Posts Tagged 'Ali Vali'

How Deep is Your Love?

Ali Vali

Beneath The Waves 300 DPI


Ali Vali is the consummate story teller, whether she’s spinning tales about everyone’s favorite gangster, Cain Casey, or penning one of her other adventures in romance. Tune in here for the scoop about her latest novel, Beneath the Waves.




M. Ullrich



M. Ullrich, romance author and sock aficionado, stopped by Recovering Hearts Bookstore during Women’s Week to talk to me about her latest novel, Life in Death, a moving story of second chance love. Click here for the story behind the story.

Women’s Week in Ptown

By Heather Blackmore

Tell Me Something Good panelists (L-R): Radclyffe, Aurora Rey (moderator), Melissa Brayden, KC Richardson, Tina Michele, Holly Stratimore, Heather Blackmore

Tell Me Something Good panelists (L-R): Radclyffe, Aurora Rey (moderator), Melissa Brayden, KC Richardson, Tina Michele, Holly Stratimore, Heather Blackmore

Under the Gun panelists (L-R): Carsen Taite, Ashley Bartlett, Ali Vali, Samantha Boyette, VK Powell, Sophia Kell Hagin

Under the Gun panelists (L-R): Carsen Taite, Ashley Bartlett, Ali Vali, Samantha Boyette, VK Powell, Sophia Kell Hagin

Women’s Week in Provincetown, MA is a celebration of all things lesbian. It happens annually around Columbus Day, this year October 10-16th. There’s music, comedy, art, films, local tours, LGBTQ information, author readings, theater events, get-togethers over food, sailing, sports, and wine, and more. And while there are plenty of organized offerings, it’s fun just to walk down the street. You bump into people you know. It’s a safe, welcoming, warm environment where LGBTQ people, especially lesbians, can simply be themselves.

It’s Getting Hot in Here (L-R): Melissa Brayden (moderator), Charlotte Greene, Maggie Cummings, Kris Bryant, Sandy Lowe, Fiona Riley, MJ Williams

It’s Getting Hot in Here (L-R): Melissa Brayden (moderator), Charlotte Greene, Maggie Cummings, Kris Bryant, Sandy Lowe, Fiona Riley, MJ Williamz


This was my second time at Women’s Week, and for readers, it offers an exciting array of choices. Bold Strokes Books put on a bunch of author events (more on that later). Bywater Books was there, Indie authors were there, Golden Crown Literary Society members were there, as well as others. The town swarmed with some of my favorite writers in the lesfic community, from everyone on the BSB list below, to non BSB authors such as Lynn Ames, Georgia Beers, KB Draper, and Rachel Spangler.


Badges, Stripes, and Medals book signing (L-R): Jessica L. Webb, KC Richardson, Jean Copeland, Emily Smith

Badges, Stripes, and Medals book signing (L-R): Jessica L. Webb, KC Richardson, Jean Copeland, Emily Smith

One of the things I love about lesfic is the massive choice we now have in genre selection. From short-stories to non-fiction, romance to erotica, historical fiction to the paranormal, science fiction to mysteries, young adult to romantic intrigue, there’s something for everyone. Author events at Women’s Week give us a chance to sample from these options, learn about new authors, and hear from veterans.



Another thing I love about Women’s Week is the camaraderie. I met a ton of authors and readers. From formal meet-and-greets to informal get-togethers over meals and drinks, these readers and authors are mostly just down-to-earth, nice, fun people. The established authors are generally gracious and warm, the newer ones are excited and nervous, and those in between are in turns chillax, giddy, anxious, or troublemaking. The whole week feels a bit like lesbian summer camp (except for bouts of chilly weather).





The reason for this blog is to encourage those of you who enjoy lesfic and are wondering what it would be like to attend Women’s Week, to try to make it up to Ptown for a few days next year. There really are dozens of daily events of all kinds, so you don’t have to spend all your days inside listening to readings and Q&A sessions. Ptown is gorgeous and Women’s Week has a lot to offer.


