Link

Category Archives: AOTM Interviews

Author of the Month, Grace Greene

In the midst of her personal disasters, Beth is called back to her hometown of Preston, a small town in southwestern Virginia, to settle her guardian’s estate and runs smack into the mess she’d left behind a decade earlier: her alcoholic father and the long-ago sweetheart, Michael, and the poor opinion of almost everyone in town. As she sorts through her guardian’s possessions, Beth discovers that the woman who saved her and raised her had secrets, and the truths revealed begin to chip away at her self-imposed control.

Michael is warmly attentive and Stephen, her ex-fiancé, follows her to Preston to win her back, but it’s the man she doesn’t know who could end, forever, Beth’s chance to build a better, truer life.

It’s February. The view from my desk shows leafless trees and, except for hollies and evergreens, the landscape is brown, brown and more brown. Days are short and sometimes the wind rattles the house and cold sneaks through the cracks.

I turn on my computer, open my most recent WIP and suddenly, I’m in a different place. The locale is usually warm and sunny and exciting stuff is happening – a little romance, a little danger. It’s a world I’ve built, can change at will, and have populated with the characters of my choice. Is it any wonder that I love to write?

So, it’s February – the month of Valentines and lovers. It’s the time for mid-winter revels of the heart. Flowers, syrupy cards and chocolate – for everyone. From the time our chubby little fingers can clutch a pair of safety scissors and cut a rough heart from red construction paper, we are in the game.

Love is joyful.

I’m not a romantic, except in my novels. What about you? Do you remember important dates, send flowers, find special gifts throughout the year for your loved one? When you prepare a meal, do you pay attention to the lighting and the ambience? Do you smile sweetly and hold your punches when you want to clobber him?

Love is patient.

What about a new love? Are you brave enough to risk rejection and possible humiliation? Are you able to bounce back and willing to try again? When it comes to romance novels, Valentine’s Day celebrations apply to the beginning and the end – and while everyone loves the sweet, happy stuff, it’s the anguish in the middle that drives the story and keeps us reading.

Love is tough.

In my newest release, KINCAID’S HOPE, Michael slipped a paper heart into Beth’s backpack when they were children. Beth kept it and two decades later, it resurfaces, and so does Michael. But the old issues are still there and without forgiveness they’re stuck in the past where love can’t flourish. KINCAID’S HOPE is about timing – how each piece of life, the elements of our living, has its own time. A true life and genuine love can’t be fabricated or forced, but if your heart and head are open and free of bitterness, you might be able to recognize the real thing when it happens.

Love is worth the effort.

My debut release, BEACH RENTAL, also deals with love in its many types. I mention it here because BEACH RENTAL has a Valentine scene set at a real event: the Carolina Chocolate Festival in Morehead City, North Carolina.  Chocolate and charities – hard to beat that, but if you’re interested, you have to move quickly because the festival happens the first weekend in February and is a delightful jumpstart to a month of Valentines and lovers of all kinds.

My Valentine to you is an excerpt from both books, KINCAID’S HOPE and BEACH RENTAL, at this link:  http://gracegreene.wordpress.com

Also, (and this is the first time I’ve ever done this!) to celebrate the release of KINCAID’S HOPE, use the coupon codes below to save $1 on the purchase of BEACH RENTAL (eformat) at Smashwords or at the Turquoise Morning Press Bookstore! The coupon codes are valid through February 15th, 2012.

Save $1 on BEACH RENTAL at Smashwords: TF98J

Save $1 on BEACH RENTAL (eformat) at the TMP store: BEACH25

Here’s a short synopsis of KINCAID’S HOPE:

Beth Kincaid left her hot temper and unhappy childhood behind and created a life in the city free from untidy emotionalism, but even a tidy life has danger, especially when it falls apart.

In the midst of her personal disasters, Beth is called back to her hometown of Preston, a small town in southwestern Virginia, to settle her guardian’s estate. There, she runs smack into the mess she’d left behind a decade earlier: her alcoholic father, the long-ago sweetheart, Michael, and the poor opinion of almost everyone in town. As she sorts through her guardian’s possessions, Beth discovers that the woman who saved her and raised her had secrets, and the truths revealed begin to chip away at her self-imposed control.

Michael is warmly attentive and Stephen, her ex-fiancé, follows her to Preston to win her back, but it is the man she doesn’t know who could forever end Beth’s chance to build a better, truer life. (Sweet, Mild Heat)

KINCAID’S HOPE  is available in trade paperback and e-formats at these links:

Amazon Print    Amazon Kindle   B&N Print   B&N Nook   Smashwords    TMP Bookstore – Print  TMP Bookstore – eformats

Grace Greene writes fiction with romance, suspense and inspiration, always with a strong heroine at its heart and a happily-ever-after ending. Her debut novel, BEACH RENTAL, released in 2011 and her second novel, KINCAID’S HOPE, released in January 2012.

Grace is also an artist and photographer and these interests show up on the pages of her books. She lives in central Virginia.

Contact Grace via her website:

www.GraceGreeneAuthor.com and on Facebook and her Twitter handle is @Grace_Greene


Author of the Month, Rachel Kramer Bussel

This Irresistible read features stories of couples turning their deepest fantasies into reality for uninhibited and imaginative sex. You’ll delight in discovering all the exciting erotic possibilities, and ways of getting and staying turned on. It all starts with a little sexting in A.M. Hartnet’s sizzling “Safe fro Work” office tryst and Cole Riley’s moving “Same As It Ever Was” shows that makeup sex can be the start of something new and better. Dirty talk leads to lustful surprises and inspiration for the neighbors in “The Mitzvah” by Tiffany Reisz. Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel notes that the lovers in this daringly romantic anthology are “able to open up in the ways they do is precisely because they have another person to rely on, coax them, challenge them, tease them and seduce them into traveling down a new sexual path. Whether that means outdoor sex, kink, a trip to a strip club or a very sensual massage, we get to see how the layers of trust that have been built up get used to stoke the fire that burns between them.”

You’re an author, editor, blogger and event organizer—but what’s fascinating is that you have a love of cupcakes and have created a blog devoted to them. How did this come about?

Thank you! Well, I started Cupcakes Take the Cake back in December 2004, before cupcakes were quite as big as they are now. At the time, I had a personal blog (which I still write, Lusty Lady), and a cupcake blog seemed like fun. Little did I know! What started on a whim grown into a site with over 15,000 posts, and has become a part-time job that’s led me to meet some amazing people and eat cupcakes all over, including 17 states and 3 countries, so far! It’s the perfect antidote to writing and I wake up each morning and am instantly cheered up by all the amazing cupcakes people are creating. We’re planning a cupcake cruise to Bermuda this summer – more info on that is at http://www.cupcakecruise.com – I blog every day and it’s always fun and delightful to see what people have cooked up.

How many books did you write before you sold?

I’ve yet to write an entire book, but I had sold a few short stories before being asked to co-edit an anthology back in, I believe, 2002, which led to editing my own anthologies, which I’ve been doing for the past 7 years. Irresistible is my 43rd anthology, and I love the process because it’s a break from writing and gives me the chance to connect with so many other writers.

