Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why We Love Homoerotic Images? By Michael M and BLMorticia

MM: Greetings friends! We’re happy to be at Sweet and Sexy Diva's today. Am I a diva? o.0 Thanks for letting us join you. I’m Michael Mandrake and with me is my fellow muse, BLMorticia, the author of the Silver Star on All Romance, My Lieutenant. Great job BL!

BL: *smiles* Thanks M, I’m very excited people wanted to read a gay interracial romance. It’s my sweetest piece yet. Just the beginning folks. *laughs*

MM: Oh yeah, and she means that too. Okay so, what BL and I want to talk about is the love of homoerotic pictures. The one we’re showing above is a photo-shopped job of Sam and Dean Winchester from Supernatural. Now, as some of you know, they are brothers in the show.

BL: Very hot brothers. *licks lips*

MM: Yes, and many fans have wrote stories called slash about these two despite the fact they aren’t in love.

BL: Yeah, people need not to get upset. Slash has been around a long time, starting all the way back with Star Trek, Spock and Kirk. This is nothing new. If you surf the web, you’ll find drawings of slash or same sex pairing pics with those two as well as plenty other so called characters on shows together in sexy poses. It’s all make believe, no harm is it?

MM: No, it’s a hobby and perfectly normal. The homoerotic pictures and or stories is how Sharita got her start in writing m/m. If she hadn’t done that, she’d probably still be doing het stories and I or Rawiya wouldn’t have been created.

BL: Yes, that’s true but I was around so we would’ve caught on. The fact that Sharita is curious about sex and loves to write about it would’ve eventually made her look into it. You know Michael, some people think there’s a problem with these pics and or stories. Sharita actually wrote some slash in the pop music fandoms, RPF, Real Person Fanfic. A lot of the m/m writers start in some part of fanfiction and because of the comments they receive on their writing it gives them confidence to move on and write for a living if the passion is there. Pictures like the one below…

BL: Of Simon Lebon and John Taylor from Duran Duran spur on writers to make their imaginations go. We gain a lot of inspiration from what we see and hear. Sharita got her start looking at pics of her faves and putting them in a romantic situation. No harm in this, it isn’t sold, no profit. Only for fun. Why do you think people have an issue with this?

MM: Not sure, BL. Creativity breeds imagination. You need things to feed that. No one has made the assumptions that the two men are gay. Blasphemy *laughs* It’s all in the author’s mind, totally harmless. Certainly, the picture can spark an idea by just looking at it. It didn’t have to be them either, it could’ve been any photo of any two men.

BL: Yeah and people are up in arms about it, not sure why. We need something to fuel that fire. What about a single picture of a man in a sexy pose?

MM: Ooh and we still have no clue who this man is. Yes, it is lovely. Can we do a search on him, maybe put an APB out for his arrest for being too hot? *laughs*

BL: *laughs* Mike, I didn’t know you had it in you.

MM: Oh yeah, I do. The sight of a beautiful man makes this old man go wonky. Anyway, it invokes an emotion a feeling and I love looking his body, only being partially covered. However, if it were just out there and has been on our Google page, people have an issue with it, why?

BL: because he’s half naked and we all know that half nude men cause a problem. *laughs* I honestly don’t get it. It’s the human body. His cock isn’t showing, only a small amount of pubic hair, oh and guess what folks, this is an ad for the necklace he’s wearing. *grins* Even in advertising, people know that a little “homoerotic” *raises fingers in quotes* may catch people’s attention. OMG, isn’t that awful? Let’s lock up our children! I don’t have any thank God!

MM: Many do though and they find this offensive. Even the Sam and Dean one may be considered to be an issue because of their relationship in the show.

BL: Hey compared to some I’ve seen that’s tame.

MM: Oh yeah, I’m in agreement. We’ll close this discussion by saying we love the pictures because they get the juices flowing.

BL: *BL smacks MM* Hey that’s my line!

MM: Ow, but really. *rubs shoulder* It does, in a creators mind, it gets the imagination going and that single pic might turn into a masterpiece on paper regardless if its FF or a real story. No one is harmed, burned, no offense really.