Emily Smith and Laydin Michaels

Emily Smith and Laydin Michaels


But when you do want to learn about new books or listen to or meet some of your favorite authors, Women’s Week provides plenty of opportunities for you to do so. This year, BSB put on 8 diverse panels and 4 Q&A sessions and brought 30 authors to Ptown. All events are free and there is no hard sell. Obviously BSB would love to sell books, but there’s zero pressure. As with the meet-and-greet I attended 2 years ago, this one also offered anyone with the slightest gumption to walk up to their favorite authors, introduce themselves, and chat. There is nothing intimidating about it, except for the usual hurdle some of us introverts experience in social situations!

Love is in the Air Q&A (L-R): Aurora Rey, CA Popovich, Fiona Riley, KC Richardson, Sandy Lowe (moderator), Kris Bryant

Love is in the Air Q&A (L-R): Aurora Rey, CA Popovich, Fiona Riley, KC Richardson, Sandy Lowe (moderator), Kris Bryant


If you haven’t seen the BSB schedule, here were the authors in attendance this year:

Ashley Bartlett, Heather Blackmore, Samantha Boyette, Melissa Brayden, Kris Bryant, Jean Copeland, Maggie Cummings, Jackie D, CF Frizzell, Charlotte Greene, Sophia Kell Hagin, Sandy Lowe, Laydin Michaels, Tina Michele, Jaycie Morrison, C.A. Popovich, VK Powell, Radclyffe, Aurora Rey, KC Richardson, Fiona Riley, Emily Smith, Holly Stratimore, Carsen Taite, TJ Thomas, Julie Tizard, M. Ullrich, Ali Vali, Jessica L. Webb, and MJ Williamz.

Sealed with a Kiss panelists (L-R): TJ Thomas (standing), Jean Copeland, Melissa Brayden, CF Frizzell, Aurora Rey, Maggie Cummings (moderator), CA Popovich

Sealed with a Kiss panelists (L-R): TJ Thomas (standing), Jean Copeland, Melissa Brayden, CF Frizzell, Aurora Rey, Maggie Cummings (moderator), CA Popovich


Obviously I can’t guarantee what next year’s lineup will be, but I’d love to plant the seed for you to consider taking a few days off next year to experience a delightful getaway at Women’s Week in Ptown.


Lists, Dashes, Memories and Romance

By Ali Vali


Since this is the list making time of year, even for people who detest making lists even when asked to by loving partners who send me to the grocery for two more items than I can remember, I’ll share with you the two items on my list of things I find truly annoying.


  1. Repetitive noises – think people clicking their pen over and over, tapping their finger on something or perhaps a car alarm that goes off for an hour. This list is long so I’ll stop there.


  1. Christmas music! Don’t get me wrong, and I’ve written about this before, I like Christmas music just not weeks and weeks of it. After hearing Jingle Bells for the two hundredth and ninety-ninth time I could strangle someone with wrapping ribbon.


I won’t go into my tirade after going to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra because this was one of the items on C’s list of things she wanted this year, so I got tickets. Note to the Trans Siberian Orchestra people, when you place the word orchestra prominently in your name like that, I’m expecting I don’t know, an orchestra and not six people with stringed instruments, the biggest drum set I’ve ever seen in my life, and five guys with electric guitars.


My only question about those three torturous hours I’ll never get back is why the hell didn’t someone tell me these people play really hard rock music? I’m not trying to offend the really hard rock fans our there, but hard core hard rock music isn’t my favorite, so imagine how happy I was hearing the hard rock version of Christmas. Also imagine my surprise when the Christmas Cannon played about a million times on the radio during this time of year sounded more like Black Sabbath does Christmas when performed by these people.


The only thing that didn’t happen during this concert was someone biting the head off a gingerbread man and spitting it into the audience. There was a part with a dragon who invited his dragon friends to attack a castle because that of course screams Christmas. I’ll have to ask Ruth and Kathi if there’s perhaps something in Hanukkah that involves lizards that breathe fire.


Okay my second thing turned into a tirade so let’s get back to my blog.


On the flip-side of the first list are my two things I love about this time of year. The first is remembering all those memories of sharing special times with those you love. The second is shopping for the right thing for the special people in my life, and seeing their expressions when I manage to pull off a surprise.


