Thursday, November 21, 2013

Guest Blogging! Check out these awesome Poker Tips!

Red hot poker tips from Leaving Las Vegas! #pokergurus @AleahBarley @EntangledSus

Awesome Review

"Can anyone spell swoon-worthy? Right, that's spelled L-u-k-e, Luke."

Check out the entire review: 

Or buy the book!  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Craigslist is for What...

Why isn't Craigslist more searchable? Bad search tool. Bad. They need a way to filter... Between ugly and not ugly,

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Things I would rather do than wash my dishes...

1. Write a novel! Check my books out today (links to the left).

2. Shameless self promotion! Seriously, check out my books.

3. Write this blog post! 

4. Try to figure out what the stuff in the back of the fridge is. Red. Is red a flavor? Is it edible? Should I try it?

5. Pet the cat! Try to avoid claws, ouch.

6. Eat some of the red stuff! It's jam!

7. Make some tea. Drink some tea. Fantasize about tea!

8. Fantasize about other things. My boyfriend. My city. Cheese.

9. Look in the fridge for cheese. There's a block of parm. Wonder how it would taste with strawberry jam. Eat it.


10. Talk to you! Questions, comments. If you've ever wanted to know what color shoes I wear or where to get your hair done in Chicago then ask below!

Join my mailing list to receive news about my books! Get a free gift! Click here! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Great Reviews for Leaving Las Vegas

Check out what the reviewers are saying about Leaving Las Vegas. It's a "fun and wild ride."

About the characters:

"Glory Allen is a hoot - speaks her mind, has a heart of gold, isn't afraid of what life throws at her. Luke Tanner is hot - wealthy, sexy, and a man who is used to being in charge."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Leaving Las Vegas Blog Tour Stop Two: Las Vegas Motels and Plotting Techniques

Check out what happened on my second blog stop when I went to the place where it all began! The Las Vegas motel where Glory and Luke meet. At first I thought I'd been lucky enough to escape my characters, but then I started hearing noises from the room next door... and don't forget to check out all the fun by following the rest of my Leaving Las Vegas blog tour!

Or head straight to the action by buying Leaving Las Vegas today!

At Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Leaving Las Vegas Stop One: Straight Up Las Vegas

Check out the first stop of the Leaving Las Vegas blog tour! Read about how I started my tour--and discovered my characters were along for the ride--and don't forget to enter the raffle!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Leaving Las Vegas Excerpt

Here it is... the moment you've been waiting for... your first Leaving Las Vegas excerpt!

“You’re cheating.”

Glory Allen was keenly aware of the long pause that followed that statement. Ice collided with glass, creating a tinkling noise, the only sound in the cheap Las Vegas motel room. The neon lights from the Strip a half mile away streamed through the window, making the stacks of neatly piled hundred-dollar bills gleam blue and red. Not the neat ceramic chips used at the fancy casinos on the Strip, but real money. Cash. And surrounding the table sat serious poker players. Big men with square jaws and bulges under their arms.

Normally, Glory wouldn’t give a rat’s rump what anyone thought about her.

Normally, she wasn’t playing poker for high stakes in a private game well off the Strip.

In Beaux, West Virginia, cheating at poker could get a girl’s behind beat black and blue. Here in Las Vegas, she figured they’d just shoot her. Two to the head and a quick burial in the nearest patch of desert.

Under the table, she curled her free hand into a fist, fingernails digging into her palms. The pain helped her to concentrate, kept her expression still. She forced herself to keep looking straight ahead, staring into the eyes of the man who’d accused her.

Luke. That was his name. The man with the green eyes who’d almost made her forget what she was doing when he’d undone the top few buttons of his shirt halfway through the night, displaying a chest that was lean but still muscular. He wasn’t her type. A little too clean-cut. But confident, with backbone to spare.

Confidence was drop-dead sexy in a man.

And yet it didn’t matter how sexy Mr. Fancy Pants was, not when so much money sat on the table. Five-card draw. Jokers wild. Real, old-fashioned poker. And over two hundred thousand dollars, stacked at her elbow. But she needed more. She had to keep playing.

More importantly, he had to keep playing. Had to keep upping the ante until she’d won enough to get out and go home.

“You got proof?” she challenged him. When he shook his head, she said, “Losing is no excuse for bad manners.”

He clenched his jaw tight. The face of his watch knocked against the table. His emerald eyes flashed, changing his expression from one of contempt to something a little more testy. Not good.

