Workspace Wednesday welcomes Alice Gaines!


I am so happy to welcome Alice Gaines to my blog today. As it happens, I have two amazing Alices in my life, and they are both on the same discussion loop. To differentiate her from the other Alice (Alice Duncan), I’m accustomed to calling her “Dr. A”.



Alice has a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley (hence the moniker). She is also a fantastic writer of sensual historical romance, romantic fantasy and contemporary romance. I fell in love with her writing when I picked up a Red Sage “Secrets” anthology volume some years ago that contained one of her stories, and have been a fan ever since. I am also a big personal fan of Alice, who is a truly passionate, interesting, non-cookie-cutter person.


With that introduction, I’ll turn you over to Alice.


ALICE GAINES:  Two bedroom/one bath. Yard.


That’s pretty much what the ad said when my husband and I were looking for a house to rent. The rental market in Oakland was highly competitive, so we campaigned hard to get the house even though we’d hardly looked at it.  Once the old tenants were gone and I could check the place out, I discovered a huge, old rose in the back yard and told Hal we’d done a Good Thing deciding to move into this relatively bad neighborhood in what’s known as a dangerous city.



A few years later, the landlords sold us the house. A few years after that, Hal died, and the yard became totally mine (at least when I finish paying off the bank). The yard became my writing place during good weather.


You have to realize that in California it doesn’t rain a drop from June pretty much through October. In fact, as I write this it’ll likely get to 86 today, and this weather is forecast to go through the whole week into next weekend.


I come from a family of gardeners and horticulturalists. My mother wrote books on gardening and for a while was the New England editor of Flower and Garden. When we moved in, I had a yard, and I could get my hands dirty. I planted a lemon tree. I put two avocado pits into the ground, and the trees are now taller than the house. I bought lots of Earthboxes so I could put vegetables in containers. During the summer, I now have an endless supply of the most delicious food on Earth — homegrown tomatoes.



I used to take long walks in the Oakland hills for exercise. I discovered wildflowers that you’d never notice driving by. I found two kinds of clarkias, and then one day, I came across a real treasure — a third species.  One little plant of clarkia unguiculata, or elegant clarkia, was a scrawny thing hiding out in the underbrush. I took one seedpod off it, leaving the others for the next generation in the wild. When I put those seeds into nice potting soil and gave it water, I got this. I grew another species along the side of the house, and they soared to waist high.



Every writing day, when I don’t have to go to my J-0-B, I take my AlphaSmart outside and listen to the sounds of birdcalls mingling with the occasional screech of tires. I am in a city, after all. The cat that moved into the yard when I had the bad sense to feed her sits under my chair and generally gets underfoot. She’s very pretty but has a howl that can carry to the next zip code (which actually is just across the street in San Leandro), and she has a nasty disposition. She bit me once, so I call her Cat-Hole.



Cat-Hole and I sit outside for hours while I pound away on the AlphaSmart.  If I finish my pages on time, I get to spend the late afternoon drinking a microbrew while I work on the hymn I’m writing for my church.


Whoa? Church? A lady who writes super-hot, even erotic, romance sits drinking a beer while writing a hymn? I’m Episcopalian. We’re a non-judgmental bunch. My rector’s wife reads my books. I’m kind of hoping she doesn’t share them with him.


Thank you, Alice! That was so much fun! You are so lucky to be able to write outside so much of the year! And have I stumbled onto the secret of your amazing productivity – using the Alphasmart to keep your forward momentum. Smart!


To learn more about Alice, you can check out her website or her page on Fresh Fiction, or you can follow her on Twitter.


On to our giveaway, and it’s a nice one! Alice is giving away a print set of her Cabin Fever series from Avon Impulse (erotic novellas). The set includes Heat Rises, Storm Bound and Mating Season.



Okay, readers, you know the drill – comment for a chance to win the prize. Do you have a back yard oasis to escape to? If you’re a writer, do you write there? And if you’re not a writer, do you still take your laptop or Kindle or iPad out there to work or read in the midst of it?