This year, even though I really don’t like making lists, I started on my bucket list and managed to check off a few things. I never thought of myself as the bucket list kind of person, but things happen that changed my perspective of time and what I’m going to do with the amount I’m blessed with. Don’t worry I’m not sick, but we lost a friend this year that was my age from a sudden heart attack and a few other things that made me not want to procrastinate on anything we’d like to do and experience, so we got to see Jeter play in Yankee stadium before he retired, we went to Hawaii for the first time, and tried our best to live up to one of Mama’s last requests.


Garth Brooks put it best in the chorus of Pushing Up Daisies. “There’s two dates in time that they’ll carve on your stone and everyone knows what they mean. What’s important is the time that is known as the little dash in between.” Mama told us that you get this one life so make the most out of it and enjoy the hell out of it. All those moments are what make our memories and they ease the pain of loss because even when life gives us situations we don’t particularly ask for, they can’t be taken away.


My partner C and I were on our way home from a Christmas shopping trip recently and our conversation centered around all our Christmas memories together and as children. We’ve had some wonderful holiday seasons together, but the one I told her about that night was the first Christmas my family celebrated in the states.


As most of you know by now, my family is originally from Cuba, and we arrived in the states in 1968. A month after that I turned five and had no idea what Christmas was about except for the stories my mother told us as children. In Cuba we celebrated the religious aspect of the season since being born into a communist state wasn’t the best for getting gifts simply because there were none to buy. In four years I got one toy on King’s Day, (there’s no Santa in Cuba either – the three wise men bring gifts on King’s Day) so my parents made up for it that first Christmas.


Even though I was only five, I still remember waking up and finding all those gifts under our tree. It was all small things considering we were as they say poor as church mice back then, but my mom made the most of the little money we had. The one thing I remember most was this little desk that had a green seat attached to the desk part and the top was a chalk board. When you lifted it up inside were these little pegs and a hammer so you could make designs. I loved that thing, but not as much as the memory of that day.


Those memories and all those that followed are what make me smile even though I’ll never see Mama here in one of her tacky Christmas sweaters she loved to wear to embarrass my brother and me. She’s probably laughing her head off in heaven seeing that tacky sweaters are now the in thing and a big business. Since I’m not five anymore I realize those times we shared and the memories I have because of those days are the best gifts of all.


By now you probably thing my trip down memory lane is to take my mind off the holiday music streaming out of every speaker on the planet, and you’d be somewhat right, but I’ve got memories on the brain. The reason I started with my parents is because I also remember them together having fun at pretty much everything they did, and how that never really stopped until Mama was gone. That my father misses her is easy to see in his demeanor since he wears his sadness like a winter coat.


When I met C, there was plenty about her that grabbed my attention, but the one thing that stood out about her and what I’m most grateful for is the fun she’s brought into my life. At times she makes me laugh when I’d rather not or think I can’t, so I decided to give her one gift she asked me for aside from the concert tickets, and that was a book where no one died some gruesome horrible death. Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t want me to retire from the gruesome horrible death business at least on the page, but she was ready for a romance.


The Romance Vote The Romance Vote 300 DPIis one of C’s Christmas gifts this year and I picked the setting of politics because we met working on a campaign over thirty years ago. Believe me that’s where the similarities with these characters end. Well except for the fact that we’re madly in love too. How’s that for sappy from someone known for the aforementioned gruesome horrible deaths? I may start singing Jingle Bells at any moment but then I’d have to strangle myself and wouldn’t be able to finish this.


Our first months together were like a roller coaster ride of fun and getting to know each other like the fact that I hate repetitive noises, and she doesn’t like violent movies, and through it all we managed to build a strong foundation that’s held firm no matter what life’s thrown at us. It was the same feeling I wanted to give the two main characters Chili and Sam – that sense of forever my dad had with my mom and I have with C. So in this book you have politics, humor, romance, heat, and hunting (well sort of hunting.) Sounds disjointed but trust me it’ll come together once you read The Romance Vote.


