Interview and Giveaway with Kelly Wyre

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kelly Wyre who is celebrating the release of Fight. She wrote the book to get over having her heart broken.

“I wanted to write a book about truth: how we have to work to find our truth and how we have to fight for it. The truth, as they say, is simple, but I believe living by it and living up to it are far more difficult feats,” she explained. “Both Nathan and Fury want to be true to themselves and both men find themselves in circumstances that make that almost impossible.”

She also has a short story coming out from Storm Moon Press in May. She did a novel-length tag-team fiction piece with AF Henley called Vision Quest.

“It will soon be available for free download on Smashwords, Goodreads, and Amazon, good Lord and the little gods of formatting willing,” she told me. “I’m working on the next New Amsterdam novel, a fantasy novel here and there, a series of short stories for a BDSM line, and Henley and I are also doing an ongoing art project called, Eight Turns of Fate . that tells a story via “modern” technology means.”

She’s currently reading The Gift and Second Star to the Right by AF Henley, Doctor Sleep by King, the first in the Kushiel’s series by Carey, the Special Forces Unarmed Combat Manuel, A History of Ballet, The Real Nureyev, and Cloud Atlas. I’m what you might call masochistically addicted to multi-tasking,” she said.

Kelly Wyre is actually a pen name. She told me that when she was a little kid and people would ask her what her name was, she would always say, “Kelly!” Well, since neither her first nor middle name is Kelly, her mother was… bewildered.

“It would just baffle and embarrass the hell out of my poor mother, who had to make up all these excuses for her overly imaginative habitual liar of a child,” she remembered. “So, I figured Kelly would be a good first name, as I’d likely remember to answer to it when called. And ‘Wyre’ is in homage to Anne McAffery’s dragon ‘Weyr:’ meaning, a nest of dragons. And I’d love to tell you some fancy story involving fear of copyright infringement about why I chose to spell it “Wyre” instead of “Weyr” and, thus, forever have to explain that it rhymes with “here” and “beer” and “fear” [the] “spear” but honestly? I think I just misspelled it in the early days, and it stuck. I’m a terrible speller. Sad but true,” she confessed with a laugh.

Kelly works in her office in her house– on the main floor with a view out two windows of the backyard and tract of forest and cow pastures beyond it. The desk is in the middle of the room arranged so that she can see the door.

“I hate working where people can come up behind me or enter a room from behind me. I also face what I call my ‘Inspiro-Wall.’ I hand-painted it in blue-gray, dark blue, and magenta and it’s covered with over 50 framed prints and probably another two dozen or so other random things. I have a music box shaped like an elaborate door handle. When you turn the ‘knob,’ it plays. I have sculpture, art done by artists of my characters, slogan buttons, a sign that has a zombie chasing a farmer on a tractor that reads, ‘EAT LOCALS,’ inspirational sayings, and memorabilia from concerts and travels. And that’s just the one wall. The rest of my office is also decorated, mostly with art and gifts given to me by friends and fans, and I have research books on shelves. I also seem to collect stuffed animals, hats, and weaponry. I have a four-foot stuffed rabbit and a myriad of other fluffy friends, six hats ranging from bowler to pirate, and I have two sets of throwing knives, kendo practice swords, a 20-guage shotgun, (yes, it works, no, not loaded, but, yes, do own the shells), an air pistol, and a hatchet. I consider myself well-prepared for the zombie apocalypse.”

“What do you like to do when you are not writing?” I asked.

“Sleep. Eat ice cream. Watch selected videos involving consenting, naked adults enjoying themselves on various pieces of furniture. Take really long drives and walks. Play games, hang out with friends, watch movies and TV shows, attend the occasional BDSM event, and run naked in the rain. That last one has nothing to do with the next to last one. At least, not yet. What can I say? I’m a cheap, odd, open-minded and occasionally damp date.”

Kelly loves hearing from fans and solicits comments on free works and fanfiction she’s written over the years.

“I also get emails, private messages, notes, and even the occasional gift in the mail. I love hearing from readers and chatting with them. I’ve been warned over and over about being ‘too’ accessible, but sometimes taking risks leads to fantastic moments.

“About three years ago, now, I got a private message from a steady commenter across a multitude of sites. It told me that she was going to be traveling with family through my general part of the country, and she was wondering if they would be getting close enough so she could stop by and say hi. She gave me her phone number, and when I called her, she was beside herself that I’d actually gotten in contact. It turned out she was driving right through my town, so I met her and her family for dinner and coffee. It was absolutely amazing. I gave her a little gift and a copy of the next, then-unpublished, chapter of a free story I was writing, and she gave me artwork that I still have pinned in my office, today.

“Another time, about a year and a half ago, a very close friend who lives in Florida was at a club one night when she runs into these two girls at the bar and strikes up a conversation. They all discover they enjoy anime and the same kind of fiction, and one of the girls looks at my friend and says, ‘Do you know [One of My Pen Names]?’ And, of course, my friend starts to laugh and says, ‘KNOW her? She’s my best friend!’

“Apparently, the girl was overcome with emotion, and my friend has to text me to tell me what’s up. I was out of town, at the time, and had actually thrown my hip out of joint. When I got the messages, I was lying on ice packs in a friend’s living room, so they were an amazing distraction. I call my friend and ask, ‘What’s going on, again?’

“‘[Girl’s name] is here and she’s read all your stuff.’

“‘What’s her online name?’ I ask, and my friend tells me, and I’m absolutely familiar with the girl and her lovely comments. ‘Oh my God, that’s [Girl’s Online Name]! Put her on the phone!’ So the girl and I got to have a very sweet conversation. It made my year.

“One last story about fan interaction… I no longer give out my mailing address, but back in the early days of even less Internet fame than I have now, (heh) I’d exchanged addresses with one of my biggest fans for a particular story. The story was one very near and dear to me, and this particular fan had become an online friend over the course of the story.

“One of the features of the story she and I loved so much were foot-tall, deranged angels who had hanged themselves with nooses and were often seen tearing off their own wings. (By the way? I also write horror. And now you know.) Well, one average Wednesday, I get a knock at the door and a package delivered. I cut open the box and inside it are dozens and dozens of origami angels made out of black paper. It must have taken her hours, but I had this gorgeous representation of the story. It was just… so cool. I still have one of the angels in my office.

“Obviously, I’ve been very lucky with my one-on-one fan time. I have to more careful, now, unfortunately, but I still try to answer emails, messages, and notes.”

“What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?” I wondered.

“I’m not sure I can speak to what most people would find surprising, but I can tell you a few things that people have told me did, in point of fact, shock them. I’m married. To a man. (The latter seems to come as somewhat of a shock to certain individuals; but that’s okay. My friends inform me that I never a member of straight society.) I’m small in stature, but I have huge feet. Centipedes and things to do with eyeballs squick me right out. I have OCD and a memory like a steel trap. Which means I’m the really irritating person who remembers you wore the purple dress with the black flats six years ago to the Christmas party at Danny’s house, and we talked about France and average penis size when you had one glass to many of red wine. I try to curb this and keep details to myself, with greater and lesser degrees of success that are directly proportional to the amount of gin I’ve consumed.”

I asked her about the weirdest thing she’s ever done in the name of research and she shared this story with me (put your coffee down now… just a word of warning).

I don’t know if it’s the weirdest, but it’s one of the funniest. I was writing a series of short stories for an online writing contest, and I had to do the writing after the day-job. So, it’s late at night, I’m worn out and brain-numb, and I have to write this intricate physical moment between my two main characters: a small (nonhuman) female slams a poor, unsuspecting bartender against a wall and pins him. I kept trying to envision it in my head, but I couldn’t quite tell if it worked, and so, without thinking, I stalk out of my office, walk across the length of the house, and find my husband brushing his teeth in our bathroom.

“Borrow you for a minute,” I mutter, not making it a question.

“Mmmkay-eerk!” he says as I drag him out of the bathroom and throw him in the vicinity of the bedroom wall. I then proceed to put an arm across his throat and pin one of his hands at his side with my knee.

“Can we talk about this?” He asks around the brush, and I don’t bother to answer, completely focused on what I need for the story. I make a couple of adjustments, mumbling as I go, and then abruptly set my husband free.

“Thanks,” I remember to say, halfway out of the bedroom.

