It's been a while since we've chatted. I hope you are doing well as the holiday's approach!
1. What are your plans for the holidays?
It’s always crazy busy, but I love Christmas time. Hope you and yours are planning a wonderful holiday!
This is the first time in a loonnng while I haven’t had a book deadline December 31, so even though I still have a lot on my plate with the release of the newest book, a planned Christmas vignette for my fan forum and the usual holiday craziness, I’m excited about that. It takes a lot of pressure off. I’m watching some of the Hallmark movies as well as my annual faves (Bill Murray’s Scrooged heads that list). I’m also planning a shopping day with a friend, where for once I won’t feel guilty about the work I’m not doing (lol), and then there will be the usual couple days with my husband’s family. Right now I’ve been squeezing in some decorating. I love having my Christmas tree up throughout December. One of my favorite indulgences is reading in my living room with only the Christmas tree lights on. Which is much easier to do with an ereader! This weekend I’ll put up the Christmas lights outside and let the neighbors take bets on how many times I’ll fall off the ladder. I know, none of this sounds exciting, but our lives stay so incredibly busy, I live for quiet times and small, lovely moments.
Oh, and because I consider it part of my plans for the holidays (and some of you may be wondering what the Christmas vignette I mentioned is about) I plan to revisit Marcus and Thomas of Rough Canvas and write a short story about their first Christmas together. I like to do vignettes for the fan forum to thank my readers, but I also like the chance to revisit my characters like a neighbor dropping in for a slice-of-life moment. Except when I drop in on my characters, if I catch them in an erotic moment, I don’t have to cover my eyes and say “Oh, sorry about that! Excuse me!”
If that vignette (or the other ones already out there) would interest anyone, you can find forum access here: www.storywitch.com/community. And of course all these vignettes are free downloads!
What is your latest book?
What's it about?
It’s about a Southern steel magnolia widow who decides to embrace submissive cravings she’s had for some time. The hitch is, she always performed as a Mistress for her late husband, because that’s what he needed. My hero, Dale Rousseau, is a retired Navy SEAL and a through-and-through Dom. He realizes Athena is a deep service sub, and her serving as Mistress to her husband was a manifestation of that. So he helps her embrace her sexual identity fully. She’s an accomplished businesswoman and fundraiser for area charities, and he’s caretaker at a dog shelter and volunteers for at-risk teens, so they’re both good folks as well (beaming).
Who's your favorite character in the story?
When it’s a two-person love story, it’s hard for me to split them out and not think of them as a unit. I related to Athena’s struggle to let go of control and trust someone enough to give her pleasure, physically and emotionally. That’s pretty tough for us control freaks, because we are solely responsible for keeping the world running (grin). But Dale is everything I like in a hero. A calm, self-assured, ruggedly handsome Master, and of course there’s the retired Navy SEAL thing. I’m sure the reality of being in love with an active SEAL is very hard, particularly the sudden prolonged absences, and knowing their missions are pretty much always horribly dangerous. However, reading about a SEAL romance hero is a wonderful fantasy. And Athena has the good fortune of getting a retired one. Though it doesn’t slow Dale down!
I also really like their ages. Dale is 50; Athena is 46. In the book she estimates him at late-forties, and I didn’t realize until after the fact that I never had him say straight out he was fifty. In my mind he already was, so that was good enough (laughter – one of the dangers of spending too much time in your characters’ heads). One of the reviewers said it so well; these are two people who’ve lived fulfilling lives, so they don’t have a lot of the baggage and silly games crap happening that can detract from the rich journey of falling in love.
Dale is my first “handicapped” hero, though he wouldn’t see himself that way at all. He’s a transtibial amputee, so addressing that in an erotic context was a challenge, but one that I think made the relationship even more real and interesting. In fact, my second favorite scene in the book was motivated by that consideration. For me the best romances are a great blend of physical fantasy and emotional reality.
What's next for you?
