Chat & Giveaway with Faith Hunter

The newest installment in the Jane Yellowrock series is just a week away! And Faith Hunter is joining us today to answer the questions fans want to know and to share a copy of Death’s Rival. Please help me welcome her to the blog.

Q. Why hasn’t Jane gotten with Bruiser?

A. Rick and Bruiser and Leo. What a conundrum. Jane is a healthy, unrepressed female, who respects her body and her souls, so she will eventually pick at least one guy, but even I don’t know which guy(s) yet.

All the men are a big part of her life. Jane likes one guy (Rick) but she can’t have him. Her Beast likes another guy or two (Bruiser and Leo) so it’s hard to pick. And Beast assures Jane that, “Big-cats do not mate for life.” However, at this stage in her life, Jane doesn’t sleep around. She’s a little too uptight and reserved for that. But she is a sexual being. And men like her.

Q. What about Rick LaFleur is attractive to Jane?

A. Rick is free (or was until recently) and he is human (or was until recently) and he could have given his all to Jane, in a relationship where she would not have been used (as she surely would be with Leo) and will be first in his life (unlike with Bruiser who would be loyal to Leo). She wants to be first in a man’s life. Rick fights crime and understands the fact that Jane does so, as well, even if she is going about it via different route. They have a lot in common.

Q. You have graphic violence, but avoid graphic sex and cursing, an unusual choice that makes the books widely accessible. Why?

A. Oy. Lots of reasons. In no particular order: Emotional, but also physical violence, were part of my young home life. Dad taught me to shoot guns at age 12 in an outbreak of rabies in our rural county. As eldest I had to be ready to protect my brothers from rabid animals as well as human predators. Also, I was bullied in school because I was a Christian and had to stand up, without violence, to the bullies. In my heart-of-hearts, I wanted to bash the bullies, but I couldn’t, so I do on the pages I write. I have internal demons (my own spiritual but evil Beast) that I want to kill, and I kill it over and over on the page.

As to sex? LKH writes great sex. Never ever boring. And she never uses crass or popular names for body parts, making her sex read like poetry. Most written sex is boring after a while, IMHO, and hers is never boring! When I write sex it makes me laugh. Not what I wanted. I do however write good sexual tension, so I write to my strengths.

As to language: Language is a tool. If it brings in more readers then it is a good tool. If it pushes away even one reader then it is a bad tool. I can just as easily say, she cursed, or she swore. As long as I don’t overdo, no one misses the actual cuss words. And readers who would be offended by the words themselves are not offended and buy my books. It’s good business. And yes, I do cuss myself. But I am sparing with the use. It’s a tool to be wielded, not a crutch.

Q. Vampires, New Orleans. It’s been done before. How do you keep it fresh?

A. New Orleans is amazing. Every time I drive through I see something new that has been there all along. I literally ride with my head hanging out the window to capture the sights and smells, camera in hand. How can anyone not love NOLA? It is amazing! And it reinvents itself yearly, so fresh is easy.

Q. Will there be more books in this series?

A. After DEATH’S RIVAL, I have two more books under contract. After that, well, it all depends on the readers and how faithful they are to the series. Fans make or break books, and writers live on their joy and love of books. If fans buy books and tell their friends to buy books, then a writer gets contracts. So far, Jane Yellowrock is selling, If I do my job well and the fans like it well enough to do theirs, then yes. I can only hope!

So here are the deets on the new book:

Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker you don’t want to cross—especially if you’re one of the undead…

For a vampire killer like Jane, having Leo Pellisier as a boss took some getting used to. But now, someone is out to take his place as Master Vampire of the city of New Orleans, and is not afraid to go through Jane to do it. After an attack that’s tantamount to …a war declaration, Leo knows his rival is both powerful and vicious, but Leo’s not about to run scared. After all, he has Jane.

But then, a plague strikes, one that takes down vampires and makes their masters easy prey. Now, to uncover the identity of the vamp who wants Leo’s territory, and to find the cause of the vamp-plague, Jane will have to go to extremes…and maybe even to war.

Want to give it a try?  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. US only please. In the meantime, you can find Faith online and on social media:

Website:  http://www.faithhunter.net
Twitter:   http://twitter.com/HunterFaith
Facebook page for Faith:    http://www.facebook.com/official.faith.hunter

And if you haven’t tried the Jane Yellowrock series before, check out my review of book one: Skinwalker.
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Chat & Giveaway with Thea Harrison

Thea Harrison’s Elder Races books are an auto-buy for me. Her latest novella, Hunter’s Season, released this month and she is here chatting with me today.  Welcome, Thea!

Thea: Hi Jen! Thanks so much for having me on Red Hot Books. It’s a pleasure to visit with you again!

Jen: Tell us a little about Hunter’s Season.