My husband pokes his head out the bedroom door, toothbrush in hand and mouth covered with foam, and he says, “Feel free to use me for your nefarious needs anytime, sweetie!”

A tolerant saint, that one.

Enjoy some of Kelly’s favorite quotes, many of which are probably on her Inspiro-Wall:

“Fear profits a man nothing.”
“Never let fear decide your fate.”
“What a strange and curious journey it is.”
“That which can be destroyed by the truth, should be.”
“Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”
“It will be all right in the end, and if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.”
“Energy created cannot be destroyed, only transformed.”
“Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be Chaos. Before a brilliant person begins something great, they must look foolish to the crowd.”
“Harm none.”
“And the Lord said, ‘Let Vengeance Be Mine.'”
“I will eviscerate you in fiction.”
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
“Regret is a one-way, dead-end street.”

To celebrate the release of my novel FIGHT I’m running a contest! It’ll begin on release day, MARCH 4th, and run until midnight EST on March 25th

Three lucky winners will receive:
♠ A free e-copy of the book
♠ An MP3 audio file of Yours Truly reading one of the… juicer… bits of the novel

And if that’s not enough, one contestant will be eligible for the GRAND PRIZE:
♠ Ebook copy of FIGHT
♠ MP3 audio file
♠ Lego Nathan and Fury as featured in the video below!

Audio file will be in MP3 format and sent straight to your email addy along with the ebook. Figurines will ship for free worldwide.

Comment on any blog post in the READY FOR FIGHT BLOG TOUR to win. For more details and other ways to enter, see the entry on my website:

http://kelly-wyre.blogspot.com/2014/02/ready-for-fight-blog-tour-video-contest.html

About the Author:3_24 Kelly Wyre Fire IconKelly Wyre enjoys reading and writing all manner of fiction, ranging from horror to romance. She used to work in advertising but is now happily chained to her writing desk. Kelly relishes the soft and cuddly and the sharp and bloody with equal amounts of enthusiasm. She’s a coffee addict, a workaholic, a chronic night owl, and loves a good thunderstorm. Currently Kelly resides in the southeastern United States.

Website ~ Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Tumblr (NSFW!) ~ Goodreads

3_24 KellyWyre_Fight_coverlgTo Nathan Hunt, honesty is anything but the best policy. Telling the truth has gotten him nothing but heartache and pain; so lying about who he is and what he wants seems to be the only path to job security and friends. Hell, it even brings him a hollow kind of happiness.

Except, that’s not much of a life for any man. Especially one with Nathan’s passions. Desperate to cure his self-made misery, Nathan agrees to go along with a con that will score cash for Nathan to start over. There’s just one problem: lying is getting harder by the day. And a con who can’t lie, is a con who gets caught.

Nathan’s attempts to distract himself from his moral quandary lead him to a mysterious, intoxicating man named Fury. The Mixed Martial Arts fighter knows a thing or two about lies and pasts better left buried. He and Nathan have something else in common – they both want to be with someone who lets them be themselves.

Together, they undertake a journey that proves honesty is more dangerous and more difficult than either of them could have imagined. And as they combat addiction, thugs, guns, and their own inner demons, Nathan and Fury can only hope that their battle to be together will be worth the bitter fight.

Author Interview and Giveaway: SJ Maylee

Long and Short Reviews welcomes SJ Maylee whose newest release is Untangle Me from Evernight Publishing.  There are two side characters in the book SJ wants to write more about:  the heroine’s assistant Candy who is sassy and tends to speak before she thinks and the hero’s friend/possible competition, Brad–a straight laced accountant.

“Candy’s fun to write,” SJ explained. “I actually would love to fix Candy and Brad up. It might be a hot mess. I just have to find out.”

She’s currently working on several things.  Her debut novel, Taking Chances, is the first in her Love Projects series and hopes to finish and submit the second in the series soon.  She also has several other stories and two other series in the works. She finished the first draft on four stories and plans to double that number this year.

“What’s your favorite story?” I wondered.

“You’re cruel to ask,” she said with a laugh. “I do love them all. The characters really get their grip on me. I think I actually have to pick a book I’ve only just started writing. The heroine is strong or she likes you to think she is. Gina is actually the nemeses from my debut, Taking Chances. I can’t wait to share with my readers all the reasons why they should give Gina a chance. It’s gritty good. Gina’s the star of the 3rd book in my Love Projects series.”

When she was growing up, her career aspirations always involved the arts, and she admitted to me she has always been a dreamer.

“First up, I wanted to be at least 5’4” and that didn’t happen.” She laughed. “With parents at 5’9” and 5′ I should have known. Still, I had dreams of being a Rockette. I moved on to painter and then the potter phase. For some time in my early 20s, I wanted to own a flower shop. I did teach dance for many years, right up until I was 8-months pregnant with my first child. Good times. Regardless of the dreams, I knew I wanted to follow my heart which I’ve done. It’s led me to a career that allows me to work at home and gives me time for my husband and kids and precious time to dance and write.”

Because her boys are still young, she’s found that even though she has a lovely office, most of her writing happens whenever she gets a chance in between family duties and her evil day job tasks–usually in her dining room.

“I have a view of my bookshelf in the front room and my perennial garden out the back window. Next to me I almost always have a book, my ereader, my iphone, and a hot cup of coffee,” she said. “Coffee is my addiction.”

“What group did you hang out with in high school?” I asked.

She laughed and answered, “You’ve opened a can of worms. I changed groups half way through junior year. I won’t bore you with the reasons, although they’d make a great young adult story. My thing, besides reading, has always been dance. I’ve studied dance from a young age, into college, and beyond. I was also captain of my high school pom pom squad. So, everyone was surprised when I was welcomed into a group of jock girls. I cheered them on at their games. They teased me about my short pom skirts and countless other things. They truly loved me and never let me forget it. They are still my best friends to this day.”

Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”

“Don’t try and find time to write, just write. Write as often as you can and don’t stop reading. I also like the advice to read out side of the genre you’re currently writing. This simple tip can help keep your own writing fresh.”

 

1_28 Untangle MeIvy’s revenge on the people behind her family’s downward spiral is simple and it’s working. There’s no need to long for help from the wealthy business owners who turned their backs on her father. Ivy may be worn out, but she’s finding herself again after joining the local BDSM club.

Seth and Ivy enjoy each other’s company in and out of the planning stages for Seth’s charity event. Their playful bets lead them to a first date. When their secret kinks are revealed, the pair fall deep, but it’s not meant to last. Past hurts come back to haunt Ivy. Now, it’s time for Seth to use all he’s learned, regardless if he can win back the girl.

About the Author: 1_28 SJ's Bio PicS.J. fell in love with storytelling at a young age and with it came a deep-seated desire for everyone to find their happily ever after. She’s finding the happy endings for her characters one steamy story at a time.

When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her caring for her garden, laughing with her two young sons, or dancing to her husband’s music. She’s a PMP (Project Management Professional), Nia instructor, and coffee addict.

As a writer she has a tendency to break hearts, but she always glues them back together.

 

Blog | @SJMaylee | Facebook Page | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

GIVEAWAY

 

SJ’s newest release, UNTANGLE ME is from the Evernight Publishing Romance on the Go Line. These stories are hot and fast and priced nicely at $2.99. Enter her giveaway through the rafflecopter for your chance to win a $6 Amazon gift card and your chance to pick up TWO Romance on the Go titles.

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Interview and giveaway: Elia Winters

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Elia  Winters, author of Purely Professional.  Leave a comment or ask Elia a question for a chance to win a free copy.  Winner will be announced in the comments on Friday, January 31.

Elia told me that there are a lot of sex toys in Purely Professional.

“I just can’t help it; I’m a huge fan of toys, so naturally they’re going to show up in my stories,” she explained. “In the beginning of the book, Bridget is working on a magazine article defending the use of sex toys in relationships, and that’s a little nod to my own philosophy.”

Speaking of sex toys,  after Elia’s freshman year of college, she was living at home for the summer and…I’ll let her share the story.

“I stealthily ordered myself something new from Good Vibrations, which always ships in nondescript packaging from an inane-sounding return address. Even the catalogs come in nice envelopes. I intercepted the package successfully, but my mom accidentally(?) opened my mail one day and found a catalog. However, she didn’t come to the logical conclusion, that I was actually ordering toys. Instead, she thought I’d made it onto someone’s mailing list because I’m in college. She thought the catalog was so hilarious that she showed it to all her friends, all of whom probably realized why the catalog was addressed to me. I was mortified but I couldn’t tell her! Oh my god, I’ve never told that story before. My mom still doesn’t know about that.”

