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Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Blogging Mamma presents.....“Tears of the Mermaid” by Aaron Speca and Patricia Laffoon

Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness
“Tears of the Mermaid” by Aaron Speca and Patricia Laffoon

Aaron Speca:

I am an engineer, a father, a husband, a poker player, a fantasy footballer, a former comic book collector, a movie buff.

So how the hell did I end up involved in ANY publishing company’s best seller list?  Especially with a paranormal romance short story set in the 18th century Caribbean?

These are not easy questions to answer, but when the Bloggin Mamma asked Patricia Laffoon and I to do a guest blog on her site, what I really wanted to do was tell that story.  And lo and behold, here is the opportunity to do that.

I hadn’t really done any creative writing at all since high school, and without explicitly giving away my age, that had been about twenty years.  I’ve always been told I was a good writer, but that was pretty much limited to letters and technical documents where I work.  I’d never even considered the possibility of writing for an audience (although that’s certainly easier than getting up and talking for an audience, but I digress).

So around April 2010, I notice my wife staying online late … a lot.  Turns out she had met and become friends with someone who was involved in a role playing group.  Role playing?  Seriously?  I never thought she would get into what I thought of as role playing, which is sitting around a table with a Dungeon Master’s book, reams of paper, and various dice doing battle with orcs and dragons and the like.  And this was a role play group centered around a series of romance novels?  (It is a Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Hunters RP.)  Wow .. I just thought wow.  It made me chuckle.

So then, she asked me to read some of what she had written and give my opinion.  I was floored.  The way she wrote with her writing partner was just intense … full of emotion and depth and angst and action and … well everything.  (Side note: We are hoping she will get published soon too, yay!)  It was obvious that there was a lot more to this than I thought there was.

I found myself really rooting for the characters and keeping up with them.  Turns out my wife and her partner write absolutely incredible emotional argument and subsequent makeup scenes.  So you are always wondering “holy crap, is this going to be it?”  I started to get why people wrote and why other people (fans) followed it.

One day they asked me to help them with a little experiment, since they knew I played poker avidly, and help them see if they could RP a poker game, so I took over an abandoned profile just for that purpose and helped them try it out.  Even though the experiment was a failure (I think we ended up playing a total of two hands in about ninety minutes), it gave me a little taste of what writing and interacting at that level was like, because I had to describe the action that was going on in enough detail so people could follow and visualize it.

Ok, so I was hooked.  Although I hadn’t read book one of SK’s series, I blitzed through the Dark Hunter Companion cover-to-cover so I wouldn’t be completely lost, and picked the name of an incredibly minor character that worked at the Sanctuary bar, figuring that was a good way to get involved.

What happened next came out of absolutely nowhere, as an entire backstory including a family tree with some of the other characters formed in my head in about a week.  I couldn’t wait to get it down on paper.  It was almost a short story in itself.  And the key to it was that, the character didn’t know the backstory, so I was able to write it and let the other players and fans discover the backstory at the same time as my character did.

That was the first incarnation of Rudy.

I was pretty adamant when I started, that Rudy would not be doing any love scenes.  In fact, I even had a note on my page that said basically, if that was what you were looking for, better look elsewhere.  But it didn’t take long to get over that hurdle, as the character was kind of yelling at me to follow that natural progression with the writing partner I was working with at the time.  And so yet another discovery, I could write that stuff, and it was actually palatable.  Well, maybe a little better than that.

Patricia was the second person I met online, that I didn’t already know personally.  She had been in the group for a few months, and we did hit it off immediately as friends, even though she wasn’t my first writing partner.  We became writing partners when the group was planning an alternate future story.  At the time, Rudy was single, and so I started thinking where would he be in this alternate future?  And I decided it would be fun to surprise the group and not tell anyone what that future would be, and approached Patricia and said basically, “Hey wouldn’t it be cool if our characters were married in this future?”  She jumped on board and we planned everything in secret, and I got to do the kickoff thread of the storyline and we did the big reveal, and the reaction was tremendous.  That all-group storyline which was supposed to last just about a month ended up lasting SIX MONTHS to tell the entire story we ended up wanting to tell, involving more than 60 characters, and it was voted Storyline of the Year amongst all the Dark Hunter role play groups we were associated with.  That’s when I knew we could write some damn good stuff together, and during that we decided, let’s make that alternate future happen and simultaneously wrote the story of how they got together in the present day.