Can you tell us a little bit your current release? How did you come up with the idea?

Irresistible: Erotic Romance for Couples is a collection of short stories about a range of types of couples and how they relate to each other, sexually and otherwise. For those who like longer short stories, this has them, and a lot of emotional depth along with very hot sex. I’m always looking for new ideas for anthologies, and I find that with erotica a lot of times authors write stories about people who’ve just met; it makes sense, because there’s instant drama there. But there’s also plenty of drama within relationships, whether long-term or not, and I wanted to explore that; how does sex change over time? How do couples get over ruts? How does their passion change and grow? What do they learn about themselves and each other? This book looks at couples dealing with military life, campaign politics, makeup sex, overcoming fears, sexual frustration, along with dirty talk, office sex, an erotic massage, sharing fantasies, and friends who make a pact to get together romantically if they’re still single by a certain age (they are). Delilah Night writes in “Renewal” a line that I adore: “That touch sent a long-missing ripple through my body. I hesitated, hoping he’d remember what I love.” They explore real-life issues that real couples and real people face, and show that sex can be healing and empowering, and the authors take the time to really dig in to that notion and explore it fully. “Repaint the Night” by Janine Ashbless is one of the best erotic stories I’ve ever read, and it deals with a woman who’s afraid to go out at night, even to the mailbox or the bus, after she’d been mugged, but ten years later she does, along with her partner. It’s not always wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am or about fulfilling an outrageous fantasy all by yourself, so instead of, say, the protagonist in my story going to a strip club by herself, she takes her husband. It’s about couples working through their jealousy and desires and fears as a team. So this is a great Valentine’s Day book to read alone or with a lover. You can read excerpts at http://irresistibleanthology.com/2011/12/26/16-sexy-story-excerpts-from-irresistible-erotic-romance-for-couples/

Being an erotic author, do you have the support of your family and with friends? Or have you faced any negativity about your choice in writing genre?

For the most part, almost all my family are supportive, as are my friends. They don’t all read my work but they know what I do, and I think that’s a fine tradeoff. While I’ve received the occasional hate mail, by and large my career has been helped by writing erotica and nonfiction about sex. If it has closed some professional doors, it’s opened infinitely more. Sometimes I won’t tell someone about my erotica and they find out and generally are super supportive; people feel they can tell me things about their personal life because of what I do, and that has led to countless fascinating conversations, which sometimes lead to topics to write about in fiction or nonfiction.

How do you balance writing and family? What are some things you do to get your writing back on track?

I’m single, so my biggest challenge is balancing writing and my social life. Recently, I became self-employed, so that’s become an extra challenge because I need to conserve my time all the more. I try to set aside more time than I might actually need for my fiction because it almost always takes longer than planned. I usually write in public at cafes because it keeps me more accountable and also gives me things and people to look at to prod my writing when it’s going slowly. I also visit photo and fashion blogs for inspiration; sometimes when I zoom in on a detail, whether a piece of clothing or a certain aspect of someone’s appearance, I can get back to what I’m trying to say.

Do you have a daily ritual to get you in the “writing zone”?

I wish I did, and am trying to cultivate one. I get my best ideas in the morning and that is when I try to throw myself into writing, ideally first thing when I wake up, before I’ve even left my bed, before the world has fully invaded my mind. Usually I go to my local coffee shop, drink a very large coffee, do some cupcake blogging and emailing and then dive right in to either editing other people’s stories or working on one of my own. When I write, I tend to write very fast, but it’s getting to that point that’s the hardest part.

What do you like to do on your spare time outside of writing? How do you stay inspired?

I love people watching and talking to people and traveling. I travel a lot, which helps me stay out of a rut and explore and learn, and I’m almost always inspired when I visit a new place. Maybe I get a setting for a story or a scenario; I think the act of going somewhere new rattles something in my brain and forces me to be more observant, because everything seems new, even if it’s just Starbucks.

What is the most difficult part of your writing journey? What is the most exciting part?

This might be a total cliché, but the writing is the hardest part. I love and hate writing about equally passionately, and I think for me I love the idea stage the most, when a brainstorm hits and I think, “That would be a great plot for a story.” Even a great plot doesn’t write itself and I got lucky in the first few years I was writing erotica because it seemed so easy; now I often struggle more, even when I’m 75% of the way through a piece. One day I sat for 10 hours (with a few breaks for stretching and food) at a café and finally at the end got up and had a 4,000-word story completed. Sometimes that’s what it takes. The most exciting part is still getting a huge package of my books in the mail. That is always such a thrill, even when I’m expecting them. It feels like such a reward for all my hard work and I love getting to touch and savor the books for the first time, before anyone else.

Will you be making any New Year’s resolutions for 2012?

No, because I get too disappointed with myself when I don’t live up to them!

Tell us one thing or habit that you have that no one knows!

Hmm…I’m such an over-sharer that that’s a tough one! I know lots of people think I’m a big baker because of my cupcake blog but I don’t bake and can barely cook, though I do plan to try to get a few dishes into my cooking repertoire this year. Baking I will leave to the experts for the most part; I’m much better at eating cupcakes!

Any last words for your readers?

I’ve been reading romance since I was a teenager and am honored to be here. Happy 2012!

What should we expect from you in the future?

I’ve got a lot more erotica coming at you, with Curvy Girls: Erotica for Women out from Seal Press this spring, plus Going Down: Oral Sex Stories and Suite Encounters: Hotel Sex Stories out from Cleis Press, along with a separate hotel erotica ebook I’m doing with Cleis. I’m also finishing up my first solo short story collection, which will contain a mix of favorites I’ve written over the last decade and a lot of new stories. I’m having fun with that one. And I’m hoping to have some new calls for submissions for anthologies up soon!

 

Rachel Kramer Bussel is a New York-based author, editor, blogger and event organizer. She’s edited over 40 anthologies, including Women in Lust, Passion: Erotic Romance for Women, Obsessed, Fast Girls, Orgasmic and the nonfiction Best Sex Writing series. She writes a sex column for SexIs Magazine and writes widely about sex, dating, books and pop culture. Her work has been published in over 100 anthologies, including Susie Bright’s X: The Erotic Treasury and Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006, Zane’s Succulent: Chocolate Flava II, and she has written for The Fix, The Frisky, GOOD, Mediabistro, Penthouse, The Root, Salon, Time Out New York, The Village Voice, xoJane, Zink and other publications. For five years, she hosted In The Flesh Reading Series. She blogs at Lusty Lady (http://lustylady.blogspot.com) and Cupcakes Take the Cake (http://cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.com), and she has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show, The Gayle King Show and Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

Author of the Month, Terri Wolffe

The cunningly audacious Lady Lucinda Davenport is by no means a conventional woman. Smart and fiercely determined, she’s more comfortable adding numbers than she’ll ever be socializing with highfalutin members of the ton. When desperate straits force her into action to save her home and lands, she finds herself faced with only one option. Summoning every ounce of her courage, she sets in motion a wild and raunchy scheme that would set the ton on fire if they ever caught wind of her actions.