She felt about as safe as a red wriggler dangling in front of a hungry trout.

The other players leaned forward. The man on her left drummed his fingers against the table. Mr. Grant, a Los Angeles fi lm producer who liked to adjust his tie when he thought he was about to win. His hand was at his throat now, undoing his crisp Windsor knot. His lips turned up in a thin, dangerous smile. “Let’s keep the game rolling. If you’re still in.”

Luke’s gaze swept around the table, confirming that the others wanted to continue the play. “I’m in.” His gaze stopped on Glory. “What about you?” His green eyes narrowed. Thin lines radiated out from the corner of his eyes, the small imperfections making him somehow more real. Human.

“I’m not going to fold,” she said. She couldn’t leave now, not when she had a game to win. A bus to catch. A town to save.

Check out Leaving Las Vegas now!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Shivers, Chills, and Goosebumps: How to Write Scary. Entangled Publishing's Halloween Hop

Hi everyone, this is Aleah Barley! Hope you're having a spooky October.

I write funny (I hope) contemporary romances. My first book Too Hot to Handle came out last year, and my next book Leaving Las Vegas is available for presale now.

I don't write horror, but both of my books are quick paced and suspenseful with car chases, standoffs, and explosions. So, how do I write scary?

Scary is visceral.

Scary isn't about saying that June is scared.

Scary is saying:

June quivered nervously.

Scary incorporates the senses:

The taste of bile rose in her throat. The smell of gasoline from was heavy in the air. She couldn't see much, but she could hear the killer's footsteps as he crossed the cramped garage, disturbing centuries old dust.

Scary is about what happens next. What might happen next.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Leaving Las Vegas Blurb and Buy Links!

"I'm so glad what happened in Vegas didn't stay there. A sexy, fun, thrilling romp of a romance that had me alternating between a swoon and laughing out loud."
~Robin Covington, bestselling author of the Boys are Back in Town series.

Find it now at Amazon or at Barnes and Noble!

When West Virginia wild child, Glory Allen enters a private poker game with her town’s dreams at stake she loses it all. To make matters worse, she’s trapped in a car with the sexy but infuriating man who won—and accused her of cheating. Now because of him, she’s on the run from the mafia who put out a hit on the stuck-up casino magnate with the toe-curling good looks—and he isn’t even her type. So why can’t she cool the explosive chemistry between them?

She’s out of control…and she’s enough to drive Luke Tanner crazy. Yet she’s the only one willing to put her neck on the line…for him—a complete stranger she professes to hate. Now he’s in debt…to her. And it’s a debt he’s willing to work off any way she wants…on the hood of his sports car, in a waterfall—wherever she’ll have him, he’s willing to pay the price.But the stakes are raised when they return to West Virginia—helping Luke escape has put Glory and her hometown in the sites of someone who wants him dead. This time Glory decides she’s not going to end up empty-handed—it’s time for the winner to take all and she won’t stop ’til she wins his heart.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Intro to Writing

I haven’t taken a writing class since… ever. The closest I’ve come in the last few years is Candace Haven’s awesome Quick Draft workshop, which is more like the Spanish Inquisition then a learning experience (not in a bad way, swearsies). When I tell people I’m a published author (with Entangled Publishing, go team!) they almost always ask where I learned to write, I fall back on simple truths “I read a lot as a kid” and “I’ve always been a writer.”

However, I did do one of my favorite writing exercises ever in a classroom. Sixth grade. The Arts Impact Middle School in Columbus, Ohio (don’t hate me Michigan, I was only there for a few years!). My English teacher had everyone in class write down how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Then she pulled out a bag of bread, a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jelly, and a knife.

Most people had written things like “Take bread. Add peanut butter and jelly.” Some had gone as far as to add the knife. One kid had thought to open the bag. No one had thought to write the words “Open the peanut butter jar.”

When you’re writing a book, your plot and your characters are like two pieces of dry bread—essential to the sandwich—but you still need some icky, sticky, peanut butter descriptions to keep them together.  

Sometimes you have to open the jar.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna. Gluten free, Healthy, Incredibly Labor Intensive.

Yesterday I was talking to my mom on the phone (asking for a phone number because, you know, I am a ditz and recently lost my cell) and I told her I'd started cooking two hours ago and probably had another two hours to go.

She asked if I was unwell.

Not so much, I was just making spaghetti squash lasagna which first requires making homemade pasta sauce and preparing spaghetti squash. Then you cut up lots of vegetables and layer it all with cheese. What was supposed to be one lasagna turned into three, and I now have enough food to last until the end of days (and a huge thank you to my boyfriend who put it all away). 

