I’ve been hanging around the internet a few years now. I’ve been hosting people, visiting blogs and just generally making a nuisance of myself. But in the process of all of that running around, I’ve learned a few things about being a gracious guest and I just thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned. (Keep in mind this is faaaar from a complete list and only my perceptions):
1) Be prompt: Regardless of the platform your host uses, it takes time to upload a guest blog. If there are links, bookcovers, and excerpts even more to set it up so it looks appealing. Be sure to get your interview questions or blog post to the host at least a week prior to your visit. Everyone is busy. When you do this you respect the host’s time.
2) Be yourself: Whether you’re answering interview questions or offering a guest blog the visitors want to get a feeling for who you are. If you have a snarky sense of humor, let it shine through in your answers. If you have an interesting day job that lead you to the world of publishing be sure to share that. Readers of blogs are interested in the little details of your life they may not know. That being said …
3) It’s not all about you: Okay, what I mean is … it’s not all about selling your book. Readers get really tired of the “ME ME ME ME, BUY MY BOOK” posts. Engage the reader. Talk about an interesting antecdote or how your character screamed at you the whole time you were writing the book. Visitors are more likely to be intrigued by personal facts rather than the buy link. Why would anyone want to comment on a book cover, blurb and excerpt? Ask them something. Remember, this is about engaging visitors in conversation. They want to like you and talk to you. Give them something to chat with you about.
4) Hosts are busy too: I’ve had guests that were so excited about a blog tour that they sent me daily emails with DETAILED instructions of what they expected me to do for them including running their contest. Ummm … no. I’ve offered a corner of the internet and hopefully introduced new readers to their book. Other than being available to interact with visitors, I don’t have time to babysit a guest blog. This goes back to #1 … respect your hosts time and efforts. I will promote you and your post, but in turn, I want you to promote my blog.
5) Don’t abandon ship!: A guest blog isn’t a lone post just hanging out by itself. Commenters want to know someone’s actually there and they’re not talking out into the cyber universe. Make time at least twice (if you can) to visit and respond to commenters. If your day job or other obligations makes that impossible, take time to visit at the end of the day and respond. Remember, it’s about making connections with new readers.
6) Engage the Readers: When you write your post try to leave it hanging. Ask a question of the readers at the end of your post or make a statement that visitors can comment on. It keeps them from visiting without taking time to comment.
7) To giveaway or Not giveaway: It’s always difficult to decide whether you want to give a gift to commenters. Readers love to receive gifts from authors, but sometimes it’s cost prohibitive to offer a prize to each blog in a blog tour. Try offering something from all the commenters of ALL the blogs you visit? I’ve found this to work very well. But remember, readers don’t always need prizes and big giveaways, your interesting post and an intriguing excerpt are enough to make their day.
I love introducing people to writers they may have never met. I love going out and visiting other blogs to meet new people. This list isn’t complete by any stretch of the imagination. I’d love to hear what intrigues you? And what drives you completely insane when you’re reading a guest blog or interview. Because you know me … I’m always looking to improve my blog. 😉
And it’s been awhile since I’ve had a sexy guest, so I in honor of beach weather arriving a little early, I thought I’d share…enjoy your weekend!
No, not the presidential candidate … Jeanne Barrack. She’s taken time from her busy schedule to stop over and visit. Jeanne has all sorts of published books with more coming out all the time. I’ve got her
bound all set up in the comfy chair and I’m plying her with lattes (it’s not quite noon here) and with that silly grin she’s flashing … it looks like she’s ready to answer the tough questions.
Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing.
I’ve been married to my HS sweetheart for more than 30 odd years – and they have been odd. No kids, but always furry companions, first dogs now, kittens.
I’m a New Yorker born in Brooklyn, the largest borough of the city. I’ve always loved writing but it took the sudden death of my mom to thrust me over the edge. She had always loved the written word, but hadn’t published anything. Just two months after this, I was downsized from my job. With a lot of time on my hands, I let my imagination have free rein. A love of romance and sci fi/fantasy combined into a full-blown story that came to me in a dream — really! That was back in 2004 and I haven’t stopped writing since.
Please tell us about your books.
Right now I have five full length novels and a short story in a Holiday collection with other authors.
