Secret Love, just published in January
The Reyes Family Romances:
Never Too Old For The Game Of Love
Recipe For Love
Love By Design
Analysis Of Love
Prescription For Love (free download on Smashwords.com)
Bio: I have been reading since before I was in kindergarten. I always had stories in my mind and characters "talking", but I thought everyone did, so I never mentioned it. I have written short stories, but never sent them anywhere until recently, though I have had many essays published in different venues. Now with 7 books published and more to come, my long-suffering husband is getting used to me spending hours at my laptop. In fact he bought me a second ergonomically-designed chair when the first one broke. My kids think it's funny that Mom writes "smut". Husband likes to read it, as do my close gal pals and some relatives.
How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newpaper?
Many of my ideas come from dreams. I wake up, concentrate on remembering as much of it as I can, then I let it "germinate" in my mind until I'm ready to write it. I have some stories started without titles on my laptop...others I don't write anything until the story arc is complete and I know where to start. Sometimes I get ideas from things I read in the paper, like when I read that as electric cars become more common, we will have to start watching for them because they don't make the kinds of sounds that gas cars do. Since I had started to write about a blind hero in Analysis Of Love, suddenly I knew what was going to happen to him at some point. It didn't until the sequel , Love Therapy, but it became a crucial plot point.
What is your process from idea to first draft?
First I try to think up the whole story arc in my mind, but I don't think of it as an outline...just a direction. I think of what the characters are going to be saying to each other...imagine scenes and "listen" as they speak what is in their hearts. What I like the best is when the sex scenes are what I woke up with...those are my favorite kinds of dreams!
Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?
I ask my husband to help me with some "research"! He LOVES that part!
Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?
I don't have one.
What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?
I have never gone to a writing workshop.
What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?
My late Mom, because she always thought that everything I did was wonderful, so if I was to ever write a book, it would be magnificent just because I did it. And my late Dad, because it was the trauma of dealing with my grief when he passed on and left me in charge of Mom who had dementia, that inspired me to create some happy endings for myself, since I felt besieged by emotions that were difficult to deal with.
Have you ever used songs for inspiration?
Oh definitely. In Secret Love, there are 2 instances where a song figures prominently into the action. And even the title of Never Too Old For The Game Of Love, is a tribute to that song that Michelle Branch sang with Santana's guitar riffs accompanying her.
Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?
Unfortunately for me, I have to have silence when I write. Since I have 3 of my 4 grown children still in the house, and each has their own TV and computer in their rooms upstairs, I have to stay up very late to get some time when their noise isn't distracting me. I have noise-canceling headphones, but they hurt my ears after a while. Fortunately, I love to stay up late and feel most creative after midnight...unfortunately, I sub in high schools so sometimes when the phone rings at 5:30am, I groan knowing how tired I'll be all day.
Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?
Yes. I write contemporary erotic romance, but I like to read paranormal erotic romance. I don't imagine sci-fi plots or paranormals when I'm writing. I'm fascinated by the interaction between men and women trying to understand each other while their hormones are raging insistently. I try very hard to create realistic men... since most of the friends I'm still in touch with from years ago are men that's not too difficult. Side note: reading other authors' sex scenes can often get me "in the mood" to write my own! (giggle, snort!)
Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?
I help many struggling writers who are high school students, and who discover that I'm an English teacher with a specialty in teaching writing and not "just a sub". They send me their papers on-line, and we discuss how they can improve them. The writers who have helped me out are my editors, especially Dave at Whiskey Creek Press, who makes very useful suggestions that I usually incorporate after thinking about it and realizing he is right!
What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
I've been published since April of 2009, but I just got my first-ever fan e-mail! I was so thrilled I immediately got her permission to put it onto my blog! I'm grateful that she took the time to let me know she enjoyed my writing.
If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?
I would first help my 4 kids finish getting their college degrees, since as I've told them, it will allow for them to be laid off from a better class of jobs when their employers decide to outsource. And I'd buy a cabin in the north woods for husband and me, by a lake for him to do some fishing.
Then I'd give some to the American Diabetes Association, because my only brother and my oldest son have type 1, and my dream is that someday they will both be able to let their fingertips heal and throw away their needles. I'd also give some to the Alzheimers Association, because it was excruciating to watch my Mom, the woman I loved more than anyone else in the world, disintegrate before my eyes over many years.
What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?