What's your favorite labor intensive food? Do people think you're crazy when you make it? Is it worth it?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Detroit Bittersweet

I sway

Crossing cracked streets and crushing glass beneath my feet.
I sway
In this southern city built so far to the north I can touch the border, on a coast less than a mile wide;
With barbeque, jazz, and moon pie’s on sale now for a dollar ninety five;
Where boys as black as pitch and pale as ash cut their teeth on race relations I can never hope to understand as a recent traveler to this antique zombieland.
I sway
Catcalls and comments washing over my grungy jeans and laundry day shirt.
The motion of my hips moving more men than all the water in the ocean with the selfsame notion that someday I might turn to you. Talk to you. Smile at you. Laugh with you.
This is poetry in motion, you think.
This is the place where violence begins, I know, with the shouts and the winks and the slowing your car down to call out to some strange woman that you have never met. That you will never meet in this fallen city still desperately hanging on to its Motown beat.
But the only way to change the future is one step at a time. Legs stretching out in one long line. Hips swaying as I go about my business, trying not to listen to the sounds of a city that I would so dearly love to love.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Pop Up Detroit

Sushi Sunday and Taco Tuesday.

All the opportunity of a major modern city, here today and gone tomorrow.
Hipsters and handshake deals transforming empty cafĂ© kitchens into foodie fantasy—
Offer good while supplies last.
Storefronts exclusively open during events giving rise to vents of anger from a populace hungry for glass bottled sodas and screen-printed t-shirts, the opportunity to spend hard earned money more important than the goods you see—
For a limited time only.
 Books and bags replaced with terraforming florists forming a shifting bedrock of society. Rotating concessions making it impossible to plan ahead.
Leaving instead a sense of dread:
The city you wake up to may be not where you said goodnight.
Act now before it’s gone.
 Marvel at a world of maker vision and opportunity—a righteous renaissance constantly anchored by the next bright idea—never thinking of the opportunity cost of investments unmade, buildings unmortgaged, and dues unpaid in a permanent city left to fade away.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Rules to Live By

I was born in the late eighties in Los Angeles, and I’ve come to realize that most of the cute stories from my early childhood were actually the result of my mother looking for free air-conditioning (tip: art museums offer both culture and climate control). Like all kids, I like to think of myself as a rebel. In my case, this means a life spent following my bliss on nights and weekends while I work a day job. With benefits. I’ll never date an alcoholic or move cross country to marry a long distance boyfriend.

And I’ll never own a beagle.

Still, I’ve taken a few of my mother’s rules to heart:

Always buy art.

Always accept collect calls. No matter who or where they’re from.

Never turn away a friend who needs a place to stay. (In my case, they’ll be staying on the five foot long couch in my shoebox size studio apartment).  
Live like you mean it.

My grandmother can beat up your grandmother.

Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration. My grandmother’s about five feet tall—in the heels that she owns but never wears—and despite her daily bike ride and occasional turn on the elliptical you’ll never see her posed on the front of an exercise magazine: ‘Granny’s 10 Tips for Awesome Abs.’

I’d still back her in a fight.

The woman is tough.

At a time when most women were stuck in the kitchen, my grandmother was working her way to the top of her field. All while raising two kids. These days she’s retired, nominally. Which means she takes the jobs she wants—jobs that provide plane tickets to interesting places with great shopping—and is only publishing every few years.

Just don’t ask about her cooking.

Having worked her way to the top of the field she can afford to make her own rules (“I would never take a job where I had to set an alarm clock.”). However, this means she can be out of touch with the realities facing my generation (what kind of job doesn’t require an alarm clock? Seriously, I will sign up right now!).

Sorry folks. This is not your father’s job market. Or your grandmother’s. Old Economy Steve is hilarious because it’s true (awesome meme, check it out).

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Operation Detroit

I have recently come to the conclusion that I love Detroit. Sure, you can't get soup delivered when you're sick, and I'll admit that I often have to think weeks ahead when it comes to shopping (I buy most of my clothes online)... But the city has its charms: the people, the beauty, and even the difficulties.

Face it, some cities are easy to live in. Detroit's all knuckle.

So, as a lover of Detroit and an inveterate real estate ad consumer, I have come to the conclusion that I should buy into the city. Nothing says I love you like a moldering Victorian, a vegetable garden, and a Cold War with the neighbors over your urban chicken coop.