13 Responses to “Workspace Wednesday welcomes Alice Gaines!”

  • Michel Reinhard:

    I live in Tennessee near the base of the Smoky Mountains and close to the Ocoee River. Our home is in the rural part of the city. I love to sit on my back screened in patio and read. We have several bird feeders out near the patio. We gets alot of Hummingbirds, they are amazing. We also get deer in our backyard during the spring and fall seasons. It is such a peaceful way to spend time reading.

    • Hi, Michel,

      I have hummingbirds, too. Love those little jewels. We had deer when we lived in the Oakland hills. In fact, they were garden pests, lol. They love to eat rose flowers. Still, they’re so cute.

  • Jenn LeBlanc:

    I very much wish I did. I have a rather large back yard, but it certainly isn’t pretty. I have more of a black thumb than a green one, and that alone tends to inhibit much garden progress. I’ve always wanted a beautiful oasis but I’m waiting for someone else to build it and care for it.

    Until then…

    Thank you for the giveaway! I’m looking forward to reading Alice, I met her at RWA this summer and she was lovely.


    • Hi, Jenn,

      I’m glad we got to meet at RWA.

      If you want to grow some veggies, try Earthboxes. (I don’t own stock in the company, seriously .) Earthbox dot com. They’re pretty fool proof. Put two tomato plants in one of those, and you’ll have yummy “maters” all season.

  • Thanks for hosting me, Norah!

  • Oakland has earned the reputation as a dangerous city…perhaps a few books on MURDER would be in order? I lived across the bay in my youth at Los Altos High and Foothill J.C. but ran some track and cross-country meets in Oakland.
    I heard it got a lot worse after I moved to Texas to finish my bachlors and AFROTC. Can’t believe I’ve been retired longer than I served (retired in 88).
    My wife would agree with you on tomatoes but I’d go with Avocados (Yum) if your trees produce any. I’m mostly into military history and the development of the “tools” of the trade, as shown in my adult action-romance, “Immortal Relations” and doubly in the sequel, “Immortal Relations, Love & War.” The latter should join my first on AMAZON & KINDLE by E.O.M. and I’ve started the third in the series (I’ve been told I can’t expect folks to read them until I have three books out). No doctorate here, just a double masters M.A. & M.Ed in Counseling Psychology and Counseling and Human Development, but I worked in the field and wrote a book on A.D.H.D. assessment, back in the day.

    • Hi, G. D.,
      Yes, Oakland has a huge problem with violence. It’s a shame because it’s a beautiful place. I pretty much write happy romance and erotica, although I’ve thought a series of cozy mysteries set at an Episcopal church with the detective being an altar guild lady would be fun. So many stories, so little time.

      I have a PhD in personality psychology, but I’ve never used it. My area of interest is/was psychological testing.

  • Hi, Alice. I’m so jealous of your weather. I live in North Dakota – enough said!

    Those tomatoes look absolutely delicious. My favorite uncle grew the best tomatoes and gave me free rein to pick and eat them right off the vine. Good memories.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Hi, L. J.
    We know we’re blessed with our climate. It seldom goes below 40 in the winter. One year, it got down into the teens, and we lost lots of plants.

    Aren’t homegrown tomatoes the best? Cherry tomatoes never make it into my house because I eat them standing at the plants.

  • Hi Alice!! Your garden is lovely and you are lucky to have such a great climate! And your books are hot!!!

    I’ve eaten grape tomatoes standing at the plant at a friend of friend’s house up north. Fresh off the vine. Yum!

  • Lori Gallagher:

    I’m impressed and a bit jealous of your outdoor office. It sounds wonderful. My gardening skills leave a lot to be desired, but I enjoyed living vicariously through yours.

    • Thanks, Lori.

      My garden also has a lot of weeds. Writing doesn’t leave much time for pulling weeds. Ocassionally the neighbors in the back tell me they like looking into my yard. I’m pretty sure they overhear me talking to the cat.

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