BL: If you don’t like it move on!

MM: Exactly. The internet and media in general are powerful tools. Pictures of homoerotic nature have been around forever and will be as long as the world stands. Get over your dislike for it because it’s here to stay.

BL: And we’re so glad they are. Lord knows I don’t wanna write about het relationships all the time. *laughs*

MM: I know I don’t. Thanks to SNSD for allowing us to ramble. BL and I have new releases out. The Silver Star My Lieutenant from Rebel and my Power of Muse and Inspiration from XOXO. Thanks to Angel for allowing us to be here.

BL: Yeah thanks lovely people! Go find some homoerotic pics and enjoy. Buy our books!

Now available at Amazon, ARE and Bookstrand

Blurb: Nathan Ellerby's apartment has been ransacked by his ex who didn't like the fact Nathan dumped him. Trouncing through the debris uttering a string of obscenities, Nathan's shocked to see Lieutenant Bryant Duncan at his door claiming he's already caught the offender. Sensing an instant connection, when Nathan finds out Bryant's divorced and he's straddling the fence between being gay or bisexual, Nathan finds himself in a quandary.
 Although the Lieutenant does everything in his power to prove to Nathan he's worthy, Nathan is afraid to lower his defenses which leaves both men wondering if Nathan will allow love into his life even through his doubts.

A very tall, dark, and handsome bald headed man was standing there with a pearly white smile.

“Hey, listen, I caught the guys that went through your things.” He smiled and nodded.

“Seriously?” I opened up the door slowly only to lock eyes with the most, gorgeous man I’d ever laid eyes on.


He  moistened his lips. “Hey, I’m new to the building. My name’s Bryant Duncan.” He put out his hand.

A black Irishman?

I accepted it. His hands were warm but kind of rough just the way I like them. That moment, his skin on top of mine sent heat to my groin. I took a whiff of his cologne. “Nice to meet you, Mr…”

“Call me Bryant, please,” he interrupted me. “Like I was sayin’, I saw the bastards going through your place. When they saw me, they tried to get away but, I called the cops once I got the building security to come up and help detain them.”

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fiction or Fact?

I ran across an interesting quote about writing – “We are all the heroes of our own stories.” It was credited to Anonymous. I don’t know who this Anonymous guy was, but he sure got around, judging from the vast number of quotes, stories and songs with his name on them.

How much of you or your life makes its way into what you write? I try to include some of my own beliefs and attitudes in my characters, especially the heroes and heroines in my adventure stories. When I’m developing a villain, I may think back to some dark moment where I did something I really shouldn’t have. More often, I’ll recall something rotten that someone did to me and use that for inspiration.

I like to use life experiences whenever I can, especially things that happen when I travel. A few years ago I was vacationing in The Florida Keys and a charter boat skipper told me the most outrageous story I’d ever heard. He swore it was true, but I chalked it up to the Gin he was swilling. It might have been urban legend, but I found a way to work it into one of my books.

I’ve discovered that including personal experiences can be like walking a tightrope over a pool of piranhas. I’m careful not to make things too accurate, lest someone take offense. I once got reamed by a friend who swore that one of my unsavory characters was based on a mutual acquaintance. I pointed out the disclaimer in the front of the book but she still insisted I was a sub-human species because I trashed one of her BFF’s in print. The fact that I was angry with the person I modeled the character on had nothing to do with any supposed similarities. Riiiight!

One of my romances, Anywhere the Heart Goes, turned out to be roughly seventy-percent autobiographical. It’s about a man and a woman, both divorced and not eager to get back into a committed relationship, who meet courtesy of two friends and decide they want to be together – sort of. A lifetime of navigating the treacherous waters known as dating and marriage provided me with a wealth of personal anecdotes and experiences to draw upon. To paraphrase the late Jack Webb, “The names were changed to protect the guilty.” Fortunately for me, none of my exes read that book – or if they did, I haven’t received any suspicious-looking packages. Yet.