Lucien Brandford, fourth Duke of Carlsborough, is a dangerous man. Wealthy beyond imagination and handsome to a fault, the Duke is sought after by nearly every woman of the ton. Single, widowed, or married, ladies vie for his attention with cutthroat precision. But the Duke has no tolerance for the machinations of his title and fortune-hungry peers. He seeks his pleasure from women who require no commitment.

That attitude ensnares the Duke in Lady Lucinda’s plan. Caught unawares, Lucien finds himself at the mercy of a bold and luscious woman whom he cannot decide if he wants to strangle or bed.

The sensual dance that follows between captor and captive as they engage in a volatile battle for control, culminates in a seismic eruption—both psychological and sensual. As tempers flare and sparks fly, an intense and erotic interlude of passion ensues.

The temperamental lovers soon discover what all the world knows: that in order to possess the love of a lifetime, they must submit to one another to conquer their own Desperate Desires.

Who/what challenged you to face your fear?

I realized that I was allowing life to pass me by before dipping my feet into the publishing well. And fear was stopping me from further exploration. I LOVE to read!

It was while I was reading a book about living your passion that I identified that there WAS something that I’ve always wanted to do, but had never permitted myself to do: For a long time, I’ve wanted to write erotic fiction! Yet, lack of courage kept me from putting pen to paper. By day, I am a business development maven who works with ultra high net-worth families and individuals. It’s a fast-paced arena where creative writing never comes into play! Somehow, I challenged myself to move beyond the fear: So what if I fail miserably? At least I’ve tried and moved past the sidelines to participate in the actual game!

Since then, I’ve migrated to the lighter side of fun and games that can be found only when a man and woman are entangled in the sensual games that people play…

How did you translate your desire into action (i.e., who/what helped you get published)?

I found that I had to force myself to write. It’s amazing because it seemed that every time I sat down to write, distractions would appear. I’d have the sudden urge to vacuum or clean my house or call someone on the phone. But recognizing that these actions were feeding my limited belief in myself, I pushed past the tiny voice in the back of my head that told me I couldn’t do it. And that’s when the spigot burst open! Turns out I had a lot to say!

After researching the publishing industry and the latest trends therein, I knew I would self publish Desperate Desires and Reckless Desires straight to Amazon.comand Barnes and Nobles.com. I have not regretted it!

Tell us about the storyline that has been in the back of my head for 20 years.

I wanted to write a hot, steamy story where the characters loved each other uninhibitedly! In short, I wrote the type of book I wanted to read. And yet, what isn’t in the blurb is how ‘H.O.T.’ the book is. While there are no ‘off-the-wall-hanging-from-the-ceiling’ scenarios in the books, Desperate Desires andReckless Desires are erotic pieces. And because they are novellas, one doesn’t get to the middle of the book before the main characters are engaged in the act. However, Lucien and Lucinda have their tender moments as well as a happy ending.

Other than the task at hand for Lady Lucinda Davenport and Lord Lucien Brandford, what do they each want to do but fear to do it?

As it is in real life, I would say that above all, Lucien and Lucinda just want to be loved! I realize that, hands down, my favorite scenes (yes, plural!) to write were the love scenes. The characters fear not finding love for themselves in the midst of a crazy, crazy world.

I would also add that while researching the time period that I was writing about, making sure that my storyline had an 1800’s feel to it and ensuring that the characters spoke the dialect from that period of time, was crucial for me.

To get a feel for the book, I would encourage your readers to view the Desperate Desires book trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HawXbGjLpmU


What’s next for Terri Wolffe?

While I love reading Historical Romances, there are other genres I want to write in, e.g., the paranormal genre. Which is what I am working on now.

How can the readers stay in touch with you online?

I would be honored it readers would follow me onFacebook and on Twitter. I can also be reached via my website: TerriWolffe.com.”

Lastly, let me say that as a novelist, what I’ve enjoyed most is meeting people like you. Your willingness and eagerness to assist others like me in any way that you can in our publishing journey, deserves accolades. And I want you to know how very thankful I am for your graciousness and helpfulness.

Recently, Terri Wolffe was challenged by the question: “What is it that you’ve always wanted to do, but never allowed yourself to do because of fear?”

The resounding answer for her was: “I’ve always wanted to write an historical romance novel!”

Pouncing on that flash of inspiration, she set out to try her hand at writing her very first historical, erotic romance. Terri admits that she had to overcome fears such as, “What will people think? What will people say? What if you fail and fall flat on your face?”

Three months later, Desperate Desires was born.

Terri is an avid reader who enjoys suspense, thrillers, some paranormal and horror, and of course, her very favorite: Romance. Her list of cherished authors includes Susan Johnson, Elizabeth Boyle, Robyn Williams, John Connolly, Lee Child, Scott Turrow, John Grisham, Dan Mahoney, Steven Bochco and Phillip Margolin.

Not much of a television watcher, on any day of the week, you’ll find Terri reading a good book.

For more information about Terri, you can visit her website atwww.TerriWolffe.com

To purchase at Amazon, please click here.

To purchase at Barnes and Noble, please click here.


Author of the Month, Gemma Halliday

 

Gemma is giving away an print ARC of SOCIAL SUICIDE. To get your name in the drawing, all you have to do is leave a comment. A winner will be chosen at random and will be notifiied via email. Please leave an email addy if it is not available on your profile.

You’re best known for your SPYING IN HIGH HEELS mystery series and now you’ve added Young Adult fiction to your resume. How difficult was it to transition between genres?

Actually, it wasn’t that difficult.  I just had to tap into my immature side (which was embarrassingly easy) and away it went.  My teen books are a lot like my adult mysteries – the tone is very similar –  it’s just that the subject matter and content is more geared to a younger audience.

Did you have any concerns when you worked on your first teen mystery series or did it come naturally for you? Did you have help with the teen lingo and mental angst in your storytelling?

My biggest concern was sounding “fake teen” or using lingo that real teens don’t actually use anymore.  Things change so fast in the teen world!  Luckily, my son is a tween himself, so he helped me out whenever I had lingo questions.

How many books did you write before you sold?

I wrote five books before number six finally sold for me.

Can you tell us a little bit your current release? How did you come up with the idea?

I’m totally thrilled about my new release (coming out December 1st at Barnes & Noble and January 1st everywhere else)!  It’s the sixth installment in my High Heels Mysteries, titled FEARLESS IN HIGH HEELS.  I had planned on ending this series with book #5, so it’s been a few years since I’ve had a chance to revisit these characters.  Writing about them again was so much fun, that I plan to continue the series indefinitely now.

