Anniversary Blog Fest: Emma Jay


My Summer Obsessions
Emma Jay

Every summer I get obsessed with something or other. Last summer it was shoes, ewing and Timothy Olyphant. This summer I’ve been a little more scattered.

My first obsession this summer is nail polish. Now I don’t usually paint my fingernails, though I always paint my toenails–one of my favorite ways to welcome warm weather. But this summer I would go on Pinterest, see cool nails and try to mimic them. I’ve got a couple dozen bottles of nail polish now, every color from black to white, shades of blues, purples, pinks, oranges, even green. NOT a fan of glitter polish, though it is pretty.

My second is with thrifting. My mom has enjoyed it for awhile, hitting the Goodwill stores and thrift stores and pick through to see what you can find. She started with baskets, then moved on to silver spoons and other odds and ends. This summer, I’ve been going with her to various Goodwills, thrift stores and antique stores. I’ve found cute wire baskets, Diet Coke glasses to go with my Coke glass collection, adorable purses and a great bedside table. Adding to my addiction? The Junk Gypsies on HGTV. They’re two sisters who go thrifting and use their finds to redecorate other people’s houses. I LOVE that show.

My third obsession is Channing Tatum. I don’t think he’s particularly handsome, but he’s got a gorgeous body and the boy can DANCE. Please don’t tell me how old he is–I don’t want to know.

What about you? Do you get obsessed with things? What are your current obsessions?

About the Author: Emma Jay has been writing longer than she’d care to admit, using her endless string of celebrity crushes as inspiration for her heroes. She discovered her husband has way more tolerance for screensavers and hunk-decorated blog posts when she calls them her “heroes.” Emma, married 25 years (wed at the age of 8, of course) believes writing romance is like falling in love, over and over again. Creating characters and love stories is an addiction she has no intention of breaking.

Her website/blog:
Pinterest (lots of Channing pictures. Ahem):


One of the reasons I took so long to start writing erotic romance was the concern that I wouldn’t be able to keep my stories and love scenes fresh. I mean, you’ve read them, right, the stories by the same author with the same love scenes, only the names changed?

So I try to focus each story around a different fantasy. Show Off is about having sex in public, with the fear of getting caught. In Lessons for Teacher, my skittish heroine revealed her true trust in the hero by exploring anal sex with him. I added toys to a current work, a ménage to another and a sex club to my latest.

The trick was making all of these fantasies fit with my characters. The by-far hardest was the ménage, making the motivation believable, especially for the hero.
Aside from the sexual fantasies, I like to play with the romantic fantasies. Show Off is about having an affair with the boss, Lessons for Teacher, to quote Ross Gellar from FRIENDS, is about the “frowned upon” relationship between a teacher and student. (In my book, they’re close in age—he’s an Iraqi war vet.) In Two Step Temptation, coming in February from Samhain, I have the man-who-got-away reunion story. In another story, I have a deserted island, and in another, the heroine pursues her brother’s best friend, who she’s crushed on forever.

What are some fantasies you like to read in erotic romances? What are some you’d like to read?

Emma Jay has been writing longer than she’d care to admit, using her endless string of celebrity crushes as inspiration for her heroes. She discovered her husband has way more tolerance for screensavers and hunk-decorated blog posts when she calls them her “heroes.” Emma, married 23 years (wed at the age of 8, of course) believes writing romance is like falling in love, over and over again. Creating characters and love stories is an addiction she has no intention of breaking.

Friday Spotlight: Emma Jay

Another place I draw inspiration from TV is in the story themes. There are supposedly only so many plots in the world, but endlessly different stories can be made from them.

Look how many “Romeo and Juliet” stories there are, which boils down to forbidden love. Or stories where the main characters are out for vengeance. Often in romance this need is tempered by love, so we can have more than one theme running through a story.

My personal favorite theme to watch is the underdog story. I’m always drawn to underdogs, whether it been in sports or American Idol or Survivor. I haven’t been inspired to write an underdog character yet, though.