So which do you prefer – fiction or fact?

Tim Smith is an award-winning author whose books range from romantic thriller to contemporary erotic romance. He is also a freelance photographer. His latest romantic thriller, "Memories Die Last," was recently released by Extasy Books. More information about his work can be found at his website, www.timsmithauthor.com.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hello Sweet and Sexy Diva's an Dudes,

Today we have the first quiz of who will you be. Are you a Carla or are you the fiery Wrestling Romance legend Layla? The twin that changed the Street Hip Hop World Marie. Find out today. All you need is a piece of paper, pen and the quiz. Tell your friends today to see if you the Shetlands Immortals woman Carla or if your the heart breaker Layla. Marie the woman that is full of determination and guts. 

Shetlands Immortals Carla Vs A Different Life Layla Vs Marie's Tales Marie

Q1: What do you prefer? 
(A) Chocolate                      (L)
(B)  Pizza                             (M)
(C) Salted Meats                  (C)

Q2: Would you rather date? 
(A) Smooth talking, curly haired hunk      (M)
(B) Man of Legends                                   (C)
(C)  The Wrestling heavyweight champion   (L)

Q3: Which one of the following is more you? 
(A)  Filled to the brim with magical powers. (C)
(B) Full of Dance and Passion.                      (M)
(C) Full of romantic words and love.             (L)

Q4: What is your dream date? 
(A) I don't have one                                        (C)
(B) Beach full of candles and chocolate         (M)
(C) Tearing up a nightclub with your dance moves (L)

Q5: What situation would you more like be in? 
(A) Fighting evil                                                                                    (C)
(B)  Dancing and teaching everyone what a Street Dancer really is    (M)
(C)  Be doing run ins for WWIC.                                                           (L)

Q6: What is the hardest thing you would face? 
(A) Having to chose between three men                                              (C)
(B) Letting a man into your heart again.                                             (M)
(C) Fighting for your life and for the good in the world                      (L)

Now that you have done the quiz, take a piece of a paper and count up the letters next to your answers. If you got all (C)'s then your Carla from Shetlands Immortals, if you got mostly (M)'s then your Marie from Marie's Tales, if you got mostly (L)'s then your A Different Life's Layla. 

I hope you enjoyed the quiz, come back next week to see, who your perfect man is. Whether its Thor from A Highlander Norse Gods, Duncan from Shetlands Immortals or Will from A Different Life. 

To read more about the books the characters of this quiz was in, then please click on the links below to take you directly to the Amazon pages for them. 

  • Shetlands Immortals   Carla
  • A Different Life's              Layla
  • Marie's Tales                    Marie
Thank you for coming out and I hope to see you back on the 13th. 

Kristal McKerrington

Friday, November 25, 2011

Interview with N.J. Walters!!

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.


Once upon a time N.J. had the idea that she would like to quit her job at the bookstore, sell everything she owned, leave her hometown, and write romance novels in a place where no one knew her. And she did. Two years later, she went back to the bookstore and her hometown and settled in for another seven years.

One day she gave notice at her job on a Friday morning. On Sunday afternoon, she received a tentative acceptance for her first erotic romance novel, Annabelle Lee, and life would never be the same.


Ellora’s Cave Publishing:

Katie’s Art of Seduction-Awakening Desires, Book 1 (E-book) & (Print)

Erin’s Fancy-Awakening Desires, Book 2 (E-book) & (Print)

Capturing Carly-Awakening Desires, Book 3 (E-book)

Craving Candy-Awakening Desires, Book 4 (E-book)

Enticements-(Print—Contains Capturing Carly and Craving Candy)

Jackson’s Jewel-Awakening Desires, Book 5 (E-book) & (Print)

MacNamara’s Lady-Awakening Desires, Book 6 (E-book)

Harker’s Journey-Dalakis Passion, Book 1 (E-book)

Lucian’s Delight-Dalakis Passion, Book 2 (E-book)

Dalakis Embrace- (Print—Contains Harker’s Journey and Lucian’s Delight)