Thea: Hunter’s Season is the fourth of the Elder Races novellas. It closes the story arc of the mysterious Tarot deck that began in True Colors (novella #1, Dec 2011, Samhain).
In Hunter’s Season, the story follows a secondary character from Devil’s Gate (novella #3, June 2012, Samhain), a Dark Fae assassin named Xanthe who works for the crown—who is Niniane Lorelle, Dark Fae Queen and the heroine of book two Storm’s Heart. More specifically, Xanthe works for Niniane’s lover and mate, Tiago, who heads Niniane’s security.

Xanthe has been in love with the Dark Fae Chancellor Aubrey Riordan for a long time. When he is severely injured in an assassination attempt, he and Xanthe are thrown together as Niniane orders her to look after and guard him while Tiago hunts down the would-be killers.

Hunter’s Season is an intimate story that focuses on two people who have each had a difficult time in their lives. It was very satisfying to give them a chance at happiness together.

Jen: You’ve said this is the last Elder Races novella. Talk to me about why you started writing these and what is prompting you to stop.

Thea: I have loved writing the Elder Races novellas because it has given me a chance to flesh out a very big world that I’ve been building, and to tell the stories of characters who wouldn’t otherwise get their own novel.

The novellas range from 26,000 – 35,000 words, which is a standard novella length for a mass market paperback collection, and I hope to see the stories distributed in print form at some point. (I’ll be sure to post about it if/when this occurs!)

The response has been really terrific, but I have noted that there have been several complaints about the novella length in readers’ reviews. Since the last thing that I want to do is foster reader frustration, I’ve decided to back off from writing more Elder Races novellas for now.

Jen: We’re getting closer to Lord’s Fall too! What made you decide to revisit Pia and Dragos?

Thea: I’m very excited at the Lord’s Fall upcoming November release. There’s so much of Pia and Dragos’s story to tell, so many unresolved issues that have built up over the last several books, AND more world building. When I pitched the idea to my editor Cindy Hwang, she was all for the idea! I hope to possibly follow Pia and Dragos again in later books as well. Hopefully I’ll get the chance!

Jen: Is it easier or more difficult to write for a couple with an established romantic history?

Thea: I don’t know that it’s easier or more difficult, but it is certainly different. When I started Lord’s Fall, putting Pia and Dragos back on felt like coming back to old friends. The characters were there and alive, and very much ready to have their moment again on center stage.

Jen: The love scenes in these books really knock it out of the park. What is your writing process like for hot sex? Is it hard to plot out the mechanics? And how do you pick your, er, terminology? LOL.

Thea: I do not know this terminology of which you speak. *blink blink*

More seriously, what I try to do with the sex scenes is the same thing that I try to do with every scene—write to the very best of my ability, infuse it with sincerity and emotion, and avoid clichés and overused terminology. I hope I manage to do that.

Sometimes plotting out the mechanics for the love scenes can be challenging. I can remember when I wrote the first love scene for Oracle’s Moon, I was quite excited at the opportunities for creativity that those two characters gave me.

Jen: How many more full length novels are you contracted for in the series? Is it still six? When would you know if we can have more?

Thea: Right now I am contracted for six, although my editor and I have talked about future story ideas. I’ll certainly post on my blog when I have any concrete news that I can share!

Jen: Which character intrigues you most in the Elder Races universe and why?

Thea: Okay, this answer is NOT a cop out, because it’s the truth. The characters that I’m writing at any given time intrigue me the most. I get to dig inside them and figure out how they tick, and share that with readers. It’s awesome fun.

Jen: Which character gets the most fan requests for his/her own book? Do you have a path for him/her in mind?

Thea: To date, the harpy Aryal has been getting the most fan requests for her book. (I’m finishing that story up now.) The runner up for fan requests is Graydon.

Jen: What is your number 1 most hated romance trope?

Thea: A hero who is such a dickhead to the heroine throughout most of the book, but then they end up together anyway. I can’t read that type of story.

Jen: Finally, who is the sexiest male PNR/UF hero (not one of yours) in your opinion? And what is the appeal?

Thea: Oh wow, there are so many great sexy heroes! I think my current favorite (I switch them out from time to time) is Lilith Saintcrow’s Tierce Japhrimel from her Dante Valentine series. Japhrimel has such power and devotion, and he shows genuine caring for the heroine.

Jen: Thanks so much for visiting the blog!!

