Fridays at Ofelia’s | Big Flames and Small


Flames, Besties and Inspiration

I want to thank Ofelia for letting me take over her blog today. She is truly the loveliest of people. Currently, I am living vicariously through photos of her baby chicks, and they’ve been one of the highlights of a pretty lousy year.

I had just planned to hop on here and tell everyone about my newest release—and we’ll get to that—but then I had a call from my closest friend. It’s been mostly text conversations since the pandemic, and after a year, we’re looking forward to grabbing lunch together once we are both fully vaccinated, and judging each other’s choice of fashion. He will no doubt be wearing a suit—but what kind?!—and I’ll be wearing something adorned with skulls. It will be like nothing at all has changed!

As of the day I’m writing this, his birthday is tomorrow. So, happy birthday, J!

During our call, the talk drifted to the inspiration behind our stories. He’s a writer as well, and our conversations inevitably gravitate toward writing. Story inspiration is also the most common question I receive from readers.

As a writer of romance, I’m pretty sure the things that spark my ideas will only make sense to me. They might even scare off some readers. LOL Still, inspiration plays a huge role in the birth of a story, and it can come from the oddest of places.

I’ve written a story born of personal tragedy, a story inspired by a friend’s deathtrap of a log cabin, and even a romance series shaped by my love of pre-1970s horror movies. The first book in my paranormal romance series Club 669 was inspired by two things—the rain in Ofelia Gränd’s Jaeger’s Lost and Found and reading the Dalai Lama’s Freedom In Exile in a comparative literature class in college. The combination doesn’t scream romance. LOL

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned to Ofelia that, despite all the snow, in my head Club 669 takes place in her world. Though maybe in an angstier part of town? 😀

My new release from JMS Books, Big Flames and Small, is the first contemporary romance in a very long while. It was inspired by some words of wisdom from my father. If you knew how little time someone spent thinking about you, you’d probably be offended. Something meant to remind me not to waste time worrying about what other people think of me, and words to live by! It was also inspired by a house fire that forced a very pregnant me to live in a hotel for the entirety of my 8th month of pregnancy.

I originally wrote the idea for the book—a man who is thrown together with his best friend’s brother after a house fire—five years ago. And I picked it up again last year when a scene idea popped into my head, a scene I loved so much, I felt it was worth writing an entire book to bring it into existence. I bet Ofelia can guess which one! LOL If you’ve read the story and think you know, drop me a note. I’m curious if anyone else can tell. I’m guessing that anyone who knows me , or has read enough of my books, could probably guess what scene I’m talking about. LOL

Check out, Big Flames and Small.

Big Flames and Small

Big Flames and Small CoverOliver Stoll’s life has gone up in smoke. Literally. Escaping an apartment fire, he’s made it out with little more than the clothes on his back and his best friend and downstairs neighbor, Mia. With few other options, he agrees to stay with David Elliston, Mia’s older brother. David was Oliver’s first crush, first kiss, first everything. That is, until the day they broke up five years before. It hadn’t been pretty.

David Elliston is back in town. Offered the chance to oversee the Kellmen Group’s newest magazine acquisition, he isn’t going to let a years old heartbreak stop him. But being thrown together with Oliver is harder than expected. And the flicker of hope he’s long tried to bury becomes even more difficult to contain.

Ex-lovers, best friends, and angry parents don’t make the best backdrop for rekindling a romance. But it’s the lies from the past that might just extinguish any chance they have of starting over.

Interested in reading an excerpt? Or want to pick up a copy? Check out the links below.


You can also read a excerpt at JMS Books


Amy Spector grew up in the United States surviving on a steady diet of old horror movies, television reruns and mystery novels.

After years of blogging about comic books, vintage Gothic romance book cover illustrations, and a shameful amount about herself, she decided to try her hand at writing stories. She found it more than a little like talking about herself in third person, and that suited her just fine.

She blames Universal for her love of horror, Edward Gorey for her love of British drama and writing for awakening the romantic that was probably there all along.

Scary Gary on New Adventures

A little while ago, I talked about the Publishing Partner program JMS Books has where they help struggling authors, such as myself, distribute self-published stories to platforms where it otherwise can be hard to find an in.

Now, it’s time for Scary Gary to find new shelves to sit on.

I wrote Scary Gary as part of a project I never finished. I had this idea of writing twelve short stories in a year, one for each month. Elevator Pitch was one, Scary Gary another, and that was how far I came. So I published them without any connection to each other.

Scary Gary is a freebie, 5.3k long, and it’s about a grim reaper called Gary LOL

JMS Books :: Amazon ::


Gary glanced out the window. “Maybe I should get going.” His skin shone white in the dark, the scythe was leaning against the backrest of the sofa, and the hood of the cloak was pushed off his head to reveal short black hair and chiseled features.