As another year comes to a close we have plenty to celebrate on the romance front as far as Bold Strokes Books is concerned. MJ Williamz and Laydin Michaels got married as did Lisa Girolami and Kari Cranfill. Congratulations to all of you, C and I wish you all a long and happy life together, and as many fun filled times as you can possibly cram into each day. I’ll share with them and all the happy couples out there the last bit of wisdom Mama gave me, which was to enjoy life to the fullest every day and always try your best to show those you love how much they mean to you. It’s what makes life not only worth while, but it’ll be those special things you do for someone, and not so much the things you buy, that they’ll remember always.


Unfortunately we lost Cate Culpepper, and her passing silenced a prolific story teller and good friend to many. Thankfully her books will live on to be enjoyed by future generations of readers and fans. She will be truly missed.


Memories, like the brightly wrapped gifts you’ve worked hard to get for your loved ones, bring joy when you take the time to unwrap them and enjoy. In our family, thankfully for me, we do that often by recounting the stories that make up our history. This year as we celebrate the holidays, we get to watch the next generation find the wonder of what these days mean to our family since my great niece experiences her first Christmas. I’ve actually missed walking through the toy store searching for the perfect gift like I did for her father and his sister. Of course most of the ones we bought for the baby this year make noise because I’m that kind of aunt. Repetitive noises don’t bother me when I can go home after delivering gifts, one of which plays It’s a Small World when you press any button on the board. My nephew and his wife might disown me after that, but I thought it was cute so the baby’s getting it.


We also are conscience of the importance of time since two of our cousins are battling cancer. One of them is really ill, and like with Mama, we’ve been sharing some of our most treasured memories. From experience I’ve found that laughter helps ease some of the pain, so there have been plenty of phone calls back and forth where we talk about those times as children like our epic fireworks battles, and not about the illness. It’s a wonder we survived all those days since we actually shot fireworks at each other, and it makes me feel for Mama and my aunts since we did things like shoot fireworks at each other.


Our family isn’t the only one experiencing sad times so please know you and your loved ones are in our prayers. My holiday wish for you is to reminisce about all those treasured times along with the eggnog and presents as we enjoy ours. The top on my treasured times list is meeting the girl who stole my heart and has filled it with love and joy. The Romance Vote is for her, and I’m glad she decided to vote on me.


My hope is you enjoy it as much as the holiday season with those you love because, as in all my books, every word is also written with the reader in mind. Thank you all for your kind words you send, and for your continued support, and our wish if for all of you to have a


Happy Holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Surgery, Broken Bones, Friendship, Romance, and All the Other Things That Make a Book


Friendship is something my partner and I have not only shared for twenty-nine years, but something we cherish. We’ve never taken it for granted, especially after August 16th of this year. Emergency surgery is just that—something unplanned and urgent. The complications that come after are, in a word, hell.


C’s had it rough since August, but what a blessing it’s been to have not only each other, but the kind of friends who are gifts from God. The calls, cards, gifts, and prayers are what pulled us through without out too much mental scarring. To all of you who took time to send healing thoughts and prayers, you have our deepest appreciation. We both are truly blessed and humbled you cared so much.


When life throws you a multitude of curve balls, all of them aimed at your head, the knowledge you are cared for truly does bring solace. The churning in your gut caused by the realization you have absolutely no control over so many moments in your life is somehow more tolerable because you have friends who are willing to hold your hand through it all.


Our recent long hospital stay gave me the opportunity to return a lot of emails, and a lot of folks asked me if there’s any part of C or myself in the books I write, and if so, what. The one thing I try my best to convey, no matter the book, is the joy a loving relationship can bring to your life. It’s one of the reasons I suck at writing erotica. Radclyffe always tells me there’s too much story along with the sex, but come to think of it, Radclyffe always tells me there’s too much story no matter what. I have a little trouble keeping to those word counts, so thank you to my awesome editor Shelley Thrasher, who has no trouble trimming all that excess. Don’t let that Southern laid-back demeanor fool you; the woman is a slasher in every sense of the word.