My Loose Id titles include:
No One Else On Earth my first (takes a deep breath here) contemporary, sci fi paranormal shape shifting sex sucking alien vampire with four Big Beautiful Women set in a male strip joint story. <whew!> The title was inspired by the Country Western song of the same name and the strip joint’s name “Real, Bad Boys” was taken from a line in “Real, Good Man”, a song sung by Tim McGraw. The playlist is all country. One of the songs, “Bad Things” can be heard on the new vampire series “True Blood”. The four women represent different facets of my personality and interests. The alien vampire’s name is an inside joke for a very small group of readers. (hint: it’s a real word in a foreign language)
The Crystal Flacon, #5 in the Collector series. This is a stand alone in a multi author series. It was inspired by Lucrezia Borgia. I discovered while doing copious research ( I love research, BTW) that her life has been much maligned. The Crystal Flacon refers to a mythical perfume bottle filled with a magical love perfume. Antonio d’Este, the hero in the story, was inspired by Antonio Banderas who has served as the inspiration for my Spanish hero (one of the guys in No One Else on Earth) and also the gay Frenchman, Aaron deMonde in “The Sweet Flag”
Speaking of The Sweet Flag, this is my first m/m story. It’s a — ready? — paranormal contemporary historical Interracial/Multi-Cultural (IR/MC) story. Over the course of my writing I have included more secondary gay characters. This story was waiting in the wings for me. It combines several strong interests I have: the Civil War, the paranormal, my main character, Brandon Keats, is a gay paranormal investigator seeking gay paranormal phenomena and he and all the other main characters except for one, are Jewish. My upcoming m/m work for ManLoveRomance Press will also center around Jewish characters. More about that in a bit.
My Liquid Silver titles are centered around my long term love of all things Irish, so I’ll talk about those titles in answering your next question
That’s a great segue into my next question. I know you have a love of Irish folklore and I wondered how you fell into that?
A long, long time ago in a little place called Brooklyn, a wee little Jewish lass fell in love with Irish folk music. Being an obsessive creature, she decided that if she were going to sing the songs — which she did and does — she’d have to know more about the history of the country. Lo and behold, didn’t she discover a bond between the Irish/Ireland and the Jews/Israel? (Clears throat) Both Ireland and Israel were partitioned by the British. Both the Irish and the Jews have suffered religious persecution. Both only regained their independent status in the 20th century. Both have a language full of “ch’s” and also a few words that sound a lot alike. Both have beautiful songs, wonderful writers and sexy men — huh? where did that come from? (Check out Lior Ashkenazi – HOT! and of course, my beloved Pierce Brosnan, Liam Neeson and, well, the list is endless)
So, when it came time to write about one of my loves – Ireland – I found a home with Liquid Silver’s Terran Realm and The Shimmering Flame was born. It’s centered in the ancient stories of Brigid and the other Celtic gods and goddesses. A Perfect Symmetry, the sequel, will be coming out this winter. It’s sexier than molten silver! With three menages and two really evil villains.
A Song of the Sidhe was directly inspired by Irish music. It’s taken from a Gaelic song performed by Mary O’Hara – the first one, not ths new upstart. It found a new home with more stories and characters over with Liquid Silver this summer.
I wondered if you could tell us more about your m/m book. I wondered why you chose to go in that direction and a little bit more about the story?
The Sweet Flag … I love this story. And it sparked some of my strongest responses from readers and reviewers. For the longest time as I’ve written more and more erotic romance, I found that some of my favorite or strongest secondary characters were gay. I’m also a huge fan of Antonio Banderas. Some of his best films in both Spanish and English have gay themes. Watching Antonio make love to another man as in his Spanish films – check out “La Ley del Deseo” – The Law of Desire – and who could forget him as Tom Hanks lover in “Philadelphia”? Plus, I wrote fan fic with Antonio and of course, there was some slash with those.
The story of The Sweet Flag takes place during both the present and the past. The main character, Brandon Keats, is gay and a “ghost hunter”. He finds out about a legend called the Vigilant Soldier, a Civil War ghost who visits the same grave every 20 years. As he researches the story behind the ghosts, he feels that the two soldiers may have been lovers. When he decides to visit the grave on Memorial Day night when the ghost is said to appear, he is rescued from a massive lightning and thunderstorm by a mysterious Frenchman, Ron Tayvail. Ron tells him that he’s the grave’s caretaker, knows the families of the men involved and will tell Brandon *everything* about the men if he’ll share his bed for a week. Brandon agrees and finds out more than he bargained for.
The story behind the legend focuses on the relationship between Matthew Hardesty, the Christian son of a wealthy Southerner, and Aaron deMonde, the bastard son of a minor French nobleman and his mulatto lover of mixed Jewish and black blood. It’s not only Matthew and Aaron’s sexual relationship that must be hidden during this period in history, but the very fact of Aaron’s mixed blood adds to their situation. Because Aaron can pass for white, they remain together when Matthew enlists in the Army. Throughout this story, I referred to the social aspect of miscegnation and also another twist on a traditional paranormal genre.
Because of my love and knowledge of my Jewish cultural heritage and religion, I decided to combine both interests. I am very excited about writing these new stories for ManLoveRomance Press. The stories are set during the late 19th century and the world of the traveling Yiddish theater in Eastern Europe. These tales are straight <g> historicals. I hope to write more stories with a paranormal mix.
If you had super powers what would they be and what would you call yourself?
The Equalizer’s my name and sharing the wealth is my game. I would have the power to give folks in need exactly what they lack, be it money, shelter, health or knowledge. Zap! You need it? You got it! I know it’s not a flashy power, but I think in today’s world, we could use someone who could at least even the playing field.
Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantzer? Do you have comfort drinks or snack foods? Any favorite music you play while writing?
Plotter now. I at least write out a broad outline of my stories, especially since I’m working on sequels and new territories. I use the synopsis/outline as a guide and though I don’t always stick to it exactly, it does help to remind me ofcertain points or scenes I need to make.
I don’t eat and write at the same time – I’m not that agile! I don’t have music playiong while I write – too distracting. I do have the TV in the background, kinda like *white* noise.
When you’re reading someone else’s books what about a man is a turnoff and why?
Too alpha to listen to what the heroine tells him. I like a take charge guy, but I find that if a character doesn’t pay attention to his supposed love, I lose patience with him.
A hot soak in the tub or a smokin’ BBQ with friends?
A hot soak. I love silky water soothing my tired bones. (She seems to be enjoying the satin feel of the cabana boy’s backrub too. Stay with me Jeanne, just a couple more questions.)
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Finish the book! Don’t get so attached that you keep going over and over and over it and never release it into the wild. Don’t give up, but listen to people who know and sieve through their advice.
Who/What do you attribute your success to?
My husband’s faith in me and my mom’s talent that I hopefully inherited.
Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I hope you’ll check out my new website and the link to the month-long contest I’m having. Info on my newsletter blog and The Celtic Realm of Fancy, and my Sweet Flag blog for all things m/m.
Jeanne, I … oh, never mind … seems she’s just convinced the cabana boys to untie her and she’s off. Who knows what kind of research she’ll be doing. If I know her, she’s singing them some of those Irish diddies she’s been known to perform.
I know she’d love to hear from you. Don’t hesitate to show her some comment love. I’m sure I’ll be able wrangle her in a little while and get her to answer some questions if there’s anything else you’d like to know …
I am so pleased to welcome Kathy Cottrell, editor at The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author, writing as Kat Henry Doran. She’s
tied sitting in the chair across from me willing to answer a few questions.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became involved with The Wild Rose Press.
I am a wife to one, mother of three, grandmother to two and the one to be named later. Back in the day I have been a nurse, educator, victim advocate, forensic nurse, and finally an insurance investigator. Currently, when I’m not writing or editing, I provide child care to my grandchildren and design and make custom order tote bags. I became involved with Wild Rose about two years ago when I was invited to take on the Last Rose of Summer line. We feature older heroines and heroes, those who, having been there and done that, now find themselves at a cross-roads. Do they sit and vegetate for the rest of their lives or begin a second [or third] chapter? It’s a fun job. Sometimes I think I’m a better editor than I am a writer.
What specifically makes TWRP a great publisher to work with?
All communications and work is done electronically. So . . . if I want to stay in my jammies all day, no one will comment on my choice of office attire. I can turn off the computer and go shopping for fabric and zippers and snaps if I want. I can take the job to my grand-daughters and take care of them while I’m reading manuscripts. It is the best of all worlds. Plus, I enjoy the opportunity to encourage authors to expand and grow. There is nothing better than that.
When someone is pitching to you, what gets you excited?
The combination of a great plot with interesting characters who face tremendous conflicts. In 2006 I attended the New Jersey conference. An author pitched me a story about a career officer in the military who has a one-night stand with some hunk. The next morning she discovers he’s the newly assigned NCO on her platoon. Twenty eight words. That’s all it took to demonstrate a heroine with a fascinating, occasionally dangerous job; great external conflict [officers consorting with enlisted personnel]; and a terrific plot. I came out of my chair, leaned over the table and begged her to make the heroine a few years older so I could justify bringing the story into the Last Rose line. It took her a few months to get the story ready for submission but I am delighted to announce “Soldier For Love” will be out in early 2009. I can’t wait. What a thrill.
Is there any genre TWRP is looking for in particular?
We accept all genres except women’s fiction. Before submitting, the author should review submission guidelines; it helps if they follow them! First and most important, the story must be a romance. We accept romantic fiction, from 3,000 to 100,000 words.
How do authors submit work to TWRP?
After reading the submission guidelines, the author should send a query letter, with a synopsis in the body of the email, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Rhonda Penders, head administrator at WRP, forwards the queries to the Senior Editor usually but not always on the same day the query came in. Rhonda then alerts the author who the query went to. Most Senior Editors attempt to respond to the query within 72 hours and we always request a partial [first 3 chapters not to exceed 50 pages]. Once the partial arrives, I read it. I read all partials for Last Rose. If I believe the story has promise, I keep it for myself [another of the perks of being boss] or assign it to one of three associate editors on the line. I try to make a decision on a partial within 60 calendar days, though often it is much sooner. Now, 60 days might sound like an awful long time, but I would remind folks how long they’ve waited to hear from one of the Big Houses in New York City.
If the author hasn’t heard from anyone within 30 days, they need to send another email to queryus@ and ask what’s going on. We cannot solve problems if we don’t know about them. I may be able to interpret patient complaints from a look or a moan or vital signs, I do not read minds. None of us do.