Here’s a short blurb about the book:

FEARLESS IN HIGH HEELS

Morning sickness sucks. Which is why fashion designer turned amateur sleuth Maddie Springer has spent the last six weeks being a couch potato and Moonlight movie devotee. But when Maddie’s best friends finally convince her to venture out, Maddie stumbles on a dead body of a girl who has been bitten on the neck, and life imitates art in the most deadliest of ways. Now Maddie is smack in the middle of a murder investigation involving a deadly dance club and a coven of Hollywood “vampires”. Not to mention navigating the world of baby showers, diaper genies and Lamaze classes with her LAPD Homicide detective husband who would rather his pregnant wife not continue popping up in his murder investigation. Between the hormones, the homicides, and a flurry of fangs, Maddie and her gang work to track down the deadly truth… before the killer bites again!

Out of an ocean of published authors, you’ve done very well for yourself in the self pub market. How does it feel to be a sort of leader in this new publishing direction? 

I’m not sure if I’m a leader, since there are so many authors I look up to who are doing very well also.  But it does feel great to have other publishing options.  I’m actually doing a series of blog posts at Killer Fiction this month on self-publishing, my numbers, and what’s worked for me.  So if anyone else out here is thinking of giving it a try, please stop by with questions in hand!

www.KillerFiction.net

Barnes and Noble has been a big supporter of your writing endeavors. How does it feel to write a sequel to your popular SPYING IN HIGH HEELS series and being asked to release exclusively through them for the first month? That’s a big honor, so what was your reaction to this?

I’ll admit, I was actually a little nervous at first. Lol!  I know a lot of my readers are Kindle based, so I was worried about what their reaction to having to wait a month longer to get the book might be.  But so far, it’s been fine.  And I’ve actually heard from quite a few people who plan to download the free Nook app to their computer for the first time in order to get the book when it first release.  So I hope this means lots of extra business for Barnes & Noble, too!  They’ve been wonderfully supportive of me, and I really think they have excellent system in place for self-publishers with their PubIt! program.

What personal goals have you made for yourself this year?

Oh, I have a lot of them for the new year, but my top three are:

1) Slow down!  I’ve been writing at a break-neck speed for the past two years and am ready to take it more slowly and really enjoy writing again, as opposed to worrying about the deadlines.

2) Read more!  I think I’ve managed to read one book all year other than my own.  So I really need to carve out some time to read again.

3) Self-publish more!  Even from the time I first started self-publishing (18 months ago) to now, technology has gone so fast that some of my methods are outdated.  I definitely want to put more focus into this aspect of my career in the near future.

Tell us one thing or habit that you have that no one knows! 

I keep chocolate candy in my desk drawer.  Shhh, don’t tell my kids!

What should we expect from you in the future?

I have a new series debuting in hardcover called PLAY NICE, March 14th, that I am super excited about.  We’re fielding some film offers for this project now, so I hope to have more good news to share on that front as the release date gets closer.

I also have the second book in my young adult series, SOCIAL SUICIDE, coming out in April 2012, which I’m thrilled about as my oldest son insisted I write him into it as a character.  Ten points to anyone who can pick him out!  😉

Gemma had a hard time figuring out what she wanted to be when she grew up. She worked as a film and television actress, a teddy bear importer, a department store administrator, a preschool teacher, a temporary tattoo artist, and a 900 number psychic, before finally selling her first book, Spying in High Heels, in 2005 and deciding to be a writer.

Since then, Gemma has written several mystery novels and been the recipient of numerous awards, including a National Reader’s Choice award and three RITA nominations.

Gemma now makes her home in the San Francisco Bay area where she is hard at work on her next book.

To learn more about Gemma, visit her at:

www.gemmahalliday.com


 

 

Author of the Month, Kristen Painter

Rebellion has a price…

Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelle’s body bears the telltale marks of a comarré — a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world…and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks.

Now, Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign.

BUY NOW: Amazon | Target | B & N

Kristen is giving away an print ARC of BLOOD RIGHTS. To get your name in the drawing, all you have to do is leave a comment. A winner will be chosen at random and will be notifiied via email. Please leave an email addy if it is not available on your profile.

You’ve just released BLOOD RIGHTS, your first book in the House of Comarré vampire series, how does it feel to finally see your years of hard work coming to fruition?

It’s pretty freaking awesome. Like a literary Christmas!

Writers encounter a gambit of emotions on their journey to New York publication, what was it like during your darkest hours? Your most happiest?

Well, my darkest hour is probably what led to me writing Blood Rights in the first place. I was close to quitting writing altogether. My happiest involved celebrating the sale of Blood Rights with spaghetti and meatballs. LOL

We love stories about “the call”. What were you doing at the time and do you remember how you felt when it happened?

I think I was working on my computer. I don’t really remember. I know that’s weird. It felt…surreal. And I wasn’t sure how to feel. In fact, I think my agent actually said to me, “Aren’t you excited about this?” I was! But I’d been so close to a sale before that my excitement was tempered with a healthy dose of skepticism. When she told me it was really happening, I let myself freak out.

How do you feel about the self-pub/indie explosion and are you concerned about the impact it is having on the publishing world?

I think it’s a mixed bag. On one hand, it’s great that established authors can put their backlist up or publish books that New York couldn’t find a home for, but there’s a glut of work out there and a good percentage of it shouldn’t have been published. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I firmly believe a writer needs to go through the editorial process before they publish.

As far as how it’s impacting the publishing world, I don’t think the sky is falling. Pieces of it might be coming down, but self-pubbed books aren’t going to replace traditionally pubbed books anymore than Youtube videos are going to take the place of Hollywood. Things will change because they have to change, but traditional publishers aren’t going away.

Do you have a daily ritual to get you in the “writing zone”?

Just a good firm talk with myself about how it’s time to stop fooling around on twitter and get some freaking pages done.

What do you like to do on your spare time outside of writing? How do you stay inspired?

I read, I watch movies and tv and I really try to get outside and breath some fresh air once in a while. Other than that, free time isn’t always readily available when I’m on deadline. Also, I travel a lot, so I try to have a little fun when I’m away. Helps make it seem less like work.

What personal goals have you made for yourself this year?

Crap. I was supposed to make personal goals?

Tell us one thing or habit that you have that no one knows!

I snap my gum. Drives my husband crazypants.

Any last words for your readers?

Keep reading! I love that about you!

What should we expect from you in the future?

Books 4 and 5 in the House of Comarre series (OUT FOR BLOOD and LAST BLOOD) will be up next, followed hopefully/possibly/maybe by a spin off series.

When the characters in Kristen Painter’s head started to take over, she decided to exorcise them onto paper and share them with the world. She writes paranormal romance for Samhain Publishing and has the first of three books in her gothic fantasy vampire series, Blood Rights, coming from Orbit in fall 2011. She has also been published in non-fiction, poetry and short stories. The former college English teacher can often be found online at Romance Divas, the award-winning writers’ forum she co-founded. She’s represented by Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency.