Thea: Thank you again for having me!

~~~

For readers, who is the sexiest male PNR/UF hero (not one of mine) in your opinion?

Comment for a chance to the ebook of your choice from my Samhain backlist! If you already have the three novellas on my backlist, you can always give your prize to a friend!

Thea Harrison http://theaharrison.com/
Twitter @TheaHarrison
www.facebook.com|TheaHarrison

This contest is closed. The winner is Danielle.

Giveaway & Chat with Jocelynn Drake

I loved her Dark Days series. Now Jocelynn Drake is back with a new story to tell.  Today she is here to talk about her new Asylum series and its latest novella, The Asylum Tales: Trixie. Please help me welcome Jocelynn to the blog.

Jen: Give everyone a little rundown on the premise for the Asylum series.

Jocelynn: The Asylum Tales series focuses on the adventures of a former warlock-in-training turned tattoo artist, as he tries to help his friends and loved ones without getting killed by the witches and warlocks who inhabit the Ivory Towers. In this new world, everything is out in the open and none of the creatures are hiding. With creatures like werewolves, vampires, elves, and minotaurs as your next door neighbor, poor humans need a little help at times to get ahead. This is where the tattoo artists can give you a hand. With the addition of a potion to the ink, the tattoo artist can improve your love life, give you good luck, or maybe help hex a cheating ex.

Jen: This is a first person male POV. That’s not unheard of in Urban Fantasy, but not nearly as common as a female lead these days. Tell me about the decision to base the series around a guy.

Jocelynn: When I started to think about creating a new series, my first rule was that it had to be completely different from my Dark Days series. With that in mind, some of the first decisions were easy: open world (versus Mira’s hiding vampires) and lighter tone (Dark Days was understandably dark). Once I decided that I was moving away from vampires, Gage immediately came to mind. My storyteller, in my mind, has always been a male. I love the female-lead stories and they are great to write, but I think using a male POV was partially about stretching my own storytelling skills and partially about leveling the playing field. The majority of first person Urban Fantasy stories are from a woman’s POV and I am getting worried that they guys are starting to take it too easy. It’s time for guys to get back into the game and kick a little butt. Can’t leave it to the women to clean up all the messes of the supernatural world!


Jen: I know a male POV isn’t really new for you. (I loved Danaus’s book.)

Jocelynn: When I started writing the Dark Days series, my plan was to tell at least one book from Danaus’s POV. I always saw the series as having two lead characters and it was natural for Danaus to get a book. I hadn’t initially intended to wait until book 4 (PRAY FOR DAWN) for it happen, but I had to get a few things in the series settled before I could tell his story. Danaus’s book was hard to write, but not because he’s a guy. Danaus just doesn’t like to talk much and doesn’t like to show what he’s thinking so it wasn’t easy to get into mind. But it was interesting seeing the world through his eyes.

On the other hand, Gage has been so much fun to write! I can see him in my mind. He’s got my brother’s smirky grin and the same sarcastic, dirty sense of humor that most of my male friends have. Working with him is a lot like sitting around with my friends and listening to them talk. He is very much an open book to me and his mouth frequently gets him into trouble.

Gage is similar to Mira in that they have some impulse control issues when they are angry or their friends are threatened. But where Mira was ready to burn or kill anything in her path, Gage just wants to knock heads and scare. Gage isn’t a killer by nature and he’s paying for some of his hesitance in his dangerous world. Unlike Mira, Gage also has a close network of friends that he relies on. This gives him a stronger foundation to stand on when things get ugly.

Jen: Let’s talk a little about the novellas. What was behind the idea of kicking the series off this way?

Jocelynn: The decision to lead with some prequel novellas is actually two-fold. With the growing popularity of e-readers, e-novellas can be put out relatively quickly and at a relatively low expense for the publisher. As a result, we can keep the prices low for readers. Each novella comes in around 80-ish pages (at least they do in my Word Doc) and includes an excerpt for the first full-length novel, ANGEL’S INK. These inexpensive novellas are a great way to allow readers to try a new series and/or author without hurting their wallets. For $2, a reader gets about 100 pages that are a fantastic introduction to brand new, crazy world. Hey, everybody loves a bargain!

The real selling point for me when my publisher suggested it was that it gave me a chance to ease readers into this new series. The Dark Days series was very similar to the real world, except that it contained vampires and werewolves. The Asylum Tales is … really different. By creating two prequel novellas, readers get the chance to meet Gage, learn about his world in nice bite-sized chunks, and learn how he meets and hires his two friends Bronx (a troll) and Trixie (an elf). The novellas are not only a way of easing readers into this new world, but they also let me show little portions that I might not be able to touch on in the main novels.

Jen: The tattoos and the magic behind them play a huge role in the series. Tell us a bit more about how that all works.