Is TWRP a print or electronic publisher?
We are both. Word lengths over 45,000 words will be available in print usually, but not always, 6 months after the book was released electronically.
Do you think this shirt brings out the color of my eyes?
Sorry, honey. As a nurse for 40 years, mustard yellow is NOT your color. Have you had your liver enzymes checked lately? How’s your gall bladder doing? (umm … guess I know where I’m headed after this interview.)
Besides being an editor, I know you are also a writer. Could you tell us a little bit about your books?
I started writing one day in 1984. I received a How Are You Doing card from a friend from back in my Operating Room days in the late 60’s. I sat down to write a response and . . . twenty seven pages later [this is not a joke] I realized I might have something going here. Now, that’s not to say any of the stuff I wrote was any good. In fact, my first book didn’t come out until 2004. I am not what you’d call prolific. My second book came out in 2007. Hopefully, my next will be out in 2009.
I tend to write romantic suspense. Even if it doesn’t start out that way, murder and mayhem creep in, often without my permission. I like to write about social issues. “Captain Marvelous” is about abuse of immigrant populations. “Try Just Once More” features a woman in recovery from alcohol abuse. “Mad Dog and the Archangel”, my WIP, a four part anthology with 3 other WRP editors, features a victim advocate/former activist nun and a con man.
If we asked your friends to name 3 personality traits about you, what do you think they would say?
Smart mouth who shoots from the hip, passionate about the denigration of women, devoted to her grandchildren. Currently I am involved in Panties for Peace, protesting human rights abuses in the Myanmar Republic [formerly Burma].
The editing process is an important aspect of writing. You have been on both sides of it. Which is more difficult for you, editing your own work or editing someone else’s?
I am blessed with two wonderful, talented critique partners, so changing my stuff is a cinch and editing their stuff is fun and exciting. If a WRP author is willing to listen and accept what I believe would work better for the story, editing is a joy. The author who, after signing that contract, turns into Godzilla becomes an experience in patience and fortitude [for me]. That’s not to say I’m averse to listening to the author’s ideas; they need to be a strong, vocal advocate for themselves. There are, however, a few WRP rules which cannot be broken: monogamy, heterosexual romance; no rape or child abuse as a form of titillation; no womens fiction; and a HEA ending.
A sunset dinner with someone special or a dinner party with friends?
Real life or in my imagination? Real life it would be a picnic with my family. Imagination would be the sunset dinner with Tom Berenger, Dennis Quaid, or Keith Hernandez. (*sigh* I like your choice of dinner partners … am I showing my age?)
Anything else you’d like to share?
Favorite authors: Vince Flynn, John Maxim and David Wiltse. Favorite fictional characters: Sirius Black and Brenda Lee Johnson. Favorite movies: Steel Magnolias, Miracle, and The Big Easy; Favorite TV shows: The Closer, In Plain Sight and Clifford the Big Red Dog. Favorite musical groups: ABBA, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons; the Eagles, and the BeeGees.
You can visit her at her website. But when I asked about a blog she gagged and said “ewww”. Then I told her I would like to friend her on MySpace, but she wasn’t quite sure what that was.
Well, the pool boys just delivered croissants and coffee and from the smile on her face and the way she’s flirting with the help … I think she’s willing to stick around and answer a few questions. Feel free to leave them in the comments. And if you’re with TWRP give Kathy a shout and tell everyone how much you love it over there! 😀
I found another vict … er, um … author to interview. Actually, Lori Libby is a dear friend who enjoys the craziness found at our Maine chapter monthly meetings. She lives in a quaint little town in Maine with her husband and her two wonderful children. A feisty Akita puppy completes the happy family.
Lori has a BS degree in Elementary Education. For the past eight years she’s been a school teacher and loves molding the young minds of our future generations into independent and creative adults. (Read this as “angel on earth” or “slightly touched” … she teaches middle school! *runs away screaming*)
She enjoys hiking and crocheting. But writing is Lori’s passion. The challenge and learning process have exhilarated her, inspiring her to reach for the moon. She loves romance with a happily ever after ending and hopes her stories portray the love she has for the English language. She loves words and the power they wield.
*rubs hands together* Now, let’s get into the nitty gritty with the personal questions…
Please tell us about your books.
Now and Forever is a romantic suspense that throws Becca Maginty’s life into a tailspin. She is a single mother, small business owner, and the object of an obsessed stalker.
Hunter’s Arrow is a paranormal suspense with shape shifters of many breeds living in our world in secret. Hunter is a PI who has to find a killer targeting his pack, before Belen, a reporter, finds the truth about shifters.
Fiery Strength is the second in my shifter series centering on Keagan. He must save the woman he loves, his mate, Andra from execution for the murder of her soon to be ex.
I know you are writing a series, what made you decide to go in that direction?