To learn more about Kristen, visit her at:

www.kristenpainter.com
www.houseofcomarre.com

 

Author of the Month, Jeannie Lin

The Most Beautiful Courtesan of Them All

Former Emperor’s consort Ling Suyin is renowned for her beauty; the ultimate seductress. Now she lives quietly alone–until the most ruthless warlord in the region comes and steals her away…

Li Tao lives life by the sword, and is trapped in the treacherous, lethal world of politics. The alluring Ling Suyin is at the center of the web. He must uncover her mystery without falling under her spell–yet her innocence calls out to him. How cruel if she, of all women, can entrance the man behind the legend…


Jeannie is giving away an print ARC of THE DRAGON AND THE PEARL. To get your name in the drawing, all you have to do is leave a comment. A winner will be chosen at random and will be notifiied via email. Please leave an email addy if it is not available on your profile.

You write historical romances that aren’t set in the standard Victorian or Regency era but set during the Golden Age of China—specifically, the Wuxia period—do you feel that your stories have been well received by readers?

It’s hard to say. It seems like there’s a small and enthusiastic group of readers who are looking for something a little bit different who seem to really enjoy them, which has been really uplifting. Whenever I get a little note from a reader telling me how refreshing the stories are, it really makes me feel like I’m filling somehow filling a void.

Did you feel it was a risk that you took or do you think readers have been eager to discover something new and different?

I think writing in this setting is a risk and always will be one in terms of having a built in market. Readers need to take a bit of a leap of faith to try a new author let alone a setting and story that contains different elements from what they know they like. For me personally, I don’t think I could have done it any other way, but every story is still a little bit of a risk. I don’t really have an established cannon of similar works and settings to draw from so in a way, there are less perceived “rules” for me. That’s both risky and freeing.

Can you tell us a little bit your current or upcoming release? How did you come up with the idea?

THE DRAGON AND THE PEARL, available September 20, is my upcoming release. The linked short story, THE LADY’S SCANDALOUS NIGHT, was released from Harlequin Undone on September 1st. THE DRAGON AND THE PEARL is a follow up story to my debut novel. What I really wanted to do initially was find a love story for the character of the courtesan Ling Suyin, who had appeared in all of my manuscripts. I had no idea who would be her match until the warlord Li Tao emerged as the villain in BUTTERFLY SWORDS.

From there, the story evolved. I tend to replay movie-style scenes over and over in my head while I plot and I’m very heavily influenced by the Hong Kong wuxia movies I used to watch as a kid. BUTTERFLY SWORDS was an homage to the swordfight and warrior culture in those movies. I always thought of THE DRAGON AND THE PEARL as a nod to the element of intrigue and the secret societies found in Hong Kong cinema. In those movies, it was never a clear battle of good versus evil. Rather the line between villain and hero became blurred.

So many authors are writing in different genres, do you plan on doing the same?

I’m trying my hand at a historical paranormal as well as steampunk and am keeping my fingers crossed. Everything I’ve worked on is still very historical in nature. It’s really my muse for now.

How has your experience been with Harlequin since winning the Golden Heart and publishing?

Let me tell you, when I saw the cover for THE DRAGON AND THE PEARL, it nearly brought tears to my eyes. When so many other Asian covers were getting whitewashed and sales were low all over the board for new authors, I looked at that distinctive cover and felt that Harlequin was doubling down on me, for better or worse. I know it’s a business and in the end it’s about sales, but I feel that my editor is completely behind me and doing whatever she can to make me successful when it will likely be a long, long time before these books will enjoy the reach that more popular settings have. So far, I’ve contracted a total of three novels and six short stories with Harlequin.

What is the most difficult part of your writing journey? What is the most exciting part?

Since my release dates have been pretty far apart, I hadn’t felt any deadline pressure until recently when I was struggling with pregnancy hormones and I had just contracted two new stories without a single idea in my head about what they would be about. So I guess the hardest part of the journey would be coming up with a suitable idea based on a timeline while life continues to roll on. My ideas have to percolate for a long time in my head before I start writing them so I’m always afraid the next idea won’t come.

The most exciting part is just being able to execute these stories and to see them through from start to finish. With each release, I’m still in disbelief that I get to do this.

Who or what is your personal influence or inspiration?

My Little Sis continues to be my most important influence. My sister is my ideal reader and internal editor, all rolled into one. She never lets me get away with anything. Just okay is never good enough and she always challenges me to do better.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years in publishing? What do you hope to achieve?

In five years everyone will know my name, dahling.  🙂

Seriously, as a child, I dreamed of having a single book published before I die. I’m already there, so the rest is frosting. Whenever I forget this, my sister reminds me. You’re living the dream, she tells me. You’re really doing it.

Tell us one thing or habit that you have that no one knows!

To brainstorm or plot, sometimes I have to go and lie down and hug my pillow. I think it’s because I was always a daydreamer. I used to take forever falling asleep at night, so when I was young I would lay there, hugging my pillow, and run through fantastic stories in my head. When I write a story now, I’ve already run through the movie in my head a hundred times, pruning and cutting and editing it already.

What should we expect from you in the future?

All I hope for is to get a little bit better of a writer with each book.

Any last words for your readers?

Thank you for all the encouragement and support.

Jeannie Lin grew up fascinated with stories of Western epic fantasy and Eastern martial arts adventures. When her best friend introduced her to romance novels in middle school, the stage was set. Jeannie started writing her first romance while working as a high school science teacher in South Central Los Angeles. After four years of trying to break into publishing with an Asian-set historical, her 2009 Golden Heart Award–winning manuscript, Butterfly Swords, sold to Harlequin Mills & Boon. With several releases and more upcoming titles all set in the Tang Dynasty, she’s keeping her fingers crossed that this hard-sell genre will one day be hard to resist.


Author of the Month, Inez Kelley

Dr. Bastian Talbot and self-proclaimed sex goddess Charlie Pierce heat up the air waves with their flirty banter as radio hosts Dr. Hot and the Honeypot. Off the air, they’re best friends…but Bastian wants to be so much more. He wants Charlie—in bed, and forever.

Problem is, Charlie doesn’t do commitment. Sure, she’s had X-rated fantasies of Bastian, but he was always just a friend—until he impulsively proposes and unleashes the lust they’ve been denying for years. Charlie’s willing to explore where their wild chemistry leads, but she won’t marry him. And he won’t have sex with her until she accepts his proposal, despite her seductive schemes.

What are Dr. Hot and the Honeypot to do? Ask their listeners for advice on how to tame a sex kitten and turn a perfect gentleman into a shameless lover. The Race to Wed or Bed is on…who will turn up on top?

Available at most ebook retailers like B&N and AMAZON

WORDPLAY AS FOREPLAY

by Inez Kelley

I have a big mouth. Shocking, I know but I do. Friends swear I’m the secret offspring of a sailor and a trucker. I once won an award for the filthiest mouth. But then, I’ve also been called lyrical and lush, a painter with words. I like to talk and when I can’t talk, I write.

I’m legally blind. As a child, it sucked. I had no depth perception so sports and I weren’t the best of friends. Hell, even setting the table was an adventure. Four-eyes and Froggie were some of the nicer names I heard behind my back and occasionally to my face. The kid who was always picked last at sports poked fun at me. Kids are cruel, that will never change.

