure, a perfectionist who judges no one but herself, Rory was impeccably performed my Erin Bateman. I found Erin after a painful amount of auditions and it must have been fate, because she gets Rory to her core. I interviewed Erin about her experience recording Polished and also her life as a Voice Actor. It follows below. Swept is currently in the early stages of production and so is Four Real. I'll post soon about the progress and even post a sample or two soon.

Here's Erin's interview and be sure to comment with your thoughts on the preview!rtv

Alyssa: My writing aims to take characters on a journey of emotional growth, challenges them to face hard truths and empowers them to live without regrets.  You embodied Rory Campbell in a way that truly represented her spirit. How would you describe Rory and in what ways did you find a connection with her character? 

Erin: We meet Rory who is confident, sweet, and sexy - someone quite likable! We come to see her as one with her own set of doubts. A woman who, like so many of us, tends to overthink. Who wants to please others.   I both admired and learned from her way of leaning on others for support.  Both Jack and Spence allowed her to realize her issues fully and what she needed to do to overcome them. Not only does she realize the issues but she takes action on the issues.  She deals with it.  That takes confidence.  Confidence is inspiring, sexy, and a turn on!  Who doesn't want to be seen as any of those things? 

Alyssa: Are you a fan of Romance? Having never read one my books before, what surprised you most about Polished?

Erin: I am a fan of all genres - seriously I'm not just saying that like others say "I like all types of music".  It's the relationship and character development that grabbed me.  A good book within its genre needs to be bigger than the stereotypes.  A Romance can be a more than simply love and bedroom scenes.  Why those characters say what they do, react how they react, there’s a story there that goes much deeper.  

Alyssa: Both you and George have amazing range as voice artists.  The intimacy of the scenes in Polished were incredibly real and completely natural. I was endlessly impressed by how seamlessly you blended together, bringing to life each scene as if you were truly in the moment.  How do you get into the “zone” in order to read a scene so authentically?

Erin: There is a reason my studio is on a different floor than where my children play!  The intimacy needs to sound real - I'm not in the booth with George (can we say AWKWARD!?) so it's important to be reading the lines how you imagine someone would be conversing with you ... and yes I mean in a steamy bedroom scene and not a kitchen dinner scene!
Alyssa: Voicing romance is a distinct skill. Delivery of each line of dialogue has to be just right to evoke all the unsaid emotions and motivations laced in the words. Without the benefit of visual interpretation, it’s all up to the voice over artist to make those subtle connections for the listener. How long have you been a Voice Artist and how did you develop your amazing acting skills?

Erin: I've been working with my voice for my forever (a little over 20 years ... however if anyone asks I am 29 and holding).  I read a lot.  I mean A LOT.   I read out loud, to my kids, for enjoyment, and for work (but really... I can put this in the enjoyment category just as easily).  I listen to books too.  It has to sound real.  It's not my words on the paper.  It might not be written the way I would say it but it has to sound like it came from me, the character I'm portraying.  Occasionally I will warm up in character.  Read an entire portion of the book (not recording but that could be funny!) as that character.  Being that character outside of her lines is a must for character development.

Alyssa: What brings you the most joy in your career as a Voice Over Artist?

Erin: I love all the pieces that make the whole.  Reading the words of the author in my head, figuring out just what makes the characters who they are, then telling that story out loud ... the whole process of taking that project from paper to ear is so fun and exciting.  In reality I'm simply sitting in a studio reading out loud...but it's the story and my imagination that make me feel I am entirely someplace else.


Her love was greedy.  Their love was infinite.

Lead singer of the start-up band Four Real, Tricia Donahue left her hometown with one question. How can you love three men at once? She’s convinced herself that it can’t be done—not without living up to her family’s infamous reputation. Now, years later, lead guitarist Michael Hill is touring with world famous TRE, far removed from the small town band he once called his family. Home will never be the same until he makes things right. Keyboarder, Pete Morello and drummer, Marty Pierce were always close, but when the one girl they ever loved disappeared from their life, their casual threesomes and life’s hard knocks revealed the feelings they share for each other. Reunion time for four best friends with unfinished business means they will finally face the music.  Fantasy…meet reality.  


Tricia flicked her finger into the running water for the fourth time, waiting for it to get hot. She shook her head, wondering which was worse, burning extra gas for the old hot water heater or running the stove twice as long trying to boil cold water. Sometimes there didn’t seem to be a good answer, not without costs at both ends.