I hear voices and no I’m not on medication! LOL! (Of course you’re not, hon! Is there an author alive who doesn’t hear voices? What? No, I can’t talk to you now Cole… can’t you see I have company? Sorry, Lori, you were saying…)
As I was writing Hunter’s Arrow, some of the other characters began talking, asking for a story of their own. Before I was finished with Hunter’s Arrow, I had three more stories starring each of the men from the Northern Pack. There was a huge tussle among them about the order of the books, so I settled it.
Your characters sound dreamy. How did you come up with them?
Dreamy? You’re making me blush. I like the kind of guy that makes you want to throw him on the bed and have your way with him! (w00t! w00t! My kind of man!)
I’d have to say, I grew up in a neighborhood full of guys. I climbed trees. I played football. I played army and I played cops and robbers with them. I learned the way they talk and interact. I learned that underneath the ego they have emotions and feel things as much as women, this hidden nature of men is what I hope to show in my writing.
If you came with a warning label what would it read?
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity. (Hey, that’s the same one I wear!)
I know you love writing “shifter” stories, what attracted you to that genre?
Growing up, I was a horror fanatic. I read every scary book I got my hands on… (Started reading Stephen King at the age of eight.) I watched every horror movie on TV that my parents allowed. I used to beg my mom and dad to go visit my grandparents on Saturday afternoons because they had cable and the Creature Double Feature.
Werewolves have always fascinated me. I think it would be awesome to be able to change into a wolf and experience the forest as a living part instead of an observer. I hope that makes sense.
Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantzer? Do you have comfort drinks or snack foods. Any favorite music you play while writing?
I’m definitely a pantzer. I know my characters, know the starting event and where I want to finish; the rest is making it up as I go along. I drink soda… lots and lots of soda but don’t have a comfort food.
My daughter poked her head in and asked what action scene I was writing. Amazed, I asked how she knew. She laughed and said hard rock means action. Intrigued, I asked what other types of music meant. She said soft rock was relationship stuff and that the subject of the music told her what was going on in the story… sad songs, sad happenings. I never paid much attention before, she’s right. (Lori’s got rap on as we sit here … hmmm, wonder what that means. Oh, pah-tay!)
If we asked your friends to name 3 personality traits about you, what do you think they would say?
Loud… I say I project.
Rude… I say I have a lot to talk about..
Obnoxious… I say I like to have fun.
If you could be one of your characters who would you choose and why?
Tough one. I like different aspects of all of them. They all have a bit of me mixed with what I want to be. Not the villains of course, I’m not at all like any of them.
The editing process is an important aspect of writing. Do you have a routine you follow when going through it?
Of course I do, it’s called run away! I struggle with editing. I love finding the best way to say things, but because of my pantzer way of writing, I have to cut a lot out of fluff that I love, but does nothing to advance the story. Fiery Strength was 150,000 words when I finished the rough draft and 116,000ish when I sent it to Wings for their perusal. It’s still a long book, but it is far tighter than it was and although painful at times, it’s a better story for it.
After that, I over use some (lots) and must do a search and destroy for that, this, just, he, she etc. The list is long, varied and on file for the find in Word. Passive sentences are next on the list of editing then, repetitive actions of characters… heads hang a lot in my current WIP.
You have a fulltime job. How do you fit writing into your busy schedule?
I get up at 3am, write for a couple of hours, and head out for my classroom by 6 am. Most of my editing, the real work in writing, is done in the summer. My husband got me a laptop so he could see me once in a while!
A hot soak in the tub or a smokin’ BBQ with friends?
BBQ with friends unless I need to recharge then I want to be by myself. I know I shouldn’t admit this since it goes against the women’s code, but I’m not into soaking in tubs, hot or otherwise. I can’t sit doing nothing for long. (Who wants to soak alone anyway … what if I offered a studly man to rub your back? I know you’re married. Still…)
Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I’m an avid reader. My friends called me the “Bookeater” when I was growing up. I still read a lot in many different genres. I read all but the first Harry Potter book to my kids; it became a family summer activity even though my kids could read them on their own. If you can give your kids and grandkids one thing, turn them on to reading. Through reading, anything is possible!
All of Lori’s books are available at Wings Epress. She would love to have you visit her website and blog. She would also enjoy your friendship at MySpace and FaceBook. She’s going to be around for a little bit. Feel free to ask her more questions or just show her some love by leaving a comment.
I know, it’s not unusual for me to have some eye candy around to entertain my visitors. So what makes this Monday so special? I actually know this guy!
Roscoe James is a friend of mine who is also published with Liquid Silver Books. We tripped into the place together and have been helping each other stumble through the publishing maze.
Roscoe was born along the dusky red banks of the Ohio River. He grew up in a sleepy little town in southern Indiana where the sounds of cicadas and whippoorwills marked the arrival of summer and cruising the town square on a Friday night was a rite of passage. From law enforcement to the hallowed corporate halls of two Fortune 500s he draws from a deep well of life experience. With Spanish as his second language and the day-to-day of living in one of the largest cities of culture in the world, RJ infuses his stories with a raw reality that makes the characters memorable forever.