So, I turned to friends who didn’t care, books. I flew airplanes and ran races and fought in battles all through words. Where kids my age were sharpening their batting skills, I was sharpening my tongue, my brain.

I’ve never left my weapons behind. An old expression says the pen is mightier than the sword and, although in a face-to-face combat that might not work, in general, it’s true. I learned words stopped most teasing sessions before they got too painful, diffused angry situations with humor or reached out to bridge gaps. Words became my hollow-point bullets and my olive branches.

But along with that sharp-tongue came a love of the lyrical word, of the rhythm of how sounds roll together to create an image. This is one of my favorite passages:

Myla as a lover was incredible. Myla as a jaguar was mesmerizing. Myla as a warrior was breathtaking. If war could be called music, she would be its dancer for her grace and speed were choreographed to a deadly melody. Each twirl and vault of her stance seemed more ballet than fight but her blade drew blood time and time again. In the midst of death and bloodshed, she captivated him. –Myla by Moonlight

Now that’s not to say that my mouth never got in me into trouble. It did. For example, I was sixteen and had been chosen as one of two teens from my state to go to the Capitol in Washington DC for some type of Youth Summit program. One kid from California made fun of us Hillbillies and asked if we had to wear shoes to school or were those saved for special occasions, like inbred weddings.

Without thinking, I whipped around and said that shoes were mandatory in school but panties were optional and he could pucker up and kiss my Hillbilly ass. *Ahem* My sponsor/teacher did not find that amusing at all.

That word play, is how I deal with life. Today, I have super high-strength contacts and glasses, and I’ve outgrown the taunting. I’m a smart-ass who can delve into purple prose, although I try to reign in the lilac. I try to balance the teases with the purple, the rhyme with the melody. That wordplay inspired my August Carina Press release TURN IT UP.

TURN IT UP is all about wordplay as foreplay.

 

“What’s your favorite sexual position, Bastian?”

Too soon. “Where in the hell do you come up with these questions?” Even after six years, she never failed to surprise him.

“Uh, tomorrow’s show, ‘Assuming the Position,’ remember? I just thought it’d be a good idea to go over some of our answers since the topic is bound to get a bit touchy.”

She did have a point. They often semi-rehearsed their supposed off-the-cuff answers. It added more strength to her professional demeanor. His, too, he supposed, but still, never ask a man with a hard-on what position he likes best. It was cruel and malicious torture.

“You first,” he hedged, earning a sly grin. She liked to think he was shy at times, and he had no problem allowing that.

“I like them all. But I guess, if I had to pick, I’d go with cowgirl.”

Charlie, bare-breasted above him, hips rising and falling. Great, another image to flush out of my head. Think abscessed diabetic ulcers. “Why?”

Her shoulders shrugged and she burrowed deeper into his shirt. “I like control, no secret there. I bet I can guess yours.”

The tease lifted his eyebrows. “Okay, go for it.”

“You’re the old-fashioned type, so I’ll guess…missionary.”

She knew him too damn well. “Guilty as charged. I like to see my lover’s eyes looking up at me.”

“Oooh, how romantic,” she purred. “And the fact you get to control everything has nothing to do with it.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Topping is the power position. You set the pace, the depth, the subtle shifts that prolong things.”

“Tell you what, Honey, next time you sit on my lap, I’ll let you prolong anything you want.”

His flirt hung heavy but she laughed it off. Calling her by her radio persona insulated him. This was Doc teasing Honey, not Bastian flirting with Charlie, at least to her.

“In your imagination, Doc.” She saluted him with her bottle. “And speaking of imagination, next week’s show on self-love—you okay with that? Some men get twitchy.”

“Yep. Masturbation is a normal human behavior. I’ll have all my facts in order, don’t you worry.” Saucy Doc Hot took hold of his tongue and ran with his thoughts before his brain could catch it. “How’s the self-love treating you lately, Honey?”

Cornflower eyes widened before narrowing in challenge. This banter was what made their show spicy and successful.

“Just fine, Doc. How about you? You handling everything all right?”

His cheeks warmed but he never dropped his gaze. “Been a little lax lately, too many ER shifts and not enough sleep.”

“Tsk-tsk-tsk. You can’t neglect yourself. All work and no self-play makes Doc a grumpy boy. Find a few minutes to take care of business, will you?” A vampish smile curled seductively. “Let me know if you need a hand.”

“You’d need both.”

 

It’s not the size of the word, it’s the power it carries. Talk is foreplay. Use it!

Inez Kelley is a multi-published author of various romance genres. You can visit her at her website http://inezkelley.com/ Follow her on twitter at@Inez_Kelley or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/inez.kelley

Her backlist includes the riveting contemporary Sweet as Sin, a laugh-out-loud comedy Jinxed, the award-winning fantasy Myla by Moonlight and the sequel, Salome at Sunrise, steamy Lipstick on his Collar and books two and three of the erotic Dirty Laundry series, Talk Dirty to Me and Coming Clean.

 

 

Author of the Month, Mima


GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME

I used to write. I mean, with a pen, in a notebook. It was an activity on par with sticking my fingers in jelled paint and slicking them across a paper. That is, it was a riot. A messy, colorful bomb of “and how about this?” I’ve spent much of the last year “stuck.” Very very stuck. Here’s my journey of how I got stuck, and unstuck.

Before publishing, in my notebooks, I wrote notes about plots without ever creating a sentence of story, I wrote family trees for a person in a magazine ad, I wrote lyrical, overwrought scenes about masks. I wrote whatever little snippet I felt like and I’d close the book and walk away, pleased. It was ridiculous.

You have to understand, the first poem I ever seriously edited and held up as a keeper was about a unicorn (I was 10, okay?). I’ve been socially inept all my life, even in my writing. My ramblings in the notebook were never meant to be looked at by anyone. So when I finally achieved BICHOK and wrote a book, it was a frenzy of self-discovery, like picking up pastels for the first time, and trying out a piece of black paper. I was dazzled.

Then I wrote a sequel. It was short, and different. It was a whole ‘nother experience, because it didn’t have the same journey at all. Watercolors are, like, hard.

And if you want to write an arcing, ten book series where each book reveals a different aspect of the same world? Well get out the oil paints, sister, and settle in for the long haul.

Everything was very dazzling and new. I leaped from one idea of how to dabble with story to the next. Until… I began to doubt. I was surrounded by writers of incredible talent, and I was reading the crème of the crop, instead of compulsively mowing everything like I used to before I wrote.

The issue, I realized somewhere in the middle of my path through the well-received Bonded fantasies, was I’d never freaking learned to sketch. I didn’t know GMC. I didn’t know hero’s journey. I didn’t know 3 act structure. I didn’t know buttski about publishing. But seriously, I didn’t know basic things like action-reaction. I didn’t know subtleties of characterization.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know, completely and totally. I just knew story logic. I was really really good at imagining a complete person, then like a kindergartner, following behind them in a never-ending “and theeeen” litany. But I’m an educator. I LOVE learning. I dove right in.