This was particularly embarrassing for Elia because she had a very conservative upbringing. Her parents didn’t allow her to watch R-rated movies at all, even when she was of age, even PG-13 movies were heavily monitored, and sex was only for marriage.

“I struggled quite a bit with my sexual awakening because of these standards, and it took a long time to become comfortable with myself as a sexual being,” she said. “Romance novels helped with that process, even though I had to sneak them from my mom. I obviously got over these limitations, but it took quite a long time. My fifteen year old self would not even recognize the sex-positive me now.”

Elia is a full-time teacher, but when she’s not teaching or writing, she also works part time as a zipline canopy tour guide, which keeps her pretty busy. She enjoys camping and would like to enjoy hiking, but doesn’t.  She still goes hiking though, because her husband loves to hike. Maybe one day the “liking” part will kick in.

“In the indoor sense, I’m a huge geek,” she admitted. “I read endlessly and trawl through social media. We also host weekly game night at our house, when friends come over and we play Dungeons & Dragons (really, I said I’m a geek) and various other tabletop games.”

She told me that she writes in bursts. Since she teaches and is involved with many other activities, she has to be a judicious steward of her time. She participates in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)  every November and Camp NaNoWriMo every July, where she produces a 50,000+ word draft in 30 days.  The other months of the year are spent editing previous work.

“I tend to sit down with the laptop in the evening before dinner and work for a half hour or so, just to get warmed up, and then return to it after dinner for a few hours or until I’ve met my daily goal,” she said. “When I’m writing, I keep off social media as much as possible, even though the siren song of Tumblr sometimes lures me away.”

Currently, Elia’s agent is shopping her steampunk erotic romance out to publishers. It’s called Combustion, and it’s the first of a series of books taking place in this world.

“I love the Victorian-punk combination of the steampunk genre, from the sexy fashion to the anti-establishment philosophies,” she told me. “Combustion pairs Astrid Bailey, a designer of high-end sex toys (I told you, I love writing about sex toys!) with Eli Rutledge, conservative business owner, as they partner up to try and win the World’s Fair. Stay tuned on my website for information about Combustion as it becomes available.”

“What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?” I asked.

“Well, first off, write as much as you can. Write what you love, without worrying about making it marketable. I spent a lot of time writing what I thought would sell or what was more ‘acceptable’ content, and when I finally let go and wrote a book just for me, that was the one that sold. If you’re always writing for other people first, the rejections will get to you after a while, But if you write for yourself first, then at the very least, you’ll be entertained.

“Also, don’t show anyone your first drafts. First drafts need to be written, then ignored, then revised a few months later. But after that first revision or five, find a beta reader and hold onto them with all your might. A good beta reader is worth their weight in… I don’t know, chocolate or bacon. Something more valuable than gold.”

For Elia, her characters come first and the plot arises from them. She doesn’t outline the plot until she understands her main characters, their hopes, and their fears.  She’ll often have some plot tropes in mind though.  In Purely Professional, she wanted to write a relationship where the characters practice BDSM sexually, but don’t have a Dominant/submissive relationship otherwise.

“Once I knew that, I began creating Bridget. As I got to know her better through planning, outlining, and writing some early scenes, I realized why she didn’t have a partner and what was holding her back from her submissive tendencies. Figuring that out led easily to the rest of the storyline,” she explained.

“What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?”

“I have a goal of having 3 books released within 18 months. The clock is now ticking, as Purely Professional just came out on the 13th. My second book, a Steampunk erotic romance called Combustion, is currently in submission. I’m also just beginning to edit Playing Knotty, a BDSM erotic romance. Beyond that, I have two other first drafts to be edited. This summer, I’m planning to write a sequel to Purely Professional. It’s going to be a busy year for me!”

Something non-writing related that Elia is passionate about is bringing awareness to ending rape culture. Once she became aware of rape culture, it made her so uncomfortable that she can’t stop speaking out against it.

“I try to raise awareness in my own social circles when people are using offensive language, and in my role as a high school teacher, I’ve advocated for revised language in our dress code to put an end to the rampant slut-shaming that often occurs in such documents,” she said. “Dress codes often tell girls to dress ‘modestly’ so as not to be a distraction to their male classmates. No one seems to tell the boys to keep their eyes to themselves, and that a woman’s dress doesn’t justify their leering. Consent is huge for me: not implied consent, but clear consent, and I try to make that obvious in my stories, especially while writing BDSM.”

Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give an author who wants to write erotica?”

“Write for yourself, first. Don’t write the erotica that you think will sell; write the erotica that turns you on. Indulge your own kinks and fantasies. You might not know what does it for you, though, so that brings me to my second piece of advice: read a lot of erotica from many different sources. Letters to Penthouse, fanfiction, Kindle freebies, traditionally published books, self-published books. Read first as a reader, then read as a writer. Make note of what you like in other people’s work: are there terms you like? Sexual situations that make you all tingly? Once you identify your own hot buttons, it’s easier to translate those into an original piece. Have fun with it. Finally, don’t take yourself too seriously, but don’t undervalue your writing, either. There’s nothing shameful or wrong with writing erotica, no matter what our culture might say. Not everyone has to write Moby Dick. Sometime it’s fine to just write dick.”

1_24 elia_avatar_highresAbout the Author: 

Elia Winters has always been a New England girl, despite having spent much of her childhood in Florida. She holds a degree in English Literature and teaches at a small rural high school where she runs too many extracurricular activities. She balances her love of the outdoors with a  bottomless well of geekiness.

Elia dabbles in many genres, but erotic romance has been one of her favorites since she first began sneaking her mother’s romance novels. In high school, she kept her friends entertained with a steady stream of naughty stories and somehow never got caught passing them around. Her erotic fiction and poetry have been published online at Clean Sheets and Scarlet Letters under a different name. Elia currently lives in New England with her loving husband and their odd assortment of pets.

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1_24 Elia winters book coverColumnist Bridget Hartwell agrees to write about BDSM to impress her new executive editor at Sultry, the “sex-positive magazine for sex-positive women.” Unfortunately, it’s a topic she knows absolutely nothing about…but if she ever wants that promotion, she’ll need to learn the ropes, fast.

 

English professor Max Harlow is active in the Dom/sub scene, but only for casual play—he’s never found his ideal partner: a woman who is his equal, but sexually submissive. When he’s asked to explain the lifestyle to his cute but obviously inexperienced neighbor, Max is certain it’s best to approach it academically—to keep things purely professional.

 

Until Bridget’s first article is a huge hit, giving her the perfect excuse to delve deeper into the naturally submissive side of her sexuality. But as their encounters intensify and each of her boundaries is skillfully pushed, Bridget must decide what this all means… for her identity, her career, and, most importantly, her future with Max.

 

Interview and Giveaway: Bridget Midway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Bridget Midway, whose latest book Licorice Whips was recently released. Bridget is giving away an autographed book–the first reader to email her at Contest@BridgetMidway.com with an answer to this question will win: “Name her first published release that featured BDSM characters.”

Licorice Whips is the second book in the Decadent series. Yvette Hines’ novel Red Hots is the first in the series. Initially both stories were supposed to be novellas and released through another publisher. Unfortunately, that publisher folded right after they contracted the stories. So Yvette and Bridget decided to make our stories full-length. The thing they both wanted for both stories was to make them both BDSM, make the romances interracial, and to have it set in a candy store that the two brothers own.

“Even though both of our books are published differently, my book is published through Phaze Books, and Yvette is self publishing her book, Yvette made sure to make her cover relate to mine in its appearance,” Bridget told me. “In doing that, both novels definitely look like their part of a series. Aside from that, there’s a pretty interesting scene in my novel, Licorice Whips, where the hero disciplines the heroine using nothing but the candies he finds in his store. That was an absolutely fun scene to write. I hope readers enjoy it, too, when they read it.”

Bridget has a lot of irons in the fire–she’s working on a couple of contemporary interracial BDSM stories. She loves writing BDSM stories because it allows her to get deep inside the characters, plus it pushes her as an author.

“Unfortunately, I have had a couple of publishing houses close. So I have a lot of stories without a home” she said. “Because I always think that an author is a better writer each day, I want to go through each story and improve them, expand them, hopefully, improve them. I want to put out only the best for readers.”