I love Roscoe’s writing. I pulled him over here to introduce him and his writing to you. And like all my guests, I’ve got him tied up with my trusty whip handy if he gets out of line. But from the smile on his face … I’m thinking he’s not seeing it as a punishment. 😀
So Roscoe, we’ve been hanging around together at Liquid Silver Books for what, a year? nine months? something like that. How’d you find your way there?
Right, well, you know, I’d been driving around for about four years trying to find the place. You know us guys – keen sense of direction and all that. Then I had to buy gas and, well, before you get the wrong idea, I didn’t ask. I don’t want any misunderstandings. I think some guy walking by just happened to….(Don’t worry, dude, I didn’t actually think you asked for directions.)
Yeah, I can see you’re not buyin’ it. Okay, a year and 9 months ago I decided I was going to get serious about something I’d been doing off and on since 2000. Writing. So I did what most people do that are cursed with great resolve and very little natural ability. I wrote. A lot. I managed to put together two full length novels (which will remain unnamed) and I shopped ’em around to agents and brick and mortar publishers. Yeah, that was a heady experience. Let me tell you. I don’t think I’ve banged my head against a brick wall so many times in so little time before in my life. Then I got smart. I put the books on a floppy and threw ’em in my desk.
Then in January of 2007 I came across Flash Fiction Sunday at the Liquid Silver blog. Hey, I’m a guy, flashing comes natural to us. (For those uninitiated, flashing is actually 100 word vignettes … yeah, Roscoe was just a little confused.) Anyway, once I got my coat back on I realized what a great opportunity it was to actually write. And I did. I met several authors, had a lot of fun, someplace in there I lost a kilt. Still haven’t found that. (I sooo did not take his kilt … well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) And the rest, as they say, is history.
Well, there was this really great rejection letter I received from Tina…
Okay, so I’m glad you brought that up. (Ahhh, a little erotic humor!) Anyway … most romance writers have the whole indoor plumbing thing going on and you … well, you’ve got all these dangly bits. What made a man decide to write romance?
As long as you’re bringing it up let me, ah, get it straight (punzzz intended)… indoor plumbing, outdoor plumbing. Well, as a matter of fact, even here in Mexico we stopped using outhouses and porta… oh, right, got’cha. Listen, before we get to that… I just wondered. You haven’t seen a kilt around anywhere? Just asking. (*whispers* Don’t tell him it’s in the closet with all the rest of the ones I stole.)
Pretty simple. I like it. I don’t know of a writer that isn’t writing what they like. I’m no exception. A well written romance is probably the most difficult genre to write. Learning about a city you haven’t visited because you want to include it in a book is pretty simple. Search it on the internet, take notes, look at a few pictures, and you’re done.
But writing the intricacies, nuances, and emotional depth of a relationship and making your reader feel that relationship – live it – that’s the ultimate challenge in writing. And, when you get right down to it, romance is the oldest genre in creative writing.
Okay, you’re smirking. Alright, I admit it. Tucked between Hunt for Red October and Matrix (all of em) you’ll find Notting Hill, You’ve Got Mail, and What Women Want on our video shelf. (I’m telling you ladies … this guy’s a romantic.) And beside my collection of Cussler, Grisham, and King you’ll find Roberts, Coulter, and D.H. Lawrence.
So, really, why not?
I love writing my hero’s POV. But then I’m a woman trying to get in a man’s head and other women are reading it and probably have the same perspective of the male species. So it’s hard for me to screw that up. You on the other hand, are a guy getting in a woman’s head. We’re convinced men have no clue about us. How do you manage to write from your heroine’s perspective … or do you?
Good question. Ya got another one in there? No, just kidding. The answer is simple. I’m sure I’m not. Not yet. I don’t believe there are many authors out there that get it all right the first time out. There’s nothing more sobering than picking up one of your first writes eight years later. Well, we won’t go there. Actually, I avoided that problem with my first two books (Deer Run Falls and The White Swan). I was sure I couldn’t even come close. In those two books I focused on something I thought the female reader might find just as interesting… if not more so. Both books are written from the hero’s point of view. And in both I tried to give the reader two things. His thoughts, reactions, and feeling. And something just as important – his perception of the actions and reactions of his heroine. Okay, I may not have done a perfect job but I think the hero’s voice is unique in both books.
In Forever’s Not Enough, future fantasy SciFi, I made my first attempt at the heroine’s voice. That book explores both the heroine and hero’s POV.
Do I have an idea what my heroine’s (and women in general are thinking)? You’d have to ask my readers (and my wife). Will my idea of both POV’s change with my writing? Sure. Because I’m here to write for my readers and last time I checked, most of them are women.
I loved writing my first novel, but it is true, a good writer is always improving. I thoroughly enjoyed Deer Run Falls, but absolutely fell in love with the second book in your Mississippi River Tales series, The White Swan. Tell us a little bit about those books.