That was the second incarnation of Rudy and the genesis of Rudy and Trish in two different times.  Just as an aside, during this time I picked up other characters as well, and widened my ability to write different types of characters … heroes, villains, both comical and dramatic.

So ok, this was all well and good.  I can write.  We have a following.  It’s for fun, for us and the fans.  Still don’t have the bridge to the publication right?  Well, hold on, if you’ve made it this far, we’re getting there.

One of our brilliant writers, who I’ll call Drake cause that’s the character he plays, came up with an idea to do something a little different, and created a special “Pirates” page, and challenged us to write stories in the Golden Age of Pirates.  We could use the same profiles, but no special powers, make the characters different, etc.  Well Patricia LOVES pirates, and mermaids, and we jumped all over it, completely rebooting the characters for this storyline and having them meet and fall in love all over again, through an entirely different type of adventure.  It was tons of fun to rediscover the characters again, and we were really developing a good story.

This was the third incarnation of Rudy and Trish.

August 2011, I was home sick, and I noticed something posted on the wall of a new Facebook friend, Allison Cassatta.  Seemed she was looking for submissions for a paranormal romance anthology, and the deadline was just a couple of days away.  Now, under normal circumstances, I would have looked at it and shrugged, and moved on.  But it was pretty early in the morning, my wife was at work, my kids were at school and I had hours.  And I started thinking.  We had so many pieces of our story that would meet the submission requirements.  What did we have to lose?  So I read through the pirate story we had done so far, picked a piece of it that would fit as a good stand-alone story, and got to work editing it.  In just a couple of hours, I had something that I really really liked.  I didn’t even ask Patricia, I just submitted it that afternoon.  (I thought she might actually try to talk me out of it!)  She did about beat me virtually that night, but I think she was okay with it actually.

The day after the submission deadline passed, I got the word.  The story had been accepted!!!!  I about fell over.  And ever since then, it’s been just a whirlwind.  To have fans in a RP group is one thing (and I love every single one of Rudy and Trish’s fans and the fans of our RP group).  But to have an author, a published author, look at your work and say … yeah I want my name associated with that … THAT is an amazing feeling, I don’t care how big or small the publishing company is.  The anthology is #3 on XOXO’s best seller list.  #3!!!!!  WTF???!!!!!  *dies*

Ok, so if you made it this far, you might be thinking “ok, ok, so what’s the story ABOUT already?!”  This story is a love story, of course, but there is a big conflict.  You see at this stage of their story, Trish has been keeping something from Rudy.  That something is that she is betrothed to one of her own kind, a merman named Aaron.  (Yes, ironic, Patricia had the name for her antagonist picked out long before we ever met.  She often asked me if I wanted it changed and I said NO!!!  I thought it was great.)  Ok, I can’t stand this guy.  He’s controlling, abusive, arrogant … all that crap.

Just before the story starts, Trish had sent Rudy to the neighboring “big island” for supplies, intending to summon Aaron and tell him she could not and would not marry him.  Aaron won’t accept that answer.  And what happens when Rudy arrives back much sooner than Trish thought is what the story is about.  It’s tense, powerful, action-packed, and the end is … well, I let you judge the end for yourself … if, no when you go get the book.

The other eleven stories in Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness are just as poignant and powerful.  The stories of twelve couples from different worlds trying to make it to their Happily Ever After, if there is such a thing, overcoming their differences, others’ jealousy, people out to destroy them … I feel like you will connect with these characters.  If you connect with them half as much as Patricia and I have connected with Rudy and Trish, you will fall in love with them completely. 

We absolutely want to do more with Rudy and Trish!  Whether it becomes more short stories, or maybe a full-blown novel, we want to continue to bring these characters to life.  Writing with Patricia has been an absolute joy from day number one, and I couldn’t imagine doing this story without her.

I’m going to turn things over to Patricia for her to tell her story from her perspective.  At the end of the blog, you’ll find a little PG13 excerpt from “Tears of the Mermaid”, which is Rudy and Trish’s story.  I hope you enjoy it, but if you do … you will want to find out how it ends, and most likely how it started *wink*.

(Oh, and one more side note … I haven’t read them all yet, but I’ve now read several of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series and love them!)

Patricia Laffoon:

Getting this started is as hard for me as starting a new story line; some days it's there and others it's not ... let me start off by introducing myself. *Standing I take a deep breath and look out at the audience*

Hello my name is Patricia A. Laffoon, I was born in Lexington, Kentucky, where I have lived most of my life. I served twenty-three years in the United States Army Reserves. During that same time period, I worked in a factory making cruise controls for cars, a bank in the proof dept ... don't ask too boring to go into ... a gift shop, and now a rental company where I rent tents, tables and chairs for any event you need them for {mostly weddings} Here I will shamelessly plug the company I work for <Equipment Sales and Rental and Special Events>.