Stefan’s Salvation-Dalakis Passion, Book 3 (E-book) & (Print)

Eternal Brothers-Dalakis Passion, Book 4 (E-book)

Endless Chase-Dalakis Passion, Book 5 (E-book)

Annabelle Lee-Summerville Secrets, Book 1 (E-book)

Heat Wave-Summersville Secrets, Book 2 (E-book)

Summersville Heat- (Print—Contains Annabelle Lee and Heat Wave)

Lily Blossoms-Summersville Secrets, Book 3 (E-book)

Christina’s Tapestry-Tapestries, Book 1 (E-book)

Bakra Bride-Tapestries, Book 2 (E-book)

Tapestry Dreams- (Print—Contains Christina’s Tapestry and Bakra Bride)

Woven Dreams-Tapestries, Book 3 (E-book) & (Print)

Threads of Destiny-Tapestries, Book 4 (E-book)

Embroidered Fantasies, Book 5 (E-book)

Embracing Silence-Project Alpha, Book 1 (E-book)

Have Mercy-Project Alpha, Book 2 (E-book)

Sweet Charity-Project Alpha, Book 3 (E-book)

Beyond Shadows-(E-book)

Out of Shadows-(E-book)

Seeking Charlotte-Hearts of Fire, Book 3 (E-book)

Entwined Hearts-Hearts of Fire, Book 5 (E-book)

Amethyst Dreams-Companion book to Amethyst Moon (E-book)

Amethyst Moon-Birthstone Series (E-book)

Three Swords, One Heart-Torrid Tarot Series (E-book) & (Print)

Anastasia’s Style-Valentine Vixens Quickie (E-book)

Candy Caresses-(Print Anthology containing the Valentine Vixens Quickie, Anastasia’s Style)

Drakon’s Treasure-Autumn Animalia Quickie (E-book)

Feral Fixation-(Print Anthology containing the Autumn Animalia Quickie, Drakon’s Treasure)

Jessamyn’s Christmas Gift-White Hot Holidays Quickie (E-book)

White Hot Holidays 3-(Print Anthology containing my White Hot Holiday Quickie, Jessamyn’s Christmas Gift)

Lady’s Minstrel (E-book)

Lassoing Lara (E-book)

Tempting Tori (E-book) (Audio Book)

Tracking Talia (E-book)

Unmasking Kelly (E-book)

Over Time, Under Him-(Pocket Books Print Anthology containing EC Quickie Unmasking Kelly)

Trick or Treat-(Pocket Books Print Anthology containing EC Quickie Unmasking Kelly)

Ellora’s Cavemen: Legendary Tails IV (featuring “A Love Eternal”) (E-book) & (Print)

Ellora’s Cavemen: Dreams of the Oasis IV (featuring “Shadows Stir”) (E-book) & (Print)

Ellora’s Cavemen: Seasons of Seduction III (featuring “Sunshine for a Vampire”) (E-book) & (Print)

Ellora’s Cavemen: Jewels of the Nile IV (featuring “Moon Magic”) (E-book) & (Print)

Samhain Publishing:

Discovering Dani-Jamesville, Book 1 (E-book) & (Print)

The Way Home-Jamesville, Book 2 (E-book) & (Print)

The Return of Patrick O’Rourke-Jamesville, Book 3 (E-book) & (Print)

The Seduction of Shamus O’Rourke-Jamesville, Book 4 (E-book) & (Print)

A Legal Affair-Jamesville, Book 5 (E-book)

By The Book-Jamesville, Book 6 (E-book) & (Print)

Past Promises-Jamesville, Book 7 (E-book)

Jamesville Affairs-(Print—Contains A Legal Affair and Past Promises)

Alexandra’s Legacy-Legacy, Book 1 (E-book) & (Print)

Isaiah’s Haven-Legacy, Book 2 (E-book) & (Print)

Legacy Found-Legacy, Book 3 (E-book)

A Touch of Magick-Spells, Secrets & Seductions, Book 1 (E-book) & (Print)