Deer Run Falls was my first foray into the romance genre. It’s a hero’s point of view (POV), blackmail to murder, greed and money, with a twist and a surprise. All set in the lush lap of southern comfort. Doesn’t sound like much of a romance does it? Well, I needed to put the hero in a bind so he could be saved. Can’t really say much more without giving the whole thing away.
The single POV came from this great rejection letter I received from Tina Burns, then acquisitions director of Liquid Silver Books. Aside from the total lack of romance in the rejected book (well, it was written 8 years ago as a thriller, give me a break) she commented on my head hopping. Yep, it was a problem. So I set out to see if I could even write a single POV book. Gotta tell ya, it is a challenge. There are moments in any situation where changing characters makes things so much easier to explain. Less words. Clear and to the point. The real skill is bringing all that to light without the POV character being directly involved in the action. So, anyway, that’s how Deer Run Falls came about.
The White Swan was a completely different story. I grew up along the red banks of the Ohio. Speed boat races in Madison Indiana. River boat rides and races from Louisville to Cincinnati. Summer water skiing up and down the Ohio. Bike (as in motorcycle) trips through the Mark Twain National forest. Well, and one other little thing. Just a detail. Family lore has it that on my mother’s side of the family I’m related to a real, honest to goodness, pirate. We won’t go there right now but The White Swan was my attempt at bringing all those things together. If you haven’t been on a midnight dance cruise on a riverboat and you get the chance I highly recommend it.
And I did one other thing with The White Swan. I dabbled in a period subplot. The hero’s line is traced back to Jean Lafitte, the gentleman pirate, late of New Orleans. The research was a blast and while quite real, so little is known about him that you’re left with this really great framework to hang dramatization on. The hero, Nash Fross, is heir to a shipping fortune and all that implies. I needed a match and a motive in the heroine so I created Teresa Holloway – Pulitzer winner and investigative reporter. Her cover to get close to the hero is to do a feature piece on the revival (or demise) of luxury riverboat travel on the Mississippi. Of course, her true motive is a little different. Let’s just say that the reader should pay close attention to the Lafitte subplot.
They were both great writes, but The White Swan was fun as well.
I’ve also read Forever’s Not Enough, the first story in your Galactic League of Planets series. It was a wonderful read about a feline-type heroine. Could you tell us a little bit about how this came about and what we can expect next?
After two contemporary romance novels I wanted to try something different. One Sunday hanging out in flash (I don’t recall who was running it) I flashed on a topic I normally wouldn’t touch. Fur. I think it was actually fur and feathers. So, not wanting to have a non-flash Sunday I started the story of Princess Peenzan of the planet Meline. I know, corny – Meline – feline. And yes, humanoid with a few cat characteristics.
All this takes place within the framework of the Galactic League of Planets. GLOP. SciFi and future fantasy. I’ve finished the second in the GLOP series – Bastina’s Necklace. Both explore our galaxy in the 24th century when the earth has melted down into one country, one state, all run by the Corporation. Nine other planets have been discovered with humanoid like beings that are intelligent. Every book has a sub plot about the Corporation trying to dominate the galaxy through dastardly deeds but the real story is always love. Love in all the wrong places at the most inopportune moments between the least likely pair.
And Forever was really a fun write. Gotta say, I love world building.
Okay, so a little bit about Roscoe James the writer. Give us some juicy details about you. Your writing schedule, your habits … and come on, dish on some of those dirty secrets.
Me? As in moi? Yo? No me digas… well, I’m a voracious reader. Some of my favorite works include – Twist Off, Channel Up, Channel Down, Mute, Hot Wings Included, Two For One, Cherry Flavor (we won’t go into that one), and my all time favorite… Oh, wait, you mean big things, important things, life forming experiences. (Anyone ever tell you that you think like a guy sometimes, Roscoe? Damn, will you share that remote? *grabs remote and handcuffs him to the chair* And really … a little more info on that “cherry flavor” thing would be nice … no? Fine, continue…)
Let me think. It takes me a minute to get the creative… ah, sorry. To dig all that stuff up. Okay, a few things. I was diagnosed mildly dyslexic at the age of 6. By the fifth grade I had not read a book. Not one. Then my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Norsworthy (I think she must have been 80 – I’ve always had this thing for older women) got me interested in a book. And I read it. Bet you can’t guess which one. Anyway, after that first book, I’ve always been reading something. I joined a book club for kids and never looked back.
Most of my childhood was spent in a small town of 3,400. I took French in high school (the language… c’mon Nina… sheesh … hey, Roscoe, you’re the one leading “me” astray … can I help it if my mind goes to the gutter when you’re around? Okay, so you’re talking about French, sorry my dirty mind interrupted.)
Well, anyway, I pretty much flunked out of that one. It was decided a second language was not in my future. I only mention that because I had no idea at the time that I’d end up living in one of the biggest cities in the world speaking a language not my own.
I play the guitar – jazz, blues, and flamenco. I play at a few other instruments. Scuba dive (well, used to, haven’t for a few years), snow ski, oh, and I write.