How did I get started down this path of writing you ask ...well it was my art teacher.  We had to write a poem about the painting we had just completed for class; she took one look at my painting, read the poem, and told me my time would be better spent writing than painting. So started my road to writing.

I joined Facebook over a year ago and started meeting people quickly.  By a chance posting I met one of the first people who ever encouraged me to write, Brandon Yeung. He asked me if I would like to join their Role Playing group, well of course I said no but after three months of being cajoled and prodded, I finally gave in and dipped my toe into the water so to speak.

Yes, I am the only land-locked mermaid you will ever meet, all though I do live on a lake. But I digress.

After a very tentative start I worked with him to build the role of Trish-Sea Maiden. I grew a little bolder as time went along, till one day as fate would have it my now partner Aaron {Rudy} asked if I would play his wife in a Story Line {SL} that took place in the future, and well I took a deep breath and plunged into very deep water with him and have never looked back.

Now about the story in Evernight ... this is just a small snippet of the larger one that is going on right now, and that is still in progress, but one afternoon Aaron came to me and said he had seen a call for story submissions and entered one of our {SL} in it. To say I was bowled over was an understatement.  I never dreamed going any further than writing for our own amusement and that of our fans, but he was so excited I got the fever to, and lo and behold we were accepted.  You could have pushed me over with a feather.  I am still reeling from the adventure that this has been.

Excerpt from “Tears of the Mermaid” (PG-13):

Trish did not have long to wait. He didn't arrive the way she thought he would. No, he stole onto the beach like a thief in the night. His steps faltered at first as he rose up from the waves that crashed upon the shore. He quickly found his footing and made his silent way towards the single, solitary figure sitting by the bonfire. Tossing down a bundle of clothes, standing naked he towered over her.
A small gasp escaped her lips and it was not one of pleasure by any means. "What?" he demanded. "Do you not find my form to your pleasing? I seem to remember a time when you thought so."
She turned her face away from him, and in that moment he leaned over, inhaling her scent. His eyes flared in the rapidly darkening dusk, then narrowed as he pulled on his britches, tucking his feet into a stout pair of black leather boots.
"You lied to me; you said there was no human here." The look on his face turned into a snarl. "I can smell the same male on you that I smelled before!"
She scrambled back from her place on the sand in fear. "No! No you are mistaken!"
"Am I?" Aaron bent his knees slightly, grabbing Trish by her slender arms, dragging her up his well-defined chest. He could feel her resistance in the way she went rigid against him. His groin tightened as he drew in her scent again, dragging his nose and lips from the curve of her graceful shoulder, up her slender neck nuzzling just under her ear, whispering, "He was here, but he's not now is he?"
She tensed at his touch turning her face away from him. There was only one man's touch that she relished and his was not it. She had sent Rudy away from the island, and yes, she had summoned Aaron but it was to tell him that his attentions were no longer desired; actually that they never were. Now that he was here, the fear and trepidation she always felt in his presence came flooding back, as did the memory of his last visit when he first suspected that not only was there another man here, but a human at that. She had refused to tell Rudy where the scars had come from.
"I…," she trembled, "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Trish you lied to me once and paid a heavy debt for it; don't let us have a repeat of that tonight. You called to me; there must have been a reason, what other could it be than you wanted me."
(For the rest of this story and eleven other great tales, go pick up Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness, available directly from XOXO Publishing, or from Amazon for the Kindle.  Twelve stories for $5.99.)
(This story has been reviewed on Talk Supe! Go check them out:

Find Aaron Speca and Patricia Laffoon on Facebook:

Or on Aaron’s Goodreads blog (just getting started):


  1. Let's welcome The Blogging Mamma first guest Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness authors Aaron Speca and Patricia Laffon.
    Audrina Leone

  2. Congratultions Audrina and Aaron and Patricia great job keep it up! Love your story Tears of the Mermaid. I'd love to see a full length novel. Email me:D


  3. Thank you so much Mamma! LOL ... and Gina don't worry, we will be in touch :)

  4. Awesome congrats to you all. I am happy to be included in the start of something wonderful that will be talked about for a long time. I look forward to read more as well, a novel would be a great idea.
    Ana Torres