Jocelynn: There are two types of magic in this world – at least in how it relates to how humans use magic. The first kind are the spells, enchantments, curses, and hex that use words, hand motions or wands, and a good dose of magic energy out of the air. If you are a human and you use the first kind of magic, then you are a witch or warlock. When you first exhibit this ability, you are taken from your home and thrust into training with a mentor in the Ivory Towers. This is NOT Hogwarts. You don’t make friends, live in houses, or play games while riding a broomstick. You learn magic or you die. Life is hard, ugly, and painful here. Only the strongest and smartest survive, but the end result is that you become one of the most powerful creatures on the planet. The world lives in constant terror of you and for good reason.

(If you are a non-human and can do this kind of magic, such as an elf, then you keep your head down and don’t catch the attention of the Towers, or you will be killed.)

The other type of magic falls in the potion category. Anyone can do this kind of magic because it doesn’t require an external magical force. All the magic lies in the ingredients. Housewives, doctors, your next door neighbor the trash collector can all do potions. If you can mix the ingredients correctly, then you can do a potion. Some potions can be eaten or drunk, but most need to be added to the bloodstream, which is why they are generally the domain of tattoo artists. A good potion added to some ink can help improve your life. Most potions have a shelf-life of either months or a few years before the effects wear off. All tattoo artists are trained and licensed in both tattooing and stirring potions. They are also tested and monitored by the Tattoo Artists and Potion Stirrers Society (TAPSS).

Warlocks and witches also use potions, but not to a heavy degree. They have no love for tattoo artists and see them as the dregs of society. Meanwhile, tattoo artists in Gage’s world have a somewhat higher place in society. You would keep your favorite local tattoo artist on speed dial like you would maybe your doctor or dentist.

Jen: Without spoiling too much, what can you tell us about the Ivory Towers?

Jocelynn: The Ivory Towers represent the true horror of Gage’s world. There are still countries and wars between these peoples, but those wars seem small compared to the things that the warlocks and the witches are capable of. The Ivory Towers are home to the warlocks and the witches. It is where they live, study, train, and plan. There is one on every continent and they are hidden from everyone that doesn’t live within the Towers. The warlocks and witches devote their lives to the study of magic, removing themselves from the rest of society so that they can’t be tainted. They see themselves as above the rest of the world, believing themselves to be an entirely separate, evolved race than regular humans.

When you see a warlock or witch, you don’t speak to them. You run. You hide. You pray. If you get in their way, they will kill you. If you try to stop them or question them, they will kill you. And there is no punishment for them. No one can stop them.

And so far, Gage is the first one to ever try to leave. He’s escaped, but there is a price to pay.

If you would like to read more about the rise of the Ivory Towers, click here to read the essay that Gage has written. (It is a PDF)

Jen: And Trixie will play a big part in the stories to come, yes?

Jocelynn: Trixie will play a somewhat large role in the story. When the first novel ANGEL’S INK opens, she has been Gage’s friend for a couple years and has worked for him at Asylum during that time. In the first novel, you’ll learn more about why she is hiding the fact that she is really an elf and learn why she had been on the run. I’m also happy to say that she is quite fond of Gage and Bronx.

Both Trixie and Bronx have a wonderful grounding effect on Gage. They help to keep him calm and centered when things are going crazy. They are there to watch his back when things go bad. They are there when loneliness threatens to swallow him up. And they are there when he’s feeling lost in a world he is trying so hard to be a part of.

No matter how hard Gage tries, he is an outsider on all sides. The Towers hate him because they see him as a traitor. If the rest of the world finds out he is a former warlock, they will try to kill him because they will only see him as one of the group that has been persecuting them for centuries. Trixie and Bronx simply see him as Gage, a tattoo artist with a knack for getting into trouble.

Jen: How many books are you contracted for in the series? Will there be any more novellas?

Jocelynn: At the moment, I am contracted for two full-length novels, two novellas, and one short story that will appear in an upcoming Halloween-themed anthology. The current release schedule is:

July 3 – The Asylum Interviews: Bronx (novella)
September 4 – The Asylum Interviews: Trixie (novella)
October 16 – Angel’s Ink (novel)
Later in October – Halloween Anthology short story
Summer 2013 – Book 2 in The Asylum Tales series

The door is wide open for more novels and novellas if the series proves to be popular. I would definitely like to write more novels for the series and I wouldn’t mind writing a novella for Gideon or Jack – two characters you will meet in the first book.

Jen: Can you give us a little snippet from Trixie to whet our appetite?

Jocelynn: Sure! This snippet is actually the opening for The Asylum Interviews: Trixie novella. To set this scene and novella up a bit: Gage gets a call from his ex-girlfriend Jo and is invited to see her band play. Now that Jo has moved back to town, it seems that she’s gotten herself into a bit of trouble but she doesn’t want to involve Gage. However, he is more than happy to jump in with the help of Jo’s friend Trixie when it looks like Jo has more trouble than she can handle.

   This woman could kiss. Her lips were lush pillows and the things she could do with her tongue made my toes curl. Even the nip of her fangs made the blood roar in my ears. I