“And then…” I became a writer. That’s all it took: the understanding that there was a craft to fiction, that it could be broken down into skill sets. Everything came to a screeching halt when I set out to learn to sketch. I doubted every sentence. I researched until my pores bled Alizarin Crimson.

I read professional articles and joined RWA and took online workshops. I stopped writing. I was having a blast talking and playing and doing assignments. I got really good at understanding writing. I could sketch on demand like a diving pony (don’t look too hard at that metaphor). But ask me to deliver an oil painting and I went *blink-blink* frozen.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m very proud of my books. They’re not a hot mess or anything. But when you go and read something as perfect as Andrews’ Bayou Moon, and have all this technicality floating in your head, and then pile on some pressure… Well. The paint dried while I fussed with the easel.

A ways into this frozen-by-the-stream-of-time fit, someone very wise (named Dayna) said, “Just write. Write anything. Not for any project or another. Just write a random story scene.” Without much interest, I dutifully took up my next still life tableau assignment.

And as I wrote this disconnected scene, I suddenly remembered writing. Physically writing. I went and got my notebook but it was too toddling slow so I sat back at the computer and my fingers flew.

Nothing happened in the scene. There was barely characterization. It was all about a moody moment in a setting. And this world popped into my brain, and the girl popped into my fingers, and then… Well. And then. I sat back.

“Conflict,” I muttered. “Dark Moment.” My fingers itched. “Research,” I hissed. (I’m a librarian, and yet research had become a dirty word, a hideous pre-writing block like tacking my canvas.) But no. I put my fingers back on the keyboard and FORCED myself to write. I kept to the simple phrase and then.

I get a picture in my mind. A child sitting at the edge of a busy bazaar with a warrior in the shadows watching her. A woman poling a reed boat through cattails, muttering nonsense to herself. A clerk in a futuristic bakery blushing when a compelling customer comes in. This is always how I’ve written. A scene. A person. Follow it.

I wrote a new scene, a pointless, random, not-great scene, and it was like being doused in electricity. Queue Slow-mo Theme Song:

Moving forward using all my breath. I want to stop the world. I want to get better, all the time. It’s the melting where the rainbow magic happens. *Unicorn goes floating past in best Peggle formation*

I have very little knowledge about writing. I’m not proud of that. I WILL keep learning. I so enjoy picking up practical ways to edit a scene or layer a character. I have joked I’d be a professional student if I were wealthy. But the thing is, I wouldn’t get a PhD. I’d get about a dozen Bachelor’s. I’d flit from cartography to bioengineering to philosophy. I’d constantly be stained with my latest, newest medium. I’m a jack-of-all-trades-but-a-master-of-none kind of writer, and I’m not sure how far that kind of attitude can take me.

But right now, I’m writing. I’m creating. I’m on the trail of a story and where a few years ago I’d have no idea how to end, now I have some sort of basic grasp of plot. I know how to punch up an emotional scene and trim down an intense action sequence. I may have done that before but it was by instinct (or mistake). Now, I understand how I can go back and analyze.

I just can’t get caught up in that. It has to come after the bones are down. I need to float along, fingers dripping glops of color, singing And then? to my characters. I finally learned that to be a writer, means to figure out what works FOR YOU.



Author of the Month, Natasha Moore

How long have you been writing before you sold?

I’m one of those writer’s who’ve always been writing – almost as long as I’ve been reading. Life had a way of detouring me from time to time, but I’d say that I wrote seriously for a total of 10 years before I sold.

What has been the toughest obstacle you’ve had to overcome along the way? What was the best experience you’ve had from being published?

The toughest obstacle has been making time to write, along with family and a full-time day job. The best is knowing that people are actually reading my stories. Having readers enjoy my stories, that’s the best!

You have written quite a few books for small press and ePublishers, how do you feel about the ePublishing explosion, and now the popularity of self-publishing?

I’m thrilled that ePublishing is growing and that reading ebooks is becoming more mainstream. There are so many more opportunities for writers, especially for stories that may not fit into the usual niches. The self-publishing trend sounds exciting and will offer more opportunities for stories to be available to readers. It will be interesting to see what publishing will be like in another few years.

Are you actively pursuing NY publishers in addition to being ePublished?

Right now I’m working on a manuscript I hope to submit to Harlequin Blaze.

Tell us about your latest book.

My next release will be coming from Samhain in late summer. Flaunt It is the first story in the Paolo’s Playhouse series.

When it comes to sexy and sassy, Piper, the most popular waitress at Ben’s bar, has it all going on. Now that they’re dating, though, Ben wishes she’d dial down the skimpy clothes and flirty attitude, and her habit of dancing and flashing to her favorite song. Every teasing peek at her body, every a laugh at some customer’s lousy joke, is certainly good for business—but it sends his jealousy meter into the red zone.

Sure, they’re dating, but he’s no muscled, tattooed stud with diamonds in his ears. How can he compete, especially when she refuses to even spend the night at his place?

Desperate, Ben books a room at his friend Paolo’s fantasy club, hoping an erotic night in front of a two-way mirror will get her exhibitionist streak out of her system. Praying it won’t prove his greatest fear—that she lives only to show off. And he’s not that special to her at all…

What’s up next for you? Are you currently working on a new book?

I’m looking forward to the release of the next three stories in the Paolo’s Playhouse series, Taking Chance, Birthday Girl, and Plaything.

I just finished a single-title length erotic romance I’m excited about and then there’s that Blaze manuscript I’m working on now – about a self-help guru who never loses control and the younger man who wants to be the one to make her lose that control.

What do you like best about the writer’s life?

Sitting in my office (or on my back porch or in our RV), headphones on, feet bare, creating characters, giving them life – and love – and getting to do it over and over again.

If you weren’t a writer what would career path would you choose?

In another life, I would have loved to be a Broadway musical star (yes, I love Glee) But…I’d have to be taller, thinner, and way more talented.

Who or what inspires you?

Other writers who don’t quit. Who write amazing stories that I wish I’d thought of and keep me up late when I have to get up for the day job at 6am. Who raise children and love their spouses and still find a way to write the words that bring their stories to life. Every wonderful book out there inspires me to do better.

What are you reading right now?

Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh.

What advice would you offer to the unpublished romance writer?

Keep writing. Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep learning. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Keep writing.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?

I used to sing in a barbershop quartet. (The closest I could get to the Broadway stage, I guess) But I needed more time to write and I don’t regret giving it up. (I still sing in the shower. And in my car.)

Natasha Moore fell in love with the written word as soon as she could read. As she grew up, she discovered romance and now enjoys the chance to add some extra sizzle to her stories. Now she writes contemporary and erotic romance for Samhain, Ellora’s Cave and Red Sage. She lives in New York State with her real life hero, who is happy to tell everyone that he’s her inspiration. They travel in their RV whenever possible. The great thing about writing is she can take it anywhere.

Want to learn more about Natasha? Visit her online at: www.natashamoore.com

 



Author of the Month, Tawny Weber

How long have you been writing before you were published? Was it everything that you thought it would be?