Bridget has loved books as long as she can remember. Even before she could read, she loved the look and feel of a book.

“I loved seeing words on a page. I love the way the old pages smelled. I really loved the idea that someone else would read these words on a page and be informed or entertained or maybe even changed somehow,” she remembered. “For that reason, I’ve always wanted to write. I wanted to be able to entertain someone else with my weird thoughts. As soon as I could start writing and could compose a story, I started writing. I remember my first story was called ‘Trudy.’ I wrote it when I was 11 years old. I guess it was my one and only foray into writing YA. After that, I wrote nothing but romance, even in junior high and high school. I love love. And I love writing. Writing romance is a perfect fit for me.”

“Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?” I asked. “If so, what do you do about it?”

“Oh absolutely, I get writer’s block. It’s the worst to get to a point in your story and you stop and can’t keep going. When I got to graduate school, a professor of mine talked about writer’s block. What she said is that the reason you stop at a point in your story is because your conflict is not strong enough. Ouch! That was hard to hear. When I stop taking her words so personally and actually looked at my work, I realized she was right. I got stalled because my conflict wasn’t strong enough to push my work through to the end. So to combat that, before I write a full-length novel, I lay out my hero and heroine’s internal and external conflicts. So now when I get stuck, I’ll refer to the conflicts and it brings me back to where I need to go to keep my story moving. Another trick I do is I’ll read my story from the beginning or, if I’m further along in the book, maybe the chapter or two before, to get me back into the rhythm and pacing of my story. By the time I get to the part where I’m stopped, I’m able to push through to keep going.”

Whether Bridget starts with the plot or with the characters depends on the story. In her novel Fascination Street, a story about a couple that moves to a neighborhood where everyone swaps partners, the plot came to her first. All she knew was that she wanted to have three other couples already in the neighborhood when the new couple moves in. However, for Licorice Whips, the characters were in the forefront, because it was part of the Decadent series, along with Yvette’s Red Hots. Yvette wrote about the older brother, while Bridget wrote about the younger one.

“Neither process is right or wrong for me. It just is,” she said. “I work with whatever my muse throws at me.”

Before Bridget writes a full-length novel, she will always write out her characters’ profiles.

“I’ll lay out the characters’ full names, even if I don’t use it,” she explained. “I’ll describe the characters and will relate their looks to a certain celebrity. For example, in Licorice Whips, I imagined my hero looking like Bradley Cooper and my heroine looking like Paula Patton. After I get my characters’ looks down, I’ll detail the characters’ internal and external conflicts, which helps with the plot. Once I figure out what will keep these characters apart, and what motivates the characters to figure out their own problems, I know I can start writing. If all of that doesn’t work, I’ll hit that dreaded ‘muddle in the middle’ or writer’s block that a lot of authors often hit. With the right preparation, I can avoid that and, hopefully, have a great plot with wonderful characters.”

In addition to her own writing, Bridget spends a lot of time working on her craft. Her desire is to put out quality fiction, so she’s always trying to figure out how to make her stories compelling. One book she was reading is Getting the Words Right: 39 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Theodore Cheney.

“In reading that book, it’s great to see that I’m doing a lot of things right,” she told me. “I’m also learning what I’ve been doing wrong and what I can improve on in my stories. I’m learning a lot. I would strongly suggest authors read this book and other nonfiction books like this to help them in their writing.”

“What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?” I wondered.

“I’ve already have it in my head that I want to make it with one of the bigger New York publishers, which is why I’m working to hard at tightening and improving my writing. I’ve submitted some stories recently that have gotten some rejections. The rejections that aren’t form letters are the ones I use to help me see where I need to make improvements to my work. That is my goal. 2014 will, hopefully, be my comeback year.”

About the Author:12_31 B. Midway-faery 2008Best-selling author of interracial BDSM erotic romance, Bridget Midway has been published since 2005 with more than over four different small press and electronic publishers including Phaze Books, Parker Publishing, Loose Id, and Liquid Silver Books. The multi-award winning and award-nominated author has found her niche with readers with her scintillating interracial BDSM erotic romance including the EPPIE Award finalist, Love My Way, and Romance Slam Jam Steamy Novel of the Year finalist, Corporate Needs. With more than 21 published short stories, novellas, and novels under her belt, she shows no signs of stopping. For more information on Bridget Midway, go to her website at www.BridgetMidway.com.

12_31 LicoriceWhips-lgSwithin “Sweet” Hawkes doesn’t want love, but does want the business space that Nikla Dearwood wants for her business.

Nikla doesn’t want to give up the spot but loves what BDSM Dominant Sweet does with her body.

Will Nikla give up one dream for another? Can Sweet open his heart to let the right woman in?

Interview and Giveaway: Kennedy Layne

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kennedy Layne, whose newest book Captured Innocence was recently released. Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of the book.

When Kennedy was a little girl, she would create stories in her mind to help herself fall asleep. As she got older, the stories would become more vivid until she had to put them on paper.

Kennedy has written twenty books, eighteen of them were published under a different pen name with a traditional publisher. She wanted her writing to go in a different direction, however, and was encouraged to self-publish.

“After the advice and support from several respectable authors, I took the plunge and have absolutely no regrets,” she told me. “It was the best advice I’ve been given.”

She has since published two books under her Kennedy Layne penname–the second will be released in December. Her favorite is the first of the CSA series, where she was able to introduce all the characters.

“Each of them have their own personality and I cannot wait to share with you each of their stories,” she told me.

“What inspired you to start writing?” I asked.

“My son inspired me to start writing. We were going through a very hard time and I was giving him advice on life. I mentioned how as long as he worked hard and gave it his all, he could be and do whatever he wanted to do. Of course, he called my bluff and told me that I didn’t do what I really wanted to do. So I made him a deal and told him that I would submit something to a publisher and he had to continue to strive for what he wanted. I did not expect to get an answer within four days, but ever since, he has lived up to our bargain.”

Kennedy’s husband bought her a worry ring while they were at one of the bigger conventions.

“I didn’t realize how much I ‘touch’ things while thinking about my characters, plot, etc.,” she told me. “I now wear it while I write so that I can twirl the two circles that are attached to the ring. It has a very calming effect and helps me comes up with very interesting concepts!”

Kennedy is a pantser through and through–if she attempts to plot, it changes with the first paragraph. So, she goes the route her characters want her to go–from the first word to the last.

“They surprise me!” she admitted. “When I’m writing a book, the scenes play out like a movie in my head. I think that is why I love television so much. Some of my favorite shows are The Walking Dead, Scandal, The Blacklist, NCIS and the list goes on!”

“What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?” I asked.

“I’m an absolute klutz. If it can be spilled, it’s usually on my laptop. If there’s a step, I’ll trip over it. If it can break, I’ll drop it. Let’s just say it’s a good thing my husband finds this trait endearing.”

When it’s cool, Kennedy likes to write snuggled up on the couch in front of the fire with her laptop, coffee, and chocolate–with the bay windows open to watch the leaves fall or the snow flurries fall. She’s usually surrounded by her three dogs and two cats. In the summer, she prefers to be in the sunroom where the bird keeps her company and she can view the aquarium full of fish.

“As you can tell,” she told me, “I am an animal lover!”

Finally, I asked, “If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed to have five modern conveniences with you, what would they be?”

“Coffee maker….of any kind, as long as it produces that hot delicious liquid! Hot shower….can’t have sand in places there shouldn’t be!! Laptop….I couldn’t write without one! Ipad….to be able to FaceTime my fellow authors, and my bed….I have the most comfortable bed in the world. It would have to come with me!!” she said with a smile.

About the Author:11_15 Author avatarFirst and foremost, I love life. I love that I’m a wife, mother, daughter, sister…and a writer.

I am one of the lucky women in this world who gets to do what makes them happy. As long as I have a cup of coffee (maybe two or three) and my laptop, the stories evolve themselves and I try to do them justice. I draw my inspiration from a retired Marine Master Sergeant that swept me off of my feet and has drawn me into a world that fulfills all of my deepest and darkest desires. Erotic romance, military men, intrigue, with a little bit of kinky chili pepper (his recipe), fill my head and there is nothing more satisfying than making the hero and heroine fulfill their destinies.