Micah bit his lip, wanting to demand answers but also knowing that if he didn’t change the topic Gary would leave. “You’re such a coward.”

Gary grinned. “Never said I wasn’t.”

So something about Micah scared Scary Gary. That couldn’t be good. “Tea?”

Gary stared. “Tea?”

It’s a chilly night, I figured we could use something warm and soothing. Or is tea too lame for the lord of the underworld?”

Gary shook his head. “I’m not the—”

Micah laughed at the exasperated look. Gary’s snort only made him laugh harder. “I’m sorry, it must be stress.” Tears gathered at the corner of his eyes, but he blinked them away. Why was the world pressing down on him today? Gary was here; Gary made all his problems go away.

Gary’s arm curled around him. “You’ll be the death of me.” The words came in a whisper close to his ear. Time slowed and Micah wished they could stay like this forever. Gary’s strong arm wrapped around him, his body a little cooler than would be considered normal, but not cold. His scent made Micah’s nose tickle. It was a mix of lemon and burning wood, nothing that could be bought in a bottle.

I thought you were already dead.”

Ha!” He was quiet for a moment. “Yeah, I am, and yet I’ll live forever.”

Micah looked up into those electric blue eyes. “Me too.” The frown was small and quickly concealed but Micah saw it. “Won’t I?” Wouldn’t he? It wasn’t fear spreading in his gut, not exactly, but he couldn’t deny the unease.

As long as I have any power, you will.”

Gary.” It wasn’t a whine, but close. Micah pushed against Gary’s chest to get away so he could pace, but the arm around his waist didn’t budge. “What are you doing?”

Gary touched his lips to Micah’s, and he forgot how to breathe.


Scary-Gary-gifMicah Thaxter has a problem — one scary, inconvenient problem. His shadow wants him dead and isn’t shy about it.

On the plus side, it’s not his time to die and Scary Gary is always there to carry him back to the land of the living. Gary is far too pale, his black cloak a bit out of fashion, and his scythe quite terrifying, but he’s still one of the most beautiful men Micah has ever seen.

Micah may be stuck with a homicidal shadow, but perhaps there’s a way to keep Gary around too. His job escorting souls keeps him busy, but since Micah has already died once today, Gary’s there. So what’s the harm in offering him a cup of tea?

Guest Post | As the Crows Fly


Thank you so much to Ofelia for having me here to day to tell you about As the Crows Fly, my new short story—11,500 words—in my Reworked Celtic Myths collection. The stories are a loose set of contemporary stories set in Wales, and the seed of each one comes from a Welsh or Irish legend.

As the crows fly

The seed for As the Crows Fly is the story of St Kevin. You can read about him in the afterword of the story (ha! See what I did there!) or on my blog. The original story was a bit lacking in romance, even more so that my previous story Playing Chicken, which involved St Dwynwen and a magic well full of eels; so I took the bits that interested me and ditched the rest—the murders and the almost drowning the woman who tried to seduce you, that sort of thing!

The stories so far are based in very resonant locations for me—I lived in Wales for quite a while in my twenties and thirties and I love the landscape and the sense of ancient place that’s there in the countryside.

As I was writing the first scene in this story, it was rolling out in my mind at a place called Manorbier, that turned into Flint Head in the story. It’s a village with a ruined castle, right on the edge of the sea. I envisaged poor Kevin and his sick car in the car-park by the beach and saw him walking home westward along the cliff-top with Webster. It’s somewhere I’ve been many times and without wishing to sound like an employee of the Pembrokeshire Tourist Board, it’s a lovely area.

The castle is open to the public, but if you go down to the beach you can look back up toward the village, past the castle, and see the crows. There are always crows, dancing in the wind above the ruins. On one side you have the sea, crashing on the beach. And on the other you have this beautiful, majestic, eerie ruin, strewn about with tiny black specks tumbling and twisting above it.

So, that’s some of the background! It’s a short, hopeful story, a complete change from my usual longer historical angst-and-magic-filled queer books. I hope you enjoy it! I’m planning on adding to the collection regularly over the next few months.

As the Crows Fly

As the Crow Fly

Paul Webster has come out the army after a twenty-two year stretch with a trick hip and no idea what to do with his life. He takes a few weeks walking along the Welsh coast to get his head on straight.

Kevin Davies is a veterinary nurse and an artist. He’s getting lonelier and lonelier in his cottage on the edge of the sea, kept company by his cats and a friendly flock of crows.

What happens when the two men hunker down together to wait out a wild March gale?

A 11,500-word short story in the Reworked Celtic Myths series. This time, there are crows.

Buy As the Crows Fly

Crows banner

Find Ally

A. L. Lester is a writer of queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense. She lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a badly behaved dachshund, a terrifying cat, and some hens. She likes gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy. Not musical. Doesn’t much like telly. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has tedious fits.

Find her at her website, or you can find on your preferred social media via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and now, shockingly, Tiktok!