But how will I buy such a wonderland? Even in Detroit, houses of merit cost money... Not much money, but I digress.

Like all of the pioneers who have come before me, journeying forth into the wild hinterlands, I require a surplus of funds (all I know about the hinterlands I learned from playing Oregon Trail, where the banker always wins and the farmer always loses... Great metaphor for life, crappy history).

So, I will write a world famous series of books about Detroit... And you, gentle readers, will buy it.

Problem, solution.


Detroit, Michigan, a city with a heart made of steel and a soul created by hard working men and women. Joe Louis and the Dodge brothers. The Paris of the Midwest (shut up, it's a thing). It's a great setting for... An urban fantasy? Or a hardcore suspense?

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

The floor is open.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Long Day's Journey into Real Estate

I've got a secret vice, an addiction that sometimes takes over my life... And migrates onto this blog. I am completely hooked on real estate listings.

Like many addicts I caught the bug from my parents. I moved around a lot as a kid, so I have been to a lot of open houses and a metric ton of house hunts. Consider me an expert on wobbly foundations, wibbly molding, and illegal additions.

Dropping me in downtown Detroit is like putting a chocoholic knee deep in Switzerland's finest black gold.


Damn straight, it's enough to make me pull out a Beverley Hillbillies reference.

Unfortunately, like any kid in a candy shop I'm finding it hard to choose. My eyes are bigger than my head. I want them all... the historic gems on real estate websites for half what an 800 square foot ranch house in California would cost... and the abandoned bungalows, little more than windowless shacks sticking out of the snowy ground. As long as the roof's in good shape and the plumbing hasn't been stripped, I'd be happy to renovate. I even like renovating, almost as much as I like real estate listings, and if the place were in bad enough shape then I could do something really interesting. Replace entire walls with glass brick. Install an outdoor shower in the backyard. Redo an entire bathroom in cedar to make my own sauna. I don't do plumbing, and I don't do electricity but other than that I'm willing to bungle almost anything, consider me locked, loaded, and ready to go.

All I need is a registered deed, a crowbar, and a pallet full of Mexican tile.

It's cheaper than therapy.

Otherwise I just might have to join Real Estate Anonymous.

I might have to start Real Estate Anonymous. Friends of This Old House.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Following my posy about the Whitney I have had requests for more reviews... Does anyone else think this is a good idea? Should I just go back to writing melodramatic prose about Detroit? And what's up with my writing career anyway?

Seriously though, does anyone out there want to know what I think about Slows (go to there), Cliff Bell's (go to there now), or the Grand Trunk (go to there for brunch)

Thoughts and requests go in the comments section.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

To do list...

1. Do dishes... Things are evolving in their.

2. Do laundry... Clothes are important, without them you'd be naked.

3. Eat cheese... Wait, don't eat cheese. That's something you do when you finish the to do list, not something to put on the to do list.

4. Write... Work on the MS, not a blogpost... Err...

5. Avoid the cat... He's up to something.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Like a Patient Etherized Upon the Table... With Apologies to My DearCousin

So, here I am at the MOCAD art opening... Which is completely fabulous... And I have once again come to the same conclusion I always come to.

First, this sort of event is better with someone else. When every piece is a discussion point you can spend many happy hours perusing any collection. And, while I like art, that's not something I can necessarily do by myself.

Unless we're talking impressionists... Or colorists... Or any hundreds of other things that aren't this. Some of the pieces make me laugh and while it is an exhibit on perception and interpretation I get the feeling that some of the other patrons want to hit me...

Second, if every single piece has to be explained then you're over curating. And if you're over curating then there might be one or two pieces that could be cut. Art should stand on its own, evoking a response (primal or otherwise) without the use of little cards.

In conclusion, I had fun. It was like something out of Tennyson ("the ladies come and go talking of Michelangelo"). I will probably be back, I think there are some pieces that deserve a closer look when there are fewer people around, and if you're looking for something to do in Detroit than I recommend it. If you're looking to move to Detroit and want to know what kind of scene there is then this is just further proof that there's every kind of scene.

Now, should I go across the street to the super schmancy restaurant or go back to my neighborhood and eat pub food?

The Whitney

I took a wrong turn and ended up at one of Detroit's fanciest dining establishments tonight. Lord Grantham would be proud. He would also send me to my room for wearing jeans, they are nice jeans and I had a fabulous sweater over, but... jeans... That they seated me at all is a miracle. The fact that I ended up by the window and not next to the restrooms is surely proof of a deity.