Because I’m usually done with a book months before it releases, I have to remember to answer in terms of the next book coming out, not the next WIP (lol). But I’ll give an answer on both. The next release will be a four-novella series called Naughty Bits, which will release April-June 2014 (one each month). This will be part of Penguin’s digital Intermix line (sales and other factors determine if it’s later offered in print). The premise of the story is that Madison, my heroine, inherits her sister’s erotica shop, Naughty Bits, and soon discovers the hardware store owner next door, Logan Scott, is a Dom. His employee, Troy, is a handsome young sub-in-training. Over the course of the four books, they introduce Madison to the pleasures of being a submissive.
My other book coming out in 2014 is Divine Solace, a Nature of Desire series book. I haven’t done an NOD book in awhile, so I was so pleased to return to this world. My heroine, Gen, was introduced to readers in the popular two-book story Ice Queen/Mirror of My Soul. She was a secondary character and friend/employee of the heroine, Marguerite.
Divine Solace is a ménage love story, and though I’ve written ménage before, this is my first one with a f/m/f dynamic, instead of m/f/m, and the other female, Lyda, is the Domme in the story. Lyda made a brief appearance in Branded Sanctuary. Our hero, Noah, made an appearance in Hostile Takeover of the Knights of the Board Room as a very helpful waiter who, following Ben’s orders, went down on Marcie under the restaurant table. Yep, that’s customer service. He’s come to Florida to help care for his grandmother, and that’s where his path intersects Lyda and Gen’s. Gen’s D/s orientation is undecided – she has some submissive in her, a little bit of switch…I’ll let you find out more when the book comes out (wink).
While F/f and male submissives don’t always get a wow response from the romance readership, I’ve always been a muse-driven author, and this story has been calling to me for awhile. I hope folks will give it a try and find it appealing. I turned it in to the publisher November 30, so I should have news on a release date in the coming weeks.
The book I’ll start working on in January is Nightfall, my first co-author project, and it will be with the lovely Desiree Holt. We’re going to bring her cowboys together with my vampires, and write a story about a cowboy hero and a vampire heroine. This one’s still in the planning stages, but I’ll keep readers up to date through all the usual media. Desiree and I have already had at least one in-person brainstorming session on it, at Romanticon in Ohio, and we had such a blast planning out the scenes! I think readers will love the combination. My heroine won’t be a larger-than-life character like some of my other vampires; she’s a bartender, and our cowboy hero is in need of a bar manager. It’s going to be fun. I’ve been watching a lot of Bar Rescue and taking stock of my long-term readers and author friends who work (or have worked) in bars!
What is your favorite genre of books to read?
I’m hugely eclectic. Because my internal editor broke a long time ago, it’s hard for me to get into a book for pleasure reading (which blows!). So I jump all over the place, looking for the opening chapter that gives me that “immersion” feel. I recently read 1000 White Women by Jim Fergus and am currently considering Music to My Sorrow, a Mercedes Lackey/Rosemary Edghill fantasy title about Eric the Bard. I loved Mercedes and Ellen Guon’s first two Bedlam Bard series books, which is where I first met Eric, years ago, and I just found this one in a secondhand shop not too long ago. I have to decide now if I’m going to read it or hunt up the other couple ones that came between (yeah, being a series purist is a pain sometimes).
I just finished JR Ward’s Lover At Last (awesome). JD Robb’s In Death series is my candy reward for finishing projects, so after I finished Divine Solace, I read Calculated in Death. Now waiting for Thankless in Death to come out in mass market! I don’t read a lot of erotic romance, because the internal editor makes it a busman’s holiday, but I still like to read love stories with a heavy erotic kick if I can find one that appeals to me. The most recent was Glitterland by Alexis Hall. Outstanding male/male love story – stick with it through the first several chapters when you want to slap the main hero – he gets better, I promise!
Thanks again for having me here! Happy holidays to everyone!
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Author Website: www.storywitch.com
Fan Forum: www.storywitch.com/community