I hope you’ll join me on their journeys…

Facebook ~~~ Twitter

11_15 Layne-Captured-InnocenceWhen former Marine, Connor Ortega, was ordered into the offices of Crest Security Agency on a Saturday morning, he didn’t expect the latest case to hit so close to home. A submissive has been murdered in a particularly vicious manner and to bring her killer to justice, he must go undercover. Not hard to do considering he’s already part of the BDSM lifestyle.

Lauren Bailey, a local vendor of bejeweled erotic implements, lives vicariously through her clients due to her fear of bondage. When Connor’s dominant side can’t resist trying to ease her anxieties, she accepts his proposal and agrees to his one stipulation…keep things casual.

When the killer sets his sights on Lauren, Connor is forced to rethink their relationship. He has the training it takes to catch a murderer, but does he have the courage to escape his inner demons and capture Lauren’s heart?

Buy the book at Amazon.

Author Interview and giveaway: Suzanne Rock

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Suzanne Rock, who has a new anthology out just in time for Halloween. She’s also giving one lucky commenter the choice of an e-copy of a SINGLE TITLE backlist book (no anthologies)–just leave a comment to be entered.
The Shifters anthology is an ebook of three previous releases, bundled together to readers could get a discount. Two of the books, Up on the Housetop and Cria, are the first books in the Kryon Pack and Jungle Heat series, respectively, with Spyder’s Web being the first book Suzanne ever wrote. At the time of this interview, she was finishing the third and final book in the Warlocks Mating Chronicles series and had hopes of submitting it to her publisher soon.
She writes erotic contemporaries as well as mainstream and contemporary paranormals as Suzanne Rock (“Suzanne is just a more sexy variation of my real first name,” she told me. “Rock is very easily to remember and say. It’s also my mother in law’s maiden name.”), and as Ava Conway, she writes New Adult (contemporary and paranormal) and mainstream romantic suspense, using the two names to separate heat levels.
“Since you write erotic romance, how do you distinguish between pornography, erotica, and erotic romance?” I wondered.
“Pornography is sex with no plot. The scenes are written for the sole purpose of titillation.
Erotica is about the sexual journey. It is more about self discovery and personal growth than romance.
Erotic Romance is about two people falling in love and their journey toward a HEA (Happy Ever After).”
Some authors Suzanne think write excellent erotic fiction include Joey W. hill, Cherise Sinclair, Lauren Hawkeye and Em Petrova.
She has two children, so her writing day is broken up a lot by their activities–she tries to write as much as she can during the school day, but she still has to divide her time between writing, house chores, and errands. She can not sit down and just work–instead she tries to grab fifteen minutes here and there to get things done. When she’s not writing, she likes to read and play with her children. She’s also a huge football fan, and she and her husband try to see at least one home game a year.
“Are you a plotter or a pantser?” I asked.
“I’m a plotter. I don’t need a detailed plot, but I need an outline. If I try to write without one, the book loses its focus. In the case of my paranormals, the world building can become complex and I need to keep track of it.”
If Suzanne could do her journey to getting published all over again, she told me that she wouldn’t be in such a rush to get published. She received advice to sign with a particular publisher, although it meant giving up all the rights to her book–she regrets signing that contract to this day.
“I knew the contract was terrible for me,” she said. “I teach a class on the ins and outs of digital publishing, and in it I try to inform other writers of this pitfall. Always go with your gut. If a contract feels wrong, it most likely is wrong. Don’t sign it.”
Finally, I asked, “What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?”
“Writing is a very tough business. There are roadblocks and frustrations at every turn. When a reader tells me that he or she likes one of my stories, or a particular character, it really means a lot. I live for that. Often, readers don’t know the many challenges a writer goes through to write a book. A kind word can do a lot to help an author get over a hump in their writing journey.”
About the Author:10_9 Author Picture_1A lifetime New Englander, Suzanne married her college sweetheart and has been with him for over twenty years. Every summer she drags her husband and two daughters to Maine on a quest for the perfect lobster dinner. Every fall she can be found down in Foxboro, Massachusetts, cheering on her favorite football team. In between those trips, she’s a chauffeur, a maid, a chef, an event planner, a hairdresser, a wardrobe stylist, a tutor and a sometimes masseuse. To keep her sanity, she often drinks copious amounts of coffee and stares at the blank screen of her laptop, dreaming of great adventures. Sometimes she even writes them down for others to enjoy.

Website ~~ Facebook ~~ Goodreads ~~ Twitter ~~ Blog: Romance on a Budget

Check out my new anthology, out just in time for Halloween. Buying each of these books separately would cost you $9.97. Buying them together in this anthology gives readers a huge discount, and is a way of saying a big “Thank You” to all of my paranormal fans.
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Buy it from there retailers:
All Romance Ebooks ~~ Amazon ~~ Smashwords ~~ Barnes and Noble ~~ Kobo

Books Included:
CRIA – Aleta runs the ancient breeding race to gain her freedom, but when she runs into someone from her past deep within the Amazon rain forest, she must decide if freedom is truly what her heart desires.
SPYDER’S WEB – A tough cop tracks down a beautiful serial killer and discovers that things aren’t always what they seem.
UP ON THE HOUSETOP – Chloe goes up to the rooftop of her childhood home to escape her controlling family and discovers an an erotic adventure she will never forget.

Author Interview: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Dixie Lynn Dwyer, whose newest book Their Blue-Collar Girl, book four in The American Soldier Collection, is released today.
Dixie has always enjoyed reading, but she always felt as if something was missing in the mainstream romance and suspense novels she read–something kept her from being fully immersed in the story or in the characters. Then, she read some erotic romance novels and was immediately hooked. When she decided to get more serious about her writing, she decided to try to write an erotic romance novel.
She had been writing for more than six years, but a couple of years ago she thought, ‘It’s now or never’ and submitted a story.
“At the time, I was big into reading paranormal romance, and all about were wolves. The first book that I submitted was called Were She Belongs. It was published by Siren Publishing. It was amazing, and shocking to me that it reached number one on Siren so quickly, and that readers were demanding to know more about the characters. So, I sat down and continued the series with Were Love Found Her and Were Love Conquers All. And yes, I intended to spell ‘Were’ in that way,” she assured me. “From that series spurred other works and now I have written more than two dozen erotic novels in the genres of romance, suspense, paranormal romance, ménage, cowboy romance and ménage and a few others as well.”
“Do you think there’s a difference between pornography, erotica, and erotic romance?” I asked.
“I believe that there is a difference between erotic romance and erotica and pornography. I choose to write erotic romance, because there is always a happily ever after and, there are true bonds of love, respect and commitment to those involved in the ménage. Ultimately though, a great writer can create such strong characters, with deep emotional connection, entwined with an amazing and interesting plot, that can hold on it’s own even if the sex wasn’t part of it. Now, throw in the sexual connection, the dominance, yet respect between the heroine and her heroes, and pull it together in a nice, complete package, and make your readers feel as if this lifestyle could be acceptable??? Then you have it. In my opinion pornography focuses completely on the act of sex, erotica always seems to put more emphasis on the sexual acts and the multitude of non-typical ways of having sex, as opposed to the plot and story having a deeper focus.
There is an art to each of these types of romance, and style. What had always interested me, was a feeling of completion that the heroine and the heroes have at the end of the story, and after their journey. There are few questions left. They feel as if they have met their soul mates, and that together anything is possible.”
There also needs to be a strong, believable plot–interesting, but not too complex with characters, and there should be the ability to show, almost step-by-step, the bond of true love.
Dixie tends to write by the seat of her pants, rarely having the entire lot written out. However, as she introduces the characters and their qualities (sexuality, desires, dreams, and goals), she entwines those with the plot so the bond is obvious.
The men in her new series, The American Soldier Collection, feature some of the characteristics she finds intriguing and attractive.
“Their dominant attitudes, their good looks, protectiveness and charm, are all appealing. What I truly love about these men in particular is their confidence, yet no sign of arrogance,” she explained. “It is difficult for men with such fine qualities to not suffer from narcissism. Their love, their care and affection for the heroine is admirable and believable. Something else about the stories is that the heroine, is quite independent herself and knows how to handle a lot. No damsels in distress in this series.”
Dixie has a new mini-series, Power Surge-The Billionaire’s Club, which has recently been released.
I wondered, with all the books she has out, when Dixie first considered herself a writer.
“Recently. It hit me one day as I answered some e-mails from happy readers, and discussed upcoming work on my author Face Book page. I was organizing the plans for the day, getting the e-mails done, answering some posts online and then I began writing. When I took a moment to think about that, I realized that I truly am a writer. It is the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think about before I go to bed at night. I love it, it makes me happy, so I guess I can officially call myself a writer.”
Over the last yeear, her writing space has changed. She told me about it.
“I used to be very unorganized in my space, but it was my messy, happy space. Now I have separate files for different projects, I use highlighters to differentiate my characters and I keep the majority of my notes in notebooks. However, I love a scribble pad. Sometimes I am so enthralled in the story that I just don’t want to stop to jot down a note or two. I know I will need those notes later, but I just have such a hard time, that I jot it down on sticky notes or the scribble pad. Making sense of it later, always proves to be difficult, but I do it.”
She also needs munchies nearby when she’s writing–things like M&Ms, Skittles, raisins, celery, carrots, blueberries–small things she can pick up quickly.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys working out, jogging, lifting weights. One of the reason she enjoys those is because she also enjoys cooking and eating.
“If there is a new recipe to try and it has to do with chicken, I am all over it. I also love nachos, more finger food, so I came up with a way to enjoy them and have breakfast at the computer desk. There never seemed to be enough time for breakfast. But breakfast is important,” she told me. “I take nachos, cook up scrambled eggs, pour them onto the nachos and melt some cheese, usually a combination of cheddar and American. Then I sprinkle bacon over that. I can pick at it while writing, researching and all. Sometimes I add hot sauce or a little cup of salsa. Yummy!”
“What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your books?” I asked.
“That there are amazing people in the world, with so many things to offer in one lifetime. I can actually portray those characteristics through the characters that I create, and perhaps make the world a little happier. So many times I receive e-mails from my readers who are struggling through life or on hard times. They say that my stories help them to leave those unhappy thoughts behind them and to focus on the good things and the good people for a while. I believe in ‘Happily Ever After,’ so that is what I write. We all deserve a happily ever after, even if it’s just for the time it takes to read a story.”
Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”
As a new writer starting out, I would tell them to be sure and write from the heart first and then go back to write with grammatical technique. So many times writers worry about the grammar initially, and then lose their ability to tell the story and make their characters come alive. It is not an easy task, and it does take time and practice, but it works. Strong characters are so very important when writing a story and especially romance.
About the Author:Dixie Lynn Dwyer is an author of erotic romance, with more than two dozen published books. She writes in the genres of romantic suspense, paranormal romance, cowboy romance ménage and multiple partners.
Dixie enjoys writing about empowered women, and sexy, capable men with qualities that are appealing and authentic. Each of her series has made it to the number one position on Siren Book Strand Publishing, and she thanks her readers for their continued support and dedication to her work. The American Soldier Collection is her newest writing project.
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Breathless Press Anniversary: Zara Stoneley