Write a lot. Write what interests you and hope readers will find it interesting also. Read a lot also, since the flow of words into your brain is like doing "neurobics", or aerobics for your neurons.
If you could choose an animal for a mascot, what animal would it be? What do you admire about this animal? Do you feel you have qualities similar to this animal? If so, what are they?
A wolf, because my husband told me they mate for life, as we have. I'm protective of my family and would do anything for my kids, so loyalty is one of my strongest traits. And not having to worry about shaving my legs anymore would be a pleasure!
If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?
My dream career is one I seem to unable to get anymore because of my age: high school English teacher. I love teenagers...I love their energy, their enthusiasm, and their level of devotion to causes combined with the fragility of their egos. I want to help as many of them as I can to find their own voices. I tell them they all have something to say, what they need me for is to help them learn how to express their ideas, which in turn will help them organize their thoughts and understand themselves better.
I can't imagine any career that would be more rewarding than that.
If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?
I'm kind of boring, I fear. I don't have any big ambitions to travel or jump out of planes. I'd like to go on a cruise with my husband to Alaska, but not for the adventure...just to see how beautiful the country is...maybe do some camping in Canada also.
What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?
My heroes have to be in touch with their own emotions and willing to make themselves vulnerable to the woman they want to spend the rest of their lives with...even if they don't share that part of themselves with anyone else. To me, a secure man who knows who he is and what he wants, is truly sexy. His looks and career/money are secondary.
My heroines are all alpha females, who are independent women busy living their own lives. They don't need any man just to have a man...they can get as many of those as they want, when they want them! But they have to be forced by the hero to realize that it's time to commit to just one man.
If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?
1-Every child born into this world would have at least one parent who felt as if the world revolved around that baby, and who would make any sacrifices to provide the love and affection that a human needs to grow up secure and whole.
2-All humans would truly live by the golden rule, so war would become obsolete and unnecessary, since to kill another human being would be seen as the atrocity that it is.
If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?
The ability to stop time for a while, so I could get more accomplished while the rest of the world was "stopped". I always seem to run out of hours in my day, and this way if I needed more time, I could get it whenever I needed it.
Sheena has spent 12 years working for a government agency so secret that she didn't even learn what it was called for a year! She enjoys the work, but is getting bored. She tries her usual cure; a new man. But something about this one is different; she develops feelings. And in her world, even having feelings is dangerous. Indulging them by falling in love can be deadly
She didn’t want him to hate her. She wanted him to continue to desire her, to seek new ways to pleasure her, but that wasn’t possible anymore. She’d received her summons. She had no choice but to go where she was told to go. And she had no explanation that she could possibly give him that would make him understand. So she had to pretend that all was well, then just leave.
He opened his eyes when he heard her sigh, which she hadn’t intended for him to hear. When he spoke his voice was a lazy drawl; it was the sound of a man filled with a supreme sense of satisfaction.
“What’s wrong, darlin’?”
She was overcome with memories of the long hours they’d spent enjoying each other, and the bodily lassitude they both felt afterwards…a total sense of physical well-being that she’d never felt before. Inwardly she cursed her summons, her job, her contract, and everything about her life, which suddenly felt suffocating and restrictive.
“Nothing,” she lied. “I was just admiring how gorgeous you are, and how much I love to look at you, clothed or unclothed, though we both know which one I like more!”
He eyed her silky lingerie. She’d slipped it on for making the connection with the agency in case they wanted to use the Skype screen.
He patted the space on the couch next to him.
“Then come and join me, and we can get naked again!”
She went over to perch on the side of the couch, not trusting herself to touch him yet.
“What did your director say?”
“Oh, same old shit,” he smiled at her. “They only have so much time here to finish the scenes. There’s only so much they can do with my body double. It’s going to cost a whole lot more money if they delay much longer, blah blah de blah blah…”
“So what did you tell him?” She asked, curiously.
“That they should take the extra money out of what they’re paying me and shut up about it!”
He smiled again.
“I told him I’d be in when I’m good and ready. And I may be good, though not as good as you are,” he leered at her, and kissed her fingertips. “But I’m certainly not ready to go back yet. I’m not done exploring the Kama Sutra with you! I’m sure we have at least a couple more positions we haven’t done yet.”
She could feel herself responding to him, almost automatically, and that in itself was unnerving to her. Instead of her being in charge around him, she was beginning to feel things despite herself...things that she wasn’t supposed to feel. Things that were dangerous for both of them. She had to regain control. She took a deep breath.