Dreams of Seduction-Spells, Secrets & Seductions, Book 2 (E-book)

Love in Flames-Spells, Secrets & Seductions, Book 3 (E-book)

Carina Press:

The Gift of Shayla (E-book)

Running Press:

The Mammoth Book of Hot Romance (featuring “Blind Date”) (Print)

BLURB: The Gift of Shayla

Adam Lancaster has been in love with Rob McKeith—and attracted to Rob’s wife, Shayla—for years, but he fears their friendship would be over if they knew the truth. So he’s thrilled when his secret fantasy becomes reality and the couple offers him a very special gift: a sensual Christmas Eve in their bedroom…

How do you usually come up with a story idea?  Dreams?  Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations?  Newpaper?

All of the above. lol Seriously, ideas come from everywhere. I’ll get ideas at the strangest times and jot them down, otherwise I’d never remember them. I usually don’t dream ideas, but I will get them sometimes when I’m lying in bed almost asleep. Of course, I have to get up then and write them down. I’ve gotten ideas from magazines too. It’s usually something I see that sparks an idea and sends me off on a tangent.

Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?

Thankfully, I haven’t run out of ideas yet. But if I have a day when I don’t feel like writing I’ll read a good book. Nothing like a great read by a favorite author to make you want to get back at the keyboard and do your best.

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

My husband is my first reader and critique partner. He’s the one I go to if I want to talk out ideas.

What importance do you place on writing workshops?  What workshops would you recommend to us?

I’d love to do some writing workshops, but never have, so I can’t help you with recommendations.  I have read some wonderful books on writing including: On Writing by Stephen King, The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman and Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life edited by Barnaby Conrad and Monte Schulz. There are plenty of great books out there on the craft of writing.

What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations?  How did this person help you?

My husband is my greatest supporter. For years, he encouraged me to write and he continues to support my career in every way possible. He’s the best!

Have you ever used songs for inspiration?

I have used songs for inspiration. Love Song for a Vampire by Annie Lennox and Bring Me to Life by Evanescence were used to inspire my Dalakis vampire novels. And Never Again by Nickelback was a huge inspiration for Craving Candy.

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?

I don’t play music when I write. I’m one of those people who need silence when I write. I find music to distracting.

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?      

I’m a romance reader at heart. It’s what I love to read and what I love to write. The wonderful thing about romance is there are so many subgenres that I can read from: contemporary, historical, romantic suspense, paranormal, etc… If it has an influence on my writing it’s that it makes me want to improve, to constantly challenge myself to do better with each book.

I also read nonfiction and self help books, whatever catches my interest.

What is your process from idea to first draft?

The characters always come to me first. I’ll start thinking about them, who they are and what their stories are. From there, I’ll get ideas for the plot and possible scenes. Once I have the first scene mapped out in my head, I’ll start to write. I’m not a big plotter, but I do have an idea of what I want to do and where I’m going, as well as several major scenes I know I want to write. There are always surprises along the way.

Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer?  Has another writer ever come to your aide?  How?

I encourage writers who are struggling to continue to reach for their dreams, but I’ve never read a manuscript or offered suggestions to a writer unless it was someone I knew extremely well. Most authors will be helpful but don’t like to read manuscripts from unknown authors. There are too many potential minefields if they have ideas that are similar to some you have that you haven’t written yet.

The wonderful thing about the writing community is that it is filled with generous, giving people. I’ve made many friends and, on many occasions, they’ve offered advice and help with difficult situations. I’ve been very lucky.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?

Getting published. lol I’m very lucky to be able to make a living from my writing. I hope that never stops. But, even if it does, I’ll have always had this very special time.

If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money?  Would give any of it to charity?  If so, which one?

If I won the lottery I’d have hubby quit his job and buy a house so we could both write and enjoy life. I’d help out family, of course, and then I would look at charities, probably those close to home like food banks and women’s shelters. Those groups do a lot of good but are constantly underfunded.

What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?