The routine. Well, the writing routine is, well, pretty routine. I write fulltime. Monday through Friday you’ll find me sitting at my desk tapping away. I write anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 words a day once past the first chapter. (The man puts me to shame with that daily word count. It appears I only “play” at writing full time. *g*)
I go start to finish. Kinda get it all on paper, put it away for a week, then get it out and read.
Married with a great son. You know, chip off the ol’ block. All that stuff. (And his wife is already marked for sainthood putting up with this man! *vbg*)
What? The book? Why, Treasure Island, of course.
All his books are available through Liquid Silver Books.
Oh, here comes Roscoe’s usual bevy of beauties to help with cocktail hour and a few man-studs to round out the group. Of course the kilt ‘n dales will be here shortly. So why don’t you stay a few minutes and party with us? And by all means … ask the man a few questions! 😉
I am pleased to welcome author, Lyn Cash! Lyn is the multi-published author of over fifty short stories and confessions, a couple of non-fiction books, and over a dozen novellas and novels. Her mainstream fiction is written under Bobbie Cole, her erotic fiction under the pen names of Lyn Cash and Cash Cole.
Her newest release, Mistress Mine, Book 1 in the Kinky Kruising Series, is a contemporary erotic romance now available from Total e-bound Publishing.
RC Jones poses a problem for his sibling, who wants RC out of the way before their grandfather’s upcoming birthday. Shanghaied, inebriated, and tossed onto a cruise ship for the kinky, only to wake up with a leather-clad dominatrix standing over him-just what every alpha male needs!
April is a psychology major who earns extra money during the summer by working as a dominatrix on a cruise ship.
When RC gets shanghaied, April thinks he’s her next submissive. But a challenge is issued-if she falls for him during his ‘vacation’, she becomes his submissive for two weeks.
What’s a woman to do?
Oh, Lyn that sounds wonderful! She’s agreed to stick around and answer a few questions. (Silly, Lyn, she doesn’t know what can of worms I just opened … *rubs hands together*)
Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?
I’m a people watcher, and people never cease to fascinate and amaze me.
Pantzer or Plotter?
Bit of both, actually. I rarely travel without a road map, but I always veer off course into unknown territory when something interesting catches my attention.
What do you like about romantic suspense best?
The Great Unknown. Edge of the seat situations, wondering what makes people tick, trying to find their Achilles heel, their hot buttons, what turns them on or how they’ll react in any given situation.
What makes a hero for you? Do you see them on the street, or are they simply in your head?
They’re in my life, all the time! I see courage and determination, the will to overcome the negative and stress the positive, I witness the traits I admire best in the people I love.
What is your idea of a perfect romantic evening?
Dinner and a movie followed by backrubs, foot rubs, Godiva chocolate, and coffee. (Oh, give us the good stuff … Lyn just smiled, winked and shook her head *sigh* Guess I’ll use my imagination.)
What advice would you give to aspiring erotic romance writers?
Write WHO you know, not just WHAT you know. Same for any genre. People are complex and have speech patterns, habits, spirits unlike anyone else – we’re all unique, and once a writer latches onto the perfect character for the perfect plot, the rest is gravy. Just write interesting characters and give them something interesting to do.
What’s your writing schedule like?
Oh, man, I’m all over the place. I’m a stay-at-home writer, so I write not only during a schedule (as in when everyone else is gone – that’s my schedule) but when I damned well please – lol.
I know you have another book, Spies, Lies, and Duct Tape, where did you get the idea for this book?
The heroine and I share the same head injury, and while I’m no spy, I wanted to give another woman, even one I imagined, the abilities to overcome her fears and to not only live with her disability but to succeed despite it.
What do you wear while you’re writing?
* Sunny looks down at self. * Whatever is comfortable, which can be a sarong – just a sarong – lol – or sweats, depending, but you won’t catch me putting in a day’s work wearing stilettos and satin. (K/N lovingly caresses her favorite pair of stilettos that match the pajama’s she’s wearing.)
So my last question … You write the male/male erotic romance relationship in a way that can completely absorb and arouse a female heterosexual reader. So what is it that’s so titillating to you personally about writing male/male and male/male/female?
The male/male wasn’t difficult to write, because I have gay male friends-I fly out to DC to visit them about once a year, and I get to watch the romance (not the sex – pull your minds out of the gutter K/N) between them. The m/m/f is easy, because it’s a fantasy nearly every woman envisions. The f/f, however, has been different – I have a book due to release this fall for Carol Lynn’s Cattle Valley series. I’m enjoying writing it, though, because it’s forced me to examine my own perspective, what I enjoy receiving rather than giving. Once I got into that mindset…piece-a-cake.
Wow, Lyn thank you so much for taking time to visit. You certainly are busy! If you’d like any more information on Lyn, please visit her blog!
Lyn will be available for a couple of days, please feel free to ask questions … she’s an open book! *wink wink*