Another one I love is the quest. I love the Lord of the Ring movies and the Mummy movies and the Librarian movies. Back when Silhouette was publishing the Bombshell books with the kick-ass heroines, I glommed on the Evelyn Vaughn Goddess books, which outlined a quest. Now I’m doing the same for Elisabeth Naughton’s romantic adventures.

Fish out of water stories can be fun to write, and to watch, as the character feels his or her way about in a new world, or a new social circle.

I noticed that some of my favorite shows don’t fit neatly in a category, especially sitcoms, or ensemble casts like Gilmore Girls and Grey’s Anatomy. Maybe someone can see where they would go better than I can.

Here are some of my favorite themes and my favorite shows that go with them.

Vengeance: The Fugitive

Underdog: Firefly, Burn Notice, The Big Bang Theory

Quest: Heroes, 24, Supernatural, The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Rescue: LOST, Prison Break (first season)

Forbidden Love: Buffy, True Blood

Justice: NCIS, any of the Law and Orders or CSI, The Mentalist

Fish out of Water: Men in Trees

Visit Emma Jay on her blog.

Thursday Spotlight: Emma Jay

The settings of TV shows can be inspirational as well. You can’t use a drama for research, but you can get the feel of a place from a TV show.

I loved the show Men in Trees. I watched it while I was writing my story set in the northwest, because the show, while set in Alaska, was filmed in Washington. Also during that time I watched a lot of Gilmore Girls because I was writing a small town story and I wanted the feel of a small town story.

While I’d never want to be treated in Seattle Grace or County General, I could watch Grey’s Anatomy or ER for the feel of a hospital. Also, I learned hospital hierarchy from those shows. I haven’t used that information—yet.

Writing spies? Watch Burn Notice and Alias. Be careful what you take from the shows, but they can be inspirational. (Michael Weston…mmm.)

And nothing makes me want to write about the south like True Blood.

Want to write about a particular city, but don’t have the cash to go there? This little website is fun:

What if you want real information? I know my friend Tricia Mills watched Tougher in Alaska when she was writing her young adult novel, Winter Longing. I watched Ghost Hunters when working on my paranormal. Writing about cops and tired of watching Law and Order? DEA is a good show to catch. Good information can be gleaned from the Discovery Channel or the History Channel. I set a wish list on my Tivo for whatever subject I want to catch.

Yes, I watch a lot of TV, but I always try to take something from it.

Visit Emma Jay on her blog.

Wednesday Spotlight: Emma Jay

Yesterday I talked about how characters from television inspire my writing. Today, I’m going to talk about dialogue.

Screenwriters have it tougher than novelists, I think. They don’t have the luxury of showing internal thought. They have to depend on dialogue to both keep the story moving and present the information they need to get to the audience. Even in the darkest shows, like, say Battlestar Galactica, the writers infuse some lightness in the dialogue to relieve the tension.

The master of all dialogue is Joss Whedon. No show is as quotable as Buffy, except maybe Firefly.

From Buffy. Both of these are excellent sketches of the characters who said them.

“I laugh in the face of danger. Then I hide until it goes away.” –Xander

“I’m the Slay-er.Chosen one? She who hangs out a lot at cemeteries…? ‘In every genera—-‘ You know. I really don’t feel like doing the routine. Ask around. Look it up: ‘Slayer comma The.’ ” –Buffy

From Firefly, just because I think it’s hilarious.

“This will be interesting.”

“Define ‘interesting.’”

“’Oh, God, oh God, we’re all gonna die.’”

“Mercy is the mark of a great man. Guess I’m just a good man.”

Gilmore Girls is another. The sexual tension in this show between Luke and Lorelei built from the first episode to the first kiss.

Lorelai: Is this like a Mafia thing?

Luke: Excuse me?

Lorelai: The whole coming in, special table, reserved sign. Are you gonna have to whack someone before the soup course?

Luke: No, I’ve filled my whacking quota for the week. [cringes] Dirty?

Lorelai: [wicked grin] Extremely.

Luke: Thought so.

Lorelai: I just broke up with someone.

Luke: Yeah.

Lorelai: We’d been dating for a few months now.

Luke: I figured there was someone in the picture.

Lorelai: You did? How?