So while C and I have been together almost thirty years, Kendal Richoux is over three thousand years old, and the two people she’s trusted as much as her father have been with her all those years. Imagine having someone in your life for an eternity like that and the depth of the friendship you’d share with them because of it.


The storyline and concepts of the Forces series,Battle of Forces 300 DPI though, different from the Devil books, deal with the same themes of family, loyalty to others, friendships, and in some cases, disloyalty to others. Both series are fun to write for different reasons, but when as a writer you can suspend a little reality that must be present in other books, it brings with it a new sense of imagination. Can you imagine a vampire hunting through the Devil series? Cain at times is bloody enough, but I’d guess she’d have ordered a boatload of wooden stakes from Home Depot by now, as well as hired Kendal for Swordplay 101.


Both series take place mostly in New Orleans, but I believe the city brings something to each story. For us, there’s no place like New Orleans—the food, carefree lifestyle, and the people have the history of this place in their DNA. And it doesn’t matter if you weren’t born here; I certainly wasn’t, but what a place to grow up. If you did grow up here and don’t have a story about sneaking into a bar when you were underage, then your childhood wasn’t a complete success. All you need to know is after a few beers, your first tray of crawfish or crab cakes, followed by some beignets, you’re a native.


This was the perfect place for someone three thousand years old who’s lived all over the world. Kendal Richoux lost a love in New Orleans and found it again a few hundred years later. Kendal feels at home in New Orleans because, like her, the city had so many facets and personalities.


This series appealed to me because of the snippets of history Kendal’s lived through. As a reader I love historical novels (if only KI Thompson would gift us with another one of those), but I can’t settle on one time period to actually write one. With a character who’s witnessed so much I didn’t have to, and different aspects of Kendal’s past were included.


Now you’d think after spending twenty-nine years with someone, the only new and exciting things left are the fantasies of how to kill that person and get away with it, but that’s not the case at all. Granted, I did scar C with a pressure washer, but aside from that, I truly enjoy romancing her. See. These blogs teach you something. No one loves a mob movie more than me, which I guess is why no one guessed the two truths and a lie on the panel I served on in Ptown. The audience wasn’t buying that Too Cute is one of my favorite television shows, but it is. So while you might think I spend most of my time thinking of new and inventive ways to kill people, I’m also pretty good at picking out flowers.


In honor of the woman I love, there’s also romance woven into this story as well, and it was nice giving someone like Kendal, whose past is so rich and full, a new beginning. Like I said, life is so much easier when you have someone who cares about you, and that only gets better when you find that someone who can make you laugh even when it’s the last thing in the world you want to do. No matter what’s going on, C can do that because she knows me better than any other living soul.


To me, the action is important to every story, but the romance is the center of it all. What I’ve tried to bring out in every book is that a character, no matter how strong, needs someone who allows them to let their load down if only for a little while. The journey to that point is what gives every book its heart.


That brings us back to friendship and where it takes us next in the Forces series. If I was one for hints, which I’m not, but if I was, I’d tell you the answer is found in a couple of places in this second book. Kendal and Piper’s, as well as Morgaine and Lenore’s story will go on. There are babies on the way and…wait, I forgot I’m not much for hints.


The other story that will continue is the adventures as well as romance C and I are always involved in. No surgeries, broken bones, and other such calamities will slow us down. We’ll, as always, relish the high points and not worry about the trials because of the aforementioned great friends who’ll see us through. So thanks again for the good energy you shot our way. We return it a thousand fold.


Thanks too for reading the books and the great notes you send. Events like Women’s Week in Ptown are always fun because I get to chat with so many readers about the books and life in general. You just never know when one of those conversations sparks an idea for the next storyline. Thanks for that too!


If you guess the theme of the third Forces book I’ll be happy to send you an autographed copy of the second one. The first three people who send me the correct answer to get a book.

It’s a Racquet

Bold Strokes Books author, Ali Vali, joins me outside of Recovering Hearts bookstore in Provincetown to discuss her recent release, Love Match.

Justice – Ali Vali Style

Bold Strokes Books author, Ali Vali, talks about her upcoming release, The Dragon Tree Legacy, and her plans for the Devil series.

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