I started writing in 2002 and sold my first book in 2006 to Harlequin Blaze.  It was, and still is, amazing.  I think there were definitely surprises along the way, things I didn’t anticipate.  The amount of promotion an author needs to do was a shock.  The art of juggling writing and revisions and line edits and promotion of different books at one time was fun to learn *g*   But yes, it really is everything I’d hoped.  There’s nothing as incredible as hearing from a reader who liked my books.

How many books did you write before you sold?

I sold my 6th completed manuscript.  I was thiiiiiiis close with my 3rd, but it was targeted at the Temptation line and Temptation closed just as the editor and I were ‘talking’.  I was devastated – I mean, I loooved that line!!

We love stories about “the call”. What were you doing at the time and do you remember how you felt when it happened?

LOL I was sleeping.  A few weeks before I got the call, I was at a regional conference and chatted with Blaze editor, Brenda Chin.  When she asked me if I was attending the National conference, I’d told her I wouldn’t be unless I sold a book first.  So fast forward a few weeks to Memorial Day here in the U.S.  a little before 9am.  It was Brenda, and the first thing she said was that I needed to register for conference because I’d sold a book.  Because I’d just woke up, I was realllllly mellow sounding LOL.  No screams, no dancing, no wild party.  Which became a little scary an hour later when it sank in but the offices at Harlequin were closed and nobody could confirm that it wasn’t just a dream.    The surreal effect continued when, because it was a holiday, I couldn’t reach any of my writing friends to share the news 🙂

You write in a variety of genres, is it difficult to switch gears? Which is your favorite genre to write?

Since I only write for Blaze, it’s easy to keep that sexy hook as the central focus of my stories.  That lets me delve into suspense or paranormal—both of which I love—without really having to shift gears to anything too different.   I love writing light contemporary.  While I always look for emotions-lots of them—in the stories I read and write, I want to be entertained with a book.  I love seeing laughter and humor tied together with the process of falling in love.

Can you tell us a little bit your current release? How did you come up with the idea?

I was asked if I wanted to participate in the 24 Hours: Blackout series and jumped at the chance.  When I was a kid, I used to dream about being locked in a mall after hours (one with a candy store, thankyouverymuch) and thought this would be a fun way to play out that dream in a grown up version.   Given the parameters that the power is out and the couple is trapped for 24 hours, Larissa and Jason came to me.  A couple of exes who are complete opposites, both carrying a lot of baggage and a history of hurts that makes locking them up together a great way to spark some passionate fun.

The blurb for the story goes like this:

Things to Do in Blackout…

Power outages happen, and you have to be prepared.  After all, you could be trapped somewhere—like in an empty store—with your ex.

Who is still irresistible.  And hot.

And who knows how to make the most out of a dark situation….

Checklist for: Larissa Zahn

  • Food
  • Water
  • First aid kit (With condoms.  Be prepared.  Very, very prepared.)
  • Someone you’re still overwhelmingly into (Jason Cantrell, I’m looking at you.)
  • Plenty of time in the dark (Read: hot nookie.  Lots of it.)

The ability to walk away without regrets in the morning….  (Uh oh!)

24 Hours: Blackout

No lights.  No power.  And no holding back…

Do you have a daily ritual to get you in the “writing zone”?

It takes me about 3 pages of writing to find the zone.  Early on, when I’m starting a story I have to dig hard for those three pages.  But usually at about the halfway point they start flowing easier, and I can often get those first pages early in the day (my writing sessions start at 10pm) which makes the pages flow once I sit down for the evening to write.  Because I write at night, it’s much easier to push away distractions.  Very few people email in the wee hours, and I try to handle any writing business during daylight.  My ritual, such as it is, is to put in an hour on the elliptical then cozy up in my warm and comfy jammies.  When I get to my desk I read through the scene I’m working on and start tweaking bits and pieces until I know where I want to go for the evening.  I do set a daily page requirement,  and track my writing on a spreadsheet to make sure I’m getting the pages needed to meet my deadline.

What do you like to do on your spare time outside of writing? How do you stay inspired?

I read 🙂  A lot.  Fiction, non-fiction, cereal boxes.  You name it, I’ll read it.  I have a pile of magazine subscriptions, read YA’s with my daughter and our favorite family outing is a trip to the bookstore.  So reading is one of my primary sources of inspiration.

I love to do crafts, and am hooked on knitting and scrapbooking (I’ve tried tons of craft hobbies over the years, but these two seem to have stuck).  I love color and texture and both of these give me a chance to play with that.

What is the most difficult part of your writing journey? What is the most exciting part?

There are so many frustrations on this journey.  I want to tell the best stories I can.  Stories that empower and excite and bring readers joy and laughter.  I’m constantly asking myself if I am making that happen, if the stories are strong enough, or if I am a good enough writer to tell them the way I hope.   I’m a huge critic of my own writing, which creates a major source of stress and frustration. Ironically, that becomes the same source of excitement, because when a reader does enjoy the story, I’m ecstatic.

What personal goals have you made for yourself this year?

I’ve always wanted to grow my own food and have managed little gardens in the past but this year my goal was to plant a major garden with all my favorites—and more importantly, to keep it alive long enough to harvest those favorites LOL.  I have to admit, I got the veggies planted but I’m not earning any farming badges so far.  My lettuce is yellowing and my jalapeños haven’t grown at all.  But that’s my big goal – to make this garden work and produce enough food to actually eat a meal.

Tell us one thing or habit that you have that no one knows!

Oh man, like a secret thing or habit?  Hmm, gotta be something juicy, right?  See, here’s the thing, I like to keep all those juicy secrets, well, secret LOL.

How about this one…  I’m horrible with names.  I can be introduced to someone four or five times and forget every single time.  But if I see the name- read it- it’s committed to memory.  I’m the same with any type of learning.  Lectures, talks, etc, they just go in one ear and out the other. I’m totally non-auditory.  I have to see it, read it, to get it.

Any last words for your readers?

I’d just like to say thank you.  I’m so grateful to the people who read my stories.  I love sharing them with readers and love hearing from them.

What should we expect from you in the future?

I’m so excited to be launching my Undercover Ops series at the end of the year.   The FBI and a family of con artists team up to break a major crime ring over the course of three books.  Sex, Lies & Mistletoe is out in December, Sex, Lies & Midnight is a January release and February will wind it up with Sex, Lies & Valentines.


Tawny Weber is usually found dreaming up stories in her California home, surrounded by dogs, cats and kids. When she’s not writing hot, spicy stories for Harlequin Blaze, she’s shopping for the perfect pair of boots or drooling over Johnny Depp pictures (when her husband isn’t looking, of course). In May 2011, her eleventh Blaze, JUST FOR THE NIGHT hits the bookshelves.

Want to learn more about Tawny? Visit her online at www.tawnyweber.com

Leave a comment for a chance to win Tawny’s current release JUST FOR THE NIGHT and another book from her backlist. Lucky winner will be chosen at random. Please leave your email address if it is not included in your profile.