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions celebrating the 4th Anniversary of Breathless Press. Breathless Press will be giving away the following prizes to randomly drawn commenters during the tour:

Grand Prize: 1 Kindle Fire
Second Prize: $25.00 Gift Card for Breathless Press

Third Prize: $10.00 Gift Card for Breathless Press

Fourth Prize: 10 x $5.00 Gift Cards for Breathless Press (individual gift cards, 1 per person)

See the Rafflecopter at the end of this post.

What inspired you to start writing?

There was no specific inspiration – I’ve always written. I loved reading from being very young and it was just a natural progression to write. I won a prize in a national newspaper short story competition after entering via my primary school, and then wrote my first novel when I was twelve. The great feedback (despite my being oblivious to every rule about how to submit) from a major publisher encouraged me to keep scribbling. My grandfather always insisted that we were related to the author Elizabeth Gaskell, so maybe it is in the genes.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

I think the most important thing is to find your own voice and develop it. Don’t mimic other people because you will never write genuinely, from the heart if you do, and readers are looking for emotion, for honesty, for characters they can relate to and sympathise with. And that has to come from the heart. I’d also say don’t follow the bandwagon – if you’re chasing, you’re already too late! Read lots, read variety, read how-to books and learn the craft – but don’t get bogged down. It’s the story and the characters that have to grab people. Anyone can learn rules, learn grammar – but there has to be a story you believe in and that you want to tell your way – you need to want to make people laugh, make them cry, make them want to find out more.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

I do sometimes get stuck and the worst thing is to just sit and stare. Getting out and a change of scene can help, otherwise I go back to the drawing board and examine my characters and their motivations – usually things grind to a halt because I’m missing something, don’t understand the characters and what they’re doing – or I’m trying to force the story in one direction when it needs to go somewhere completely different.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

Believable characters that I can relate to, a plot that stems from the characters and doesn’t feel fabricated (I hate lucky coincidences) and good pace. If I start getting a bit bored I skip whole paragraphs (or chapters!). I do get pulled out of the story if there are too many errors, but if the plot is good enough then I can ignore them to a certain extent.
How do you develop your plot and characters?

The main character and a very vague plot come first – the opening and the end. I then have lots of pieces of paper with character details on. Physical outlines (appearance is important to me for my characters so I can picture them), then GMC sheets, along with details about the worst thing that could happen to them and what will test them out, and how they react etc. I then jot down the opening scene, the turning points and the black moment which gives me some structure. I plot the first quarter in more detail, brief scene outlines plus the character growth for the scene, and a hook. I write the first quarter (which generally turns out differently to what I expected and impacts my plot!), expand on my character outlines and plan the next quarter in more detail. I try not to be too fixed as things always change as I get to know my characters, and how they react to things, better.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell us about?

I’m working on the third book in the Good Enough series, ‘Making It Good Enough’ which spills the beans about what has happened to Charlie and Anna – have they really made up and do they have a future? And we catch up with Dane and Holly, when his ex-wife turns up does it spell the end of their relationship – or the start of something even better?

I’ve also just finished ‘Surrender Your Soul’, which is an erotic romance about Kezia who wants some security in her life, James who wants to be left in peace and the type of passionate sex that steams up the windows! Check out my website for updates.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?

The title is really important to me. If I’ve not got the title sorted I find it hard to write the book – it needs to sum the whole thing up – summarize the core story. I must admit, titles usually come to me when I’m in bed so I have to get up and make a note – I’ve convinced myself that I can remember something in the past (because I’ve been too lazy and half asleep to get up), fallen asleep and woken up without the foggiest idea what my brilliant title had been!

Describe your writing space.

Anywhere! I use the dining table in the winter, because it’s cosy, the kitchen table on sunny mornings because it’s bright, the sofa in the evenings so I can keep my son company, the patio when we get the weather and bed if I suddenly wake up with a brilliant idea I can’t ignore. My only proviso is it has to be quiet.

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

I have a part time job so I do a stint at that in the morning, get home, have coffee and settle down to writing. Then I have to go out again mid-afternoon and usually do more writing in the evening. I like to do all my planning on a Friday or Monday and then have a few days of uninterrupted writing, and I always aim to write about 12k a week. Having a strict routine and self-imposed deadlines is the only way I can get things done.

How do you personally distinguish between pornography, erotica, and erotic romance?

Porn is just about being turned on – the plot and characters don’t matter, I think porn is usually visual i.e. pictures, rather than words.

With erotica the characters are on a sexual journey and there must be character growth and emotional development, not just a plot involving sex. There often isn’t any romance or HEA (although there can be). Erotica shows the impact that the sex has on the characters, which porn doesn’t, but it doesn’t show a developing romance.

An erotic romance goes a step further – it isn’t just about the individuals and the impact that the erotic elements have on them, it describes how a relationship develops as a result of the sexual interaction. It is similar to any other romance, but if you took the sex out the story wouldn’t work as the erotic elements are an integral part of the plot and how the characters and romance develop.

How do you judge what makes a good erotic story when writing your own fiction?

How the sex affects the character, every sex scene must be there for a reason and lead to character growth. I think too often a sex scene is just thrown in there because the characters are hot for each other (and the author wants a certain number of sex scenes!). It’s also important that a good erotic story must ‘take you there’, clichés and purple prose are out – it has to be real. I think this is one of the reasons that erotic fiction is often written in first person.

What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotic romance?

That it’s easier to write than other genres! Some people still think of erotic romance as being the same as porn – and often this judgment is made without reading any books in the genre.