Hot dogs in the fridge was the one constant thing she could count on when it came to her mother. That wasn’t saying much, she knew. But Tricia had celebrated the unopened pack tucked into the crisper drawer nonetheless.

She’d showered and changed, not wanting to fully admit why. It was easier to tell herself that she just needed to relax. That didn’t explain the extra ten minutes she took wrestling her hair into a perfect messy ponytail and the three different lip gloss shades she tried from her makeup pouch.
When the doorbell rang she nearly jumped out of her skin. Hill was alone, his acoustic guitar slung over his shoulder. Tricia half expected to find Marty and Pete behind him on the porch. Whether she was hoping for a chaperone, or an audience she wasn’t sure.

“Hey,” he said with something expectant in his sapphire eyes.

“Hotdogs are boiling,” Tricia said, knowing that it didn’t answer the question she’d read in his gaze.

“Cool,” he replied with a nod. He stepped through the doorway into the modest living room and smiled. “The place hasn’t changed a bit.”

“Except for the new couch.”

“And the new you, all grown up.” Hill took three slow steps towards her. “I can’t even describe how much I missed you.”

The burn on Tricia’s cheeks couldn’t quite rival the chills down her spine. “I missed you too, Hill.”
He stopped in his tracks and just looked at her for a moment. Tricia suddenly felt pinned in the narrow path of his gaze. He took two steps closer, pressing into her personal space, only inches from touching.

“What are we doing? Why are we dancing around this?” He said, the heat of him through the hoodie permeating her cotton t-shirt. His lips brushed against hers; his hands found their way to the curve of her jaw.

“I don’t know.” Right then with the pads of his fingers pressing just hard enough to show her that he didn’t want to let go for anything, Tricia could not think of one good reason why they shouldn’t kiss. So she took a leap of faith and leaned in, catching his lip with a soft nip of her teeth before he released his hunger for her. He kissed her so deeply that Tricia melted in surrender.

 His hands sought every part of her, falling over her shoulders and onto her breasts as he lowered himself to his knees and inhaled her sex though her jeans. It was a purely animalistic gesture, one that hadn’t the tiniest relationship to a cool and practiced seduction. He grabbed hold of her ass cheeks and pressed his nose to her crotch, taking big deep breaths of her scent and letting out blasts of heat through the layers of denim and lace that stood in his way. Tricia moaned, and he did it again.

“Oh, damn T,” he said and raked his fingers into the waistband of her jeans, working her button loose and ripping down the zipper. He took another purchase of air against her panties and exhaled with a flat tongue finding the very top of her clit. Her skinny jeans curled like a shedding skin as he tore them from her legs. Then she was in his arms, her jeans still bunched at her ankles, her black lace thong soaked already, more from her own anticipation.

He carried her into the small kitchen, where a big pot of water gurgled and steamed. Tricia was placed onto the counter, in the corner where two walls of cabinets met. Her bound ankles dangled for only seconds before Hill slung the bunched denim over his head, to rest on the back of his neck. His mouth was on her then, lapping at the already drenched lace. He laid his tongue flat against her clit, leveraging the texture of the fabric against her overly sensitive nub. He sucked on the scrap of fabric and then worked his tongue around the side for a swipe of tender flesh. The contrast of his silky tongue was mind-ravaging. Tricia moaned and Hill didn’t stop for even a moment to look at her. Next, two fingers were inside of her, her cunt taking lavish slurps from them.

“Fuck, you are so wet,” Hill whispered, and stood to crush his mouth against hers again.

Tricia couldn’t remember the last time she had wanted something so badly. Yet something forbidden and selfish quaked at the back of her mind. The setting was familiar and so were the feelings. The entire time they’d been together Tricia had put the brakes on when things got too hot, and it wasn’t to preserve her virtue. The images saturated her mind; the need was far too potent to ignore. As turned on as Hill got her, there was a part of her that called out for his two friends, and in truth they were the other loves of her life. Before all the kissing and their initial forays into oral sex, it had been easy to fit in the middle of Hill, Pete and Marty. Flirtations were tossed back and forth with each of them at a breakneck rate. Casual touches disguised more needful intentions. But when Hill had the green light on her pleasure, she drowned in the guilt of wishing Pete and Marty were close and ready to have their piece of her too. So before Hill could get a condom on, she’d end it, telling him to stop. How could she deserve his pleasure, when she knew it wouldn’t be enough?