Write what you love, don’t take rejection personally, and never give up.

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?

Hmm, tough question. I would say a bear. I love to hibernate in winter just like they do and I also love honey. Bears are strong and slow to anger, but when they do, watch out. Bears like to do their own thing and so do I.

If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?

That’s an interesting question because I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing. I love my job as a romance writer. Maybe I’d try teaching, taste tester for an ice cream company and travel writing.

If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?

I’m really not an adventurous soul. I’d rather be home than anywhere else. But if money wasn’t a problem, I would love to travel to England/Scotland/Ireland, as well as New England and New York.

What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?

I never want to write a hero that I couldn’t like. I love the wounded, brooding, alpha hero but never want to cross that line that makes him someone I couldn’t respect.

As for the heroine, I never want to write one that is TSTL (too stupid to live). I love writing strong women who are growing and overcoming problems and have the courage to open themselves up to love even though it isn’t always easy to do.

If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?

I’d eliminate fear because that’s the root of most of the problems we face in the world. Then I’d throw all our resources behind saving the planet. If we don’t do that then nothing else matters. No air, no water, no life.

If could have a super power for a day, what would it be?  Why?

Only a day? That makes it a bit more difficult. I’d love to be able to travel in the blink of an eye so I could visit ever place I ever wanted to see.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Interview with Rose Anderson!!

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.

Dreamscape and Hermes Online, both published through Siren-Bookstrand.

Have you ever fallen so deeply in love with the characters in a romance novel that thoughts of them linger long after the last page is turned? Have you ever been so completely immersed in a love scene that you’d swear you’ve just been kissed or more? Meet my strong, confident heroines and be seduced by compelling heroes you’ll wish were there beside you. Come see how their lives intertwine and through their stories discover love profound. From Hermes Online and Dreamscape, to the passionate stories that follow, I hope to sweep you away on a sensual tide of memorable story-telling.

How do you usually come up with a story idea?  Dreams?  Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations?  Newspaper?
First off, thank you for having me Tina. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your interview.  :)
I keep what I call my idea book, a small pocket notebook, in my purse for inspirational moments. Any idea gets jotted down when it comes. One might pop into my head at a stop light when my mind is chatting away with itself. Or I could be enjoying the company of friends and the conversation captures my imagination and momentarily takes my mind elsewhere.  You can say I sort of eavesdrop, on the world around me and myself!

Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?
My husband and friends will occasionally say, “You know what you should write…?” and their enthusiasm for their idea helps stir my imagination.  It sounds odd to say that, but it’s not so much the concept they think will be a good fit, but rather it’s their enthusiasm that does it. When my muse is off inspiring others and the mojo is lagging, I’ll generally read one of my own books or short stories from the beginning. Writing is such a mutable thing. Rereading my own work will immediately send me into mental rewrites. When my mojo is jazzed up again, I’ll move back to my work in progress.

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?
I fell into a small author’s group the month after my first novel released and they’ve been an amazing resource and safety net for me. I don’t know how I managed this other than it was certainly a case of right place right time. I’d read everything I could get my hands on about the publishing world and discovered that’s not such a good idea because there are so many conflicting pieces of information out there. I was painfully lost. Most of these authors have several books under their belts and I’ve learned so much from their wealth of experience. I hope to meet them in person one day.

What importance do you place on writing workshops?  What workshops would you recommend to us?
I’ve only had one and I found it useful in that it unexpectedly gave me the topic for my current work in progress. I’m embarrassed to say, after that initial lightbulb went off over my head, I kind of dropped the class. I was too busy writing a book! Twice I’ve tried to take a creative writing class at my local community college and both times the class was canceled. I consider myself an intuitive writer as far as creativity goes, but boy I could use a little polish on my Chicagoese grammar. I no longer live in the city, but having grown up there devils my writing from time to time. People would laugh if they knew I took pains not to say things like “where’s my keys?” instead of “where are my keys?” This thing is, I know these little gaffs are not proper speech but they slip in so easily that I’ll have to read my work aloud to find them. It’s a pain in the butt!
As far as workshops go, I’d really love to see a formula broken down. I’m not a formula writer myself, but I’ve read many such novels over the years. I hear of authors cranking out a new book every quarter because they use formulae. I’d like to see how that’s done.  I’d love to see a workshop on shoestring promotion too.