What research books do you recommend for authors starting out in writing erotica?

The best way to research is to read erotica/erotic romance. Lots. Read a variety – including books from smaller publishers, but also read ones that are bestsellers and published by the larger players. It’s important to see for yourself what works and what doesn’t – and like in any genre you will find that you can’t please all the people all the time – some people like mildly erotic romances with a strong romantic content and will criticize books for containing too much sex, other people will lean more towards erotica with the relationship being of little importance and cannot understand characters who won’t just jump into bed with anyone and everyone! Similarly the type of sex, from hard core BDSM to the fairly vanilla varies tremendously. Read a lot, see what you are comfortable with. You can only write what you enjoy.

About the Author 8_21 Author-Zara Stoneley-photoZara Stoneley has been writing stories for as long as she’s been reading them. She submitted her first novel, a thriller, to a UK publisher when she was twelve years old.

After moving on to romance, she started off writing contemporary romance with a bit of sizzle, and then discovered she liked hot and erotic too. Her erotic work has been published by Xcite Books and Breathless Press, and she has self-published two novels (the ‘Good Enough’ series). She also writes contemporary romance under the name Susie Medwell, and has been published by Lyrical Press.

Zara loves her family, sunshine, wine, good food, caffeine, cats, music, writing and reading – but not necessarily in that order!

Website – http://www.zarastoneley.com

Blog – http://zarastoneley.blogspot.com

Twitter – @zarastoneley

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/zarastoneley

Amazon author page – http://amazon.com/author/zarastoneley

8_21 book coverMike Sands knows that loving a soldier can lead to heartache, so when he falls hard for his best mate’s little sister he knows he has to walk away.

But can Jade let him, when one taste has left her desperate for more? Or dare she take command of the situation and prove to both of them that maybe what they have is worth taking a risk over?

Sometimes one night of passion is not enough, sometimes you just have to stop thinking about the future and live in the present.

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Breathless Press is an e-book publisher specializing in Romance and Erotic(a) stories.

Our mission statement is simple: To provide the opportunity for readers to connect with romance authors through the purchasing of quality e-books at a low price.

Starting in the summer of 2009, Breathless Press came into existence. Since then, we have been producing top end romance and erotic stories for valued readers to enjoy.

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Celebrate with Breathless Press–Win a Kindle

8_16 VBT Breathless Press Banner

Gayl Taylor stopped by today as part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Breathless Press will be giving away the following prizes to randomly drawn commenters during the tour:

Grand Prize: 1 Kindle Fire
Second Prize: $25.00 Gift Card for Breathless Press
Third Prize: $10.00 Gift Card for Breathless Press
Fourth Prize: 10 x $5.00 Gift Cards for Breathless Press (individual gift cards, 1 per person)

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

Elements I look for and consider good writing include well-developed characters that are not too perfect (I love a flawed hero and heroine) and who I can relate to on some level. When a story pulls me in, when it stays with me long after I finish it, this is the mark of good writing and something I strive for in my own work.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I have always considered myself a writer since I’ve been writing for what feels like forever. I’ve been telling stories since I was very young. Granted, the stories I tell now are more mature than they were in my youth. I’ve always had something percolating in my head. I used to daydream a lot (I still do) and stories blossomed. Some I wrote down and others were strictly an ongoing series of events in my imagination. No matter what, I will always write. I can’t help it.

What is the hardest part about writing for you?

I tend to go off on tangents. If I don’t keep a timeline or outline, I completely lose track. It got so bad I would get about 2/3 of the way to the end and have written myself in a corner. I have learned to plan. I write character profiles and by getting to know my characters, they come alive and have a voice. Believe me, I hear them loud and clear when they have something to say. I research locations and find images for inspiration, and outline beginning, middle, and end. I need to know what finished looks like so I can get there. My other big hurdle is the internal editor. I constantly remind myself to write the story until it’s finished and then go back and fine tune. I can literally be stuck on a paragraph or even a word for hours if it doesn’t sit right with me. I also have a fantastic critique partner who reads every first draft one chapter at a time. I make notes based on that feedback in the margins and go back later to revise.

When writing descriptions of your hero/ine, what feature do you start with?

I start with their physical presence – height, weight, age and fill in physical characteristics. Then I move to eyes, mouth, hair, and voice. Of course, I have to fill in their personalities (sense of humor, temperament, etc). I always know in my head what they look like and will search the internet for images that represent as close as possible what I see. That helps me keep my sense of the characters true. I write their bios, major events in their lives, as well as likes and dislikes. I have gone so far as to create a mosaic of images that represent each character’s personalities and make-up.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am a bit of both. I started out strictly as a pantser. But when I’m winging it, I can never finish a story. I don’t really know what happens if I’m writing by the seat of my pants. If I am not careful, I lose my way and write myself into a dead end. So now, I use a loosely plotted outline and pantser my way through! On top of that, my characters are vocal so I will listen to them and if they are right, I change direction a little.

Where are you from and what do you love best about your hometown?

I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. My hometown is a quiet suburb five minutes from the SF airport, a quick drive (depending on the time of day) to the city, and close to my beloved SF Giants and 49ers. I’m close enough to where I can easily drive to the beach, the mountains, the desert, or the valley. I’m a California girl through and through and can’t picture myself anywhere else.

If you had to do your journey to getting published all over again, what would you do differently?

I don’t think I was prepared for what comes with getting published. I had no idea how to market or promote myself and I didn’t understand the time commitment. I didn’t know who to ask or where to go for guidance. And honestly, it never occurred to me that my first submission would be accepted. In hindsight, I wish I was ready with more completed manuscripts in order to grow my backlist more quickly. I was flying by the seat of my pants (it’s the pantser in me) without really thinking things through. If I had it all to do over, I would have planned these things in advance and done more research.

Ebook or print? And why?

Both for sure. eBook because this is the present and future. Everyone has an eReader of some kind. This makes books more portable than ever and you don’t need loads of shelf space or boxes to keep a growing book collection in. On the other hand, there are certains books that I would want to own a physical copy of. There is something incredible about the feel of a book, the smell of the pages, and the front and back covers. I can’t imagine what it would be like if libraries were to become a thing of the past. Some of my best memories are contained in the walls of a library or bookstore. There is nothing like the idea of seeing your work in print, holding a physical book that you wrote. I hope for that one day.

If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed to have five modern conveniences with you, what would they be?

I’m guessing I can’t pick electricity can I…I’d choose a multi-purpose heavy duty knife with all the bells and whistles, a solar charger with multiple connectors for charging electronic devices, my iPad, a sleeping bag, a heavy duty mess kit. Hmm, maybe I should have picked a boat so I could get off that desert island once in a while…

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

I always have music playing when I write. I listen to a lot of rock but my musical tastes vary so my playlist is a mixed bag of soft rock, hard rock, metal, country, classical, and pop. When I’m driving I tend to do some of my best plotting with the radio blasting.

Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?

I stick with contemporary erotic romance. I tried writing a historical paranormal and just couldn’t make it work. I draw inspiration from my surroundings and experiences when I write. I am not comfortable straying from what I know. The idea of research for an historic romance or the work involved in creating a paranormal world scares the pants off me. I love reading the genres but know when I am out of my element in attempting to write one. Although, I will say I am working on a contemporary m/m/f shifter erotic romance, so never say never right?

What is something that you absolutely can’t live without? (Other than family members)

I am addicted to coffee. There is no way I can function without a good cup of coffee when I roll out of bed. The aroma, that first sip – it’s heaven. I have my favorite flavors. I love Kona coffee and I recently discovered a blend from Kauai. I add a dash of cinnamon to the grounds and it adds a delightful flavor. One of my co-workers also introduced me to Blue Bottle coffee. Divine stuff. You should Google it.

Could you ever co author a book with someone? If so, who would you choose, and what would you write?