No, things hadn’t changed much at all, because her cunt ached for him and yet her heart knew that it wasn’t just for him alone. “Hill…,” she spoke against his lips.

“Yeah, baby?”

“I can’t do this.” She reached between her legs and stilled his hand, pushing him away with the other.

Hill had to duck back under her legs, as they were still locked around him by her jeans. The moment he was free from her she hopped off the counter and scrambled to get them in place. Her wetness mocked her. Her heart ached at the look in his eyes.

“You’re still mad about the song,” he said.

Tricia blinked at him and opened her mouth. Then she closed it. The next time she began to speak she knew a lie would come out, but knowing it didn’t stop her. “Yes. Sorry.” She turned from him as the tears gathered in the corners of her eye. What was wrong with her? Hill wanted her. Marty and Pete belonged to each other. How screwed up was she that the simple answer to be with Hill and Hill alone didn’t seem to make sense? “I think the hotdogs are ready.”

“Yeah, right. OK, I get it.” Hill ran his thumb over his glistening lip and darted his tongue over the tip. He adjusted himself then, shifting his hard shaft to no avail. It still stabbed at his zipper.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered.

“Stop saying that. I understand.”

But he didn’t understand at all. Tricia busied herself with the bread box, searching for the buns she’d expected would be there. “Sorry, we only have white bread.”

Hill raised his eyebrow at her. “Language, young lady.”

That made her smile. He always had a way of accomplishing that. “Then I’m not sorry,” she teased, thankful for the lightened mood.

“I think that might be worse,” he laughed softly.

Hill sat down at the table and pulled a flip pad and pencil from his back pocket. He held it up. “Old school.”

Tricia smiled, and put a steaming hot wiener atop a slice of white toast on the table in front of him. 

“This too.”

“True. Guess I kind of like things that way.”

“You don’t miss your big time life in L.A.? Not even a little bit?” She sat down across from him and picked up her hot dog, squirting some ketchup on it before taking a bite.
He shrugged. “I feel like a different person out there. No family, no one who really knows me.”

“I moved to Manhattan for that exact reason,” Tricia said on half a laugh.

“You running away and me running back, and that is the story of us, T. We’re never running towards the same thing.”

Tricia flashed her eyes at him before grabbing the relish. “Always running in the wrong direction.” She took another bite of her hot dog and chewed. “Right past my own reflection.”
Hill didn’t say anything. He just picked up the pencil.

Tricia weighed the next thought that came to mind and tried to decide if it should come out. In the end, there wasn’t a choice. He heart needed to speak. Hill was her only translator. “Don’t think you can hear me with this bad connection.” Tricia didn’t look up from her plate.

“T, I can always hear you.”

“Just write, Hill.”

“Yes ma’am. Bad connection.” He wrote the words. “That’s the refrain.”

“You think?”

“Yeah. We got a bad connection.” He looked up at her with a measure of sadness in his eyes that cut her in two. “It fits.”

She tucked her lips inward in the absent way that always drew a snide remark from her fourth grade teacher. Chewing on the answer won’t make it taste any better.

“Carla says that I should go with you to L.A. to straighten everything out. She made me promise I would leave as soon as possible.”

Hill nodded. “She called me while I was on the way over here to check if you’d agreed to go.”

“You two are conspiring again.”

“Whatever it takes.” He took another bite. “What’s the next line?”

Tricia got up to look for something for them to drink in the fridge. “Coke? Sorry there’s nothing harder.”

“Coke is fine.” Hill said, picking up the pencil. “Nothing harder…” He tapped the eraser on the table to a beat of his own making. “Nothing harder than touching perfection. 

Get those ear buds out...

A Sensual Audio story where you are the main character. 

Have you had some fun with AMSRotica? The way our bodies react to sound is a phenomenon. I don't need to be a scientist to know there's something chemical happening. We must be hardwired in some way to respond at the ready when we hear just the right whisper, or growl or moan.  An art in its own right, Erotic Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response techniques are simply candy for your ears.  I couldn't wait to be a part of the movement.  Thanks to Gael of Galeforce Audio for allowing me to write him a little something kinky and sweet. 
Here is Birthday Girl
Take a break, grab your ear buds  and let Gael give you your surprise.  NSFW