I ordered the California Pinot Grigio not the Michigan (I'm not that adventurous, and they only had two Pinot grigios by the glass) and the host brought over a shrimp crostini on the house. I don't eat bread, but when you're giving me rare shrimp and goat cheese on a crostini then you're forcing my hand.

The beet salad was fantastic, beats, goat cheese, some greens, walnuts, and a mustard dressing. I'm a big fan of mustard dressings. I make my own. This one was better. The ehole thing was better. Sweet, salty, nutty, creamy, it had everything... Le sigh.

Next was another glass of wine. Again, not something I would normally do. Again, on the house. Free appetizer, free wine, double le sigh.

After that I got down to business, glazed salmon and a Brussel sprout, blue cheese, and pancetta accompaniment. Yumminess. By the end you could have rolled me way from the table. It was so good. I spent all my grocery money on one meal, and I don't regret a penny.

Thursday, January 31, 2013


To paraphrase, tonight I wore a short skirt and a long jacket. Not actually the best outfit when it's freezing out, but... Hey... I had fun, and the fashion maven/design student who works at my coffee shop said nice things about me.

It's come to my attention that I've become much girlies since moving to Detroit. If true it's because I'm in love... With compliments, and with a Midwest attitude where guys hold doors, pay for coffee, and walk me home. I know that I'm a strong, independent woman, but sometimes it's fun to get all dolled up up and have some fun.

What about you? Anyone have a favorite outfit, the kind that always gets a great response? Or--better--do you have a favorite makeover romance? The kind where everybody already knows that true beauty comes from within (My favorite is Jennifer Crusie's Bet Me... Yes, damn it, it is a makeover story. They go shopping.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Vision...

You ever want something so bad, you can see it in your mind eye? I want sunshine, dappled by shadows from a nearby tree. I want the wind to blow through my hair, bringing me the scent of posies. I want to wear an a-line dress and run my hands through the soil, planting herbs and flowers. I want to plant so much mint it crowds out the grass, and when it's all over I want a strong, gorgeous guy to stand beside me, drinking lemonade, and enjoying the view of a city just beginning to awaken after too many years in rusted slumber.

Is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Detroit by Night

It is bedtime here in Detroit (past bedtime, I am trying to be a better person) and you would expect it to be quiet. The last place I lived (western mass) the only thinGs up and about at this time of night were skunks, squirrels, and troublemaking terriers.

Here in Detroit it's another story.

Cars race by my window, the theater next door lets out, and a fluffy gray cat attempts to eat my flip flops (they're his now, damn it). Some people might think this is a downgrade. I don't. Detroit is a city on the edge, a place that can be summed up by referencing zombie movies ("you ever see I Am Legend? It's like that... with brunch."), where you can't by electronics or blue jeans and grocery shopping is only possible for a few hours on Saturday.

But if you can put it up with a thousand small indignities then Detroit is also a pretty cool place. The people are friendly. The food is awesome (don't ask about Chinese, just don't ask). There's always something happening.

And eventually the sound of cars passing on Woodward Avenue becomes a familiar setting for a night's rest. Like waves breaking against the shore, the high revving motors of Motor City lull me to sleep.

Tomorrow will be here soon enough.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Rules For Aleah's Detroit Writer's Commune

1. I am the queen. You will have no queen before me.

2. Rent is due on the first of the month. It is payable by check, money order, Paypal, or cash. Art is also accepted as a reasonable currency (see, I am a beneficent queen).

3. Weekly trips to Eastern Market are optional but encouraged. Seriously, who doesn't like locally grown produce and well hung meat?

4. When I go out of town for work someone has to feed my cat (there has to be some benefit to being queen).

5. Weekly potluck dinners at my place! Or not! Impromptu ice cream parties on the other hand will most definitely be a thing.

6. Free wi-fi! Or, I will put my router near a wall! Or you can put your router near a wall, and I will give you a break on the rent.

7. Pets are allowed, within reason (no toucans, giant squid, or elephants... Even if they are meant to be ironic.)

Seriously though, there is an apartment building for sale walking distance to my work, across the street from the new coffee place. Four units. Twenty one thousand dollars. Who doesn't think that's an awesome plan?

View from a bed...

This is my view today. On Monday I will be able to see the MLK parade out of my window. I love Detroit.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Today I was thwarted by an international syndicate of devious minded high end electronic purveyors (apple store).

How was your day?