Funny you should ask this – I actually did collaborate on a book with Karyn Gerrard, a multi-published author. We were drooling over our mutual lust for a certain male model and discussing how he could be the filling in our hero sandwich. An idea sprung from that and before we knew it, The Hero Sandwich, a f/m/f erotic cougar romance, was born. We each wrote from the POV of the female characters (BFF’s since high school) and shared writing duty for our hero, a washed up baseball player. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience, our writing styles meshed beautifully, and we had it done in a few weeks. Collaborating was very rewarding and fun, a give and take of ideas, and we ended up with a sensual, romantic love story.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

“Be realistic and accept the fact that I live in a dream world.” Don’t ask me where I got that from because I don’t honestly remember but this saying fits me to a T. I do live in a dream world. My life is exciting, full of romance and adventure, and you should see my leading man du jour! I am always in my head, in my imagination, living out fantasies and writing them down. I get that dreamy, faraway look and I’m gone for hours.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

I am working on a series of books that I hope to publish in the next year. I have a large cast of characters that have been with me for years. I’m starting with my muse who happens to be a monster rock star. We’ll see how it goes!

What is a talent you wish you had, but don’t?

I wish I could play the drums. There is something sexy about the idea of a female rock drummer don’t you think? My son is an incredible drummer. He has tried to teach me but I just can’t get the arms and feet to do different things at the same time. It’s comical, just ask him. Coordination is not in my dna.

How do you personally distinguish between pornography, erotica, and erotic romance?

In my mind, pornography is meant to physically arouse and stimulate. There is no story, no emotion, just sex. It is not realistic and there is no connection between the participants, no romance. Erotica goes a bit deeper. It tells more of a story with steamy sex thrown in. Erotic romance is more sensual, focusing on the journey toward love with heavy romantic elements including steamy, toe-curling sex. Erotic romance stimulates the mind, body, and emotions.

How do you judge what makes a good erotic story when writing your own fiction?

The primary focus for me is how my characters find each other and fall in love. I try to keep it real. I take the best parts of love and romance, the messiness of life, and everything that comes with it (including sex). I don’t believe in closing the door. Part of love and romance is expressing those emotions physically. I’m not writing about sex for sex’s sake, but rather writing romance where the sex enhances the relationship, is an expression of love. I want to leave people with a satisfying story that stays with them. And if it arouses the reader’s emotions and imagination, that’s a bonus.

What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotic romance?

There are a few misconceptions about erotic romance that I want to mention. One is the idea that authors who write erotic romance are perverts because they are writing about sex. Another popular misconception is that we live the lives we write about. (I wish) Honestly, all you need is a vivid imagination.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

Do your homework. Read books in the genre you are interested in. Check out publishers if you don’t plan to self-publish and find the best fit for you. Be prepared to market your brand and if you don’t know what that is, figure it out first. Lastly, write every day whether it is 100 words or 10,000. Practice your craft, hone your skills, and be passionate about what you do.

About the Author:8_16 BWAvatarA California native, Gayl Taylor spent much of her youth daydreaming and making up stories. Life in her imaginary world was full of adventure, intrigue, and romance. Temporarily distracted by real life, marriage, three kids, and the necessary paycheck; she found her way back to writing as a hobby and eventually pursued her dream of being a published author.

Although she still has her day job, at night Gayl writes sensual, erotic romance often finding inspiration in her experiences and surroundings. There are pieces of her in all the characters whose stories she tells.

Gayl lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her three sons and rock star cat. She is a firm believer in love and the power of romance.

http://gayl-taylor.com
https://www.facebook.com/GaylTaylorAuthor
https://twitter.com/gaylschat
http://www.goodreads.com/gayltaylor

8_16 RideaCockHorse200x300Musician Hunter Blake returns to Banbury Cross to win back his true love, Kate. Will they find a way to make beautiful music again?

Not even a cock horse could bring musician Hunter Blake back to Banbury Cross, yet here he stood, ten years after leaving, to make amends for his past behavior and win back his true love, Katherine Banbury. Their relationship was in perfect harmony until Hunter’s excessive drinking tore them apart. Now sober, he’s focused on doing whatever it takes to prove he’s worthy of her love.

Kate spent the last ten years determined to forget Hunter. With a developer intent on turning her ancestral home into tract housing, Kate had her hands full. When Hunter returns, vivid memories of their passionate history stoke the flames of desire between them. Will Kate fight the attraction or will she open her heart to love once more?

8_16 BP4thannivBanner

8_16 Breathless Press LogoBreathless Press is an e-book publisher specializing in Romance and Erotic(a) stories.

Our mission statement is simple: To provide the opportunity for readers to connect with romance authors through the purchasing of quality e-books at a low price.

Starting in the summer of 2009, Breathless Press came into existence. Since then, we have been producing top end romance and erotic stories for valued readers to enjoy.

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Author Interview: Fallon Blake

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Fallon Blake whose latest book, <i>A Firm Hand</i>, was recently released by Ellora’s Cave.  It’s the second book in the Bound to You series and is on the harder side of BDSM compared to her last book, <i>Wrapped Around Your Finger</i>, and is deeply emotional. The characters are flawed and  have difficult issues to overcome–so difficult that some days spending time with them took a lot out of Fallon.

“I wouldn’t change it though,” she assured me. “I’m very proud of this one.”

She’s currently working on the next book in the series, <i>Bait and Switch</i>, which will be Jared and Sophia’s story.

“I really have my work cut out for me. Writing a relationship between two dominants won’t be easy,” she admitted. “Sometimes I think I’m crazy for even thinking it can work. They keep telling me they’re supposed to be together. Who am I to argue?”

During this next year, she’d like to finish the next two books in the series, publish a paranormal, and finally get to a convention.

Fallon has always wanted to write… over the years, she’d get ideas for stories and write them down on legal pads.

“I had stacks of them,” she confessed. “My husband convinced me to pick one and start writing. I figured why not? What did I have to lose? I’m so glad I took that leap.”

“What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?” I asked.

“There are so many. Carrie’s Story by Molly Weatherfield was one of the first books that made me decide I wanted to write BDSM. It’s such a powerful book. Morgan Hawke’s Interstellar Service and Discipline is another. I love her talent for world-building. More recently, Annabel Joseph. Her ability to write flawed emotional characters makes me take a good hard look at my own.”

Fallon has two girls (ages 7 and 5), so spends a good part of her day chasing them around–during the summer, she writes mostly at night, but during the school year she treats her writing like a regular job–writing Monday through Friday during the day. She writes on her netbook, so her writing space can be anywhere she can find a quiet spot–sometimes outside by the pool. Other days, she will lock herself in her bedroom while her husband takes over family duty.

“Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?” I wondered. “If so, what do you do about it?”

“Yes, I do and it can be difficult to work through. Music works wonders when I find myself staring at a blank page. I like to create playlists for each book I’m working on. Hearing a song I associate with my characters or a scene really helps get me in the right headspace when I’m feeling less than inspired.”

When she’s not writing, she’s usually in the kitchen because she loves to cook. She also likes taking her kids to the beach and curling up with her husband on the couch to watch a good, scary, horror movie.
“What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?” I asked.
“I bought a paddle. When I was researching handcrafted paddles for Wrapped Around Your Finger I ended up buying one from the craftswoman who helped me learn about the different woods and styles. I won’t tell you whether or not I got to try it out. I’ll leave that up to your imagination.”
Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”
“Learn as much as you can about your craft, decide what you want to write then park your behind in a chair and put your heart into it. Also, commit to your story and your characters. You can’t publish what you don’t finish.”

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About the Author:   Fallon Blake loves to spin stories that explore the romance of dominance and submission or venture into the realms of the paranormal. When she’s not glued to her netbook writing away, you can usually find her in the kitchen whipping up something healthy, in the gym or playing outside with her kids. She loves horror movies, has a soft spot for zombies and cupcakes, and reads everything she can get her grubby hands on.Fallon resides in Florida with her family and loves to hear from her fans.
Buy the book:  Amazon
Book two in the Bound to You series. Can be read as a stand-alone. 
8_6 afirmhand_msrAfter a painful past, Brian Donovan can’t afford to get close to anyone, especially a submissive. His growing lust for a certain mouthy bartender has been easy to keep under wraps, at least until he catches her snooping through his files. Spanking her senseless is not one of his better ideas. Even worse, he entices her into a relationship based on power exchange–no sappy sentiments, no messy emotional entanglements, strictly dominance and submission. He doesn’t count on Genevieve being the one submissive who makes him want to feel again.
Gen Hawthorn’s life is a mess. She’s always late for work, can’t keep a boyfriend and has a closetful of family secrets. When her gorgeous boss offers her a kinky no-strings arrangement, she can’t say no. Being dominated by the star of all her dirty fantasies sounds like what she needs. She just has to remember his most important rule–don’t fall in love.