Luke: Just clues. You know, you never dressed weather-appropriate, that kind of thing.
Luke: Rory’s not here yet.

Lorelai: Then you’ll have to entertain me until she arrives. Okay Burger boy, dance.

Luke: Will you marry me?

[Lorelai is taken aback]

Luke: Just looking for something to shut you up.


Supernatural uses dialogue to illustrate characters so clearly, shows their toughness and vulnerability.

“Does anyone have a breath mint? Some guts spilled in my mouth while I was killing my way in here.”

“You’re piercing the veil, Dean, glimpsing the “b” side.”

“Little less New Agey, please.”

“You’re almost hell’s bitch, so you can see hell’s other bitches.”

“A couple of severed heads and a pile of dead cows and you’re Mr. Sunshine.”

“You got a neighbor named Mr. Rogers?”

“Not anymore.”

Dialogue needs to illustrate character and move the story forward, not just be cute. A writer needs to make every word count.

Visit Emma Jay on her blog.

Tuesday Spotlight: Emma Jay

I’ve always found inspiration in many places in my writing career. My favorite source for inspiration is television.

I love television. I own series on DVD, I have several on season pass setting on the Tivo, and I even have an essay in a BenBella book on my favorite show, Supernatural.

How can TV inspire me? Different ways. Today I’ll talk about characters.

Sure, there are some one-dimensional characters in TV, characters who act the same way in different situations, who never show growth. But there are some with such delicious layers, you have to keep watching. One of my favorite characters of all time is Logan from Veronica Mars. On the surface, you see him as a bad boy, but you learn he’s the neglected child of movie stars and has such a warped sense of right and wrong. He’s having to find his own way, and while sometimes he makes the right choices, a lot of times he doesn’t.

Another show with amazing characterization is Friday Night Lights. Again you have these kids who might be easily categorized on some shows, but the writers on this show dig deeper. Tyra, who comes across as the bad girl, is actually a girl who wants to get out of the small town of Dillon, where her sister is a stripper and her mother is man-hungry and aimless. Watching Tyra’s struggle to bring up her GPA and get accepted into college was a terrific arc. Then there’s Tim Riggins, a terrific football player, a ladies’ man. Only he’s also an alcoholic, being raised by his brother because his parents have washed their hands of him. But my favorite character is Matt Saracen. Matt is a sophomore when the series starts, and he’s thrust into the spotlight when the star quarterback is injured in the first episode. Matt’s not prepared for the pressure, and we find out the reason when we follow him home and see he’s the sole caretaker of his grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s, while his dad is deployed in Iraq. Throughout the course of the series, we see him adjust to the pressures, and sometimes the pressure crushes him. But the viewer roots for him to triumph despite the odds against him.

I can only hope the characters in my books are as layered as the ones I admire on television.

Visit Emma Jay on her blog.

Monday Spotlight: Emma Jay

Many authors have inspired me to write over the course of my life. From the pioneer life of Laura Ingalls Wilder to the Trixie Belden mysteries by Kathryn Kenny, to the worlds of Madeleine L’Engel and the small town, old fashioned stories of Lois Lenski, I always lived stories. I was part of the Bob White Club, I went to school with Laura Ingalls.

The part that always drew me, though, was the romance. Trixie and Jim had mutual respect though Trixie got them into scrape after scrape (and was only 14 when the series started!) Laura had a quiet courtship with Almanzo, but who could forget him coming to get her from her teaching position during a blizzard?

As an adult, I came to romance after I got out of college. It’s hard to believe that I used to have to go look for books, that I didn’t have shelves of them waiting to be read. Early on, in the early 90s, historicals were my thing. Karen Robards and Catherine Coulter were my first gloms. I couldn’t tell you who my first contemporary author was, but I soon scarfed up Virginia Kantra and Karen Templeton, Jennifer Crusie and Nora Roberts. I loved the communities these authors built, the relationships the hero and heroine had with other characters in the story. That gives characters so much more depth and makes them so real. I have a disadvantage there, in the stories I’ve written so far. I mean, how much community do you want in an erotic romance?

Visit Emma Jay on her blog.