What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations?  How did this person help you?
My husband first and foremost. He’s an amazing essayist and can turn a phrase like no one’s business. When personal computers were just becoming common, we discovered the theatrical world of online role play. And what a stage it was! At any given hour of any given day one might converse with a shape-shifting shaman, a knight of the realm, or a barbarian slave girl with jingling bells on her ankles. Often misspelled words hastily typed out in the chat rooms described scenes and appearances equivalent to anything played at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. We had fun with it.
Word lover that I am, I found I had a knack for crafting detailed fantasy worlds. At my husband’s urging I entered a contest he’d found and it happened to be for erotic fiction. I never expected it to go anywhere, but I did like to dazzle my mate so I gave it my best. To my surprise, I won first place. Up till then, I’d only read romance and written children’s stories.

Have you ever used songs for inspiration?

I’ve used Celtic music for my large, four-years-in-the-making, series.  And one of my characters loves Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma.

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?

I generally write in silence. For me, too much external stimulus coming into my creative sphere is a distraction.

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?
I’m an informational reader but go on these fiction binges once a year. When the binge happens I’ll plow through everything from Harry Potter to Sherlock Holmes and I won’t stop until the need for fiction subsides. I’ve found recently that too many romance novels mess with my own style. I take romance in smaller doses now whereas before I’d read every book Kathleen Woodiwiss, Judith McNaught, or Johanna Lindsey ever wrote in one long stretch.

What is your process from idea to first draft?
I’m a linear pantzer! As an intuitive composer, I literally walk forward into the story and keep on walking until it tells me it’s done. Along the way I find doors and windows open and give me direction. People appear from time to time to give me options. Being without an outline does occasionally have its sticky points. I’ve had to eliminate more than one character who innocently stopped by to borrow a cup of sugar. It’s weird how that works. I really don’t know where those people come from! I compare it to the TV series Happy Days, where Ritchie’s older brother Chuck just stops coming to the dinner table one day and is never mentioned again for the duration of show.

Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer?  Has another writer ever come to your aide?  How?
Like many publishers out there, Siren-Bookstrand has a group page everyone can communicate through. Every week new authors come on and introduce themselves. I’ve tried to be helpful where I can because I remember what it was like to have no idea what to do next. I’ve dedicated my blog to the entire author journey too. Anyone interested can find out what I’ve learned since I stepped onto this path. Like I mentioned above, I belong to a great author’s group. We all help each other and are very supportive in any area. Again, I got lucky.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
Oh just being in print! More than twenty years ago, I wrote and illustrated books for my children. Many years later, I wrote a youth novel. Unfortunately I didn’t publish any of them. That’s going to change in 2012! I have a little wherewithal as a writer now. I know I can do this. With my brand new backbone in place, I plan to self-publish them all. :)

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’d buy a piece of land for my husband to retire on and build an energy efficient home to grow old with him in. But with the rest, I’d create an endowment. Each year I’d send grants to people doing good things for the environment, for animals, and for people. Right now I support the NDRC -- The Natural Resources Defense Council. They’ve done great things to protect wildlife and wild places by taking offenders to court. I also support Heifer International and Oxfam. I give when I can and I’d love to be able to give more. For anyone interested, the Animal Rescue Site is a click site that donates money to shelters and there’s nothing for you to do but click on the site once each day. Free Rice is a similar site that donates bowls of rice to the world’s hungry.

What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?
They should keep in mind that not all of their books will be a good fit with every reader out there. I’d say not to take it too hard when the inevitable poor or snarky review pops up. Books are no less works of art than masterpieces in oil or stone. So new writers, please remember that reviews are simply opinions. Revel in the good ones because they feel great. If you’re lucky the bad ones will come with constructive criticism and that’s not really a negative thing. Once problems are out in the open and you know what they look like, they can be avoided in your future writing.
Above all, don’t let nasty reviews get you down. If they have nothing of value to impart and are simply mean-spirited, consider them to be the power plays they’re intended to be and don’t waste valuable time thinking about them. You have writing to do! I read this comment once: Books outlast their deriders. That’s an interesting thought, eh?

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?
Wow, this is honestly something I have never contemplated before. I love all animals and my house is full of creatures that have blessed me by sharing their lives with mine. I’d say my twelve-year-old Labrador retriever is my mascot. I have chronic health issues and she looks after me. She’s joyful and loving, protective, loyal, friendly, funny and playful and has an amazing capacity to understand what you’re talking about. You’d have to see it to believe it. She has the largest vocabulary I’ve ever known a dog to have. It breaks my heart to see her graying muzzle and know one day not all that far in the future, she’ll leave. I’d know I’ve done right by the world if I managed to have half the qualities she has.
If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing

Science -- I’d be a research biologist to find cures for our ill planet. Music -- I’d be drummer with Mickey Hart or a folk singer. Philanthropist – I’d go all over the world and give my massive, self-sustaining, Scrooge McDuck zillions to worthy causes. ;)

If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?

I’d be a world traveler. I love architecture, especially ancient works on ground considered sacred by every group inhabiting the area through time. Early religions fascinate me.

What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?

I adore men and my appreciation comes through in the romantic way I craft them. They’re intelligent, capable, and confident. They’re also witty, brave, sensual, and have a presence. My hero knows how fortunate he is when my heroine returns his affection.

I like to create characters to identify with so my heroine is my hero’s soul mate, his equal in every way that matters. My heroines have all the same attributes and they have a great sense of humor too. Yes, she’s the loveliest woman he’s ever seen, but she so much more and he recognizes and appreciates it. As a result, he’s drawn to her like the proverbial moth to flame.

If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?

I was the helpless bystander watching two beloved sisters die to catastrophic diseases. I would see terrible diseases cured. If I could, I’d heal the earth’s ecosystem.

If could have a super power for a day, what would it be?  Why?

Oh, definitely time travel.  I’d go back in time and change things that have done nothing but set humanity back. I’d correct things that never should have occurred like the burning of the Library at Alexandria. I’d correct the series of events that took woman from her rightful place beside man and made her his property. I suspect if that were possible there wouldn’t have been wars. Greed would have no footing. And suffering in all of its forms for man and animal would end.

Dreamscape Blurb:

Unable to deny his own translucence, Dr. Jason Bowen determines his lack of physical substance could only mean one thing—he’s a ghost. Murdered more than a century before, Jason haunts his house and ponders the treachery that took his life. When Lanie O’Keefe arrives with plans to renovate her newly purchased Victorian mansion, Jason discovers, ghost or not, he’s still very much a man.

Despite its derelict condition and haunted reputation, Lanie couldn’t be happier with her new home, but then she has no idea a spirit follows her every move throughout the day and shares her captivating warmth at night. Jason soon discovers he can travel through Lanie’s dreams and finds himself reliving the days before his murder with Lanie by his side. It took one hundred and twenty years for love to find them, but there’s that insurmountable little matter of Jason being dead.

Hermes Online Blurb:
Imagine if you will a story begun in the halls of Mount Olympus long before this modern tale was conceived. It was a time when the god Hermes flew on his winged sandals and carried messages from the gods to the mortals below. And between that time and this, couriers became postmen and handwritten letters became bytes. It is said the gods still speak to those who listen…

Left bruised and brokenhearted after a cruel breakup, Vivienne Bennet finds herself mired in a world of self-doubt. To her surprise, she receives an email that challenges her to rediscover the sensual woman she once was. Together Vivienne and the enigmatic man known only as S embark upon the world of anonymous Internet communication where suggestive emails lead to erotic chat, where cybersex leads to Skype, and C2C sends both into the arms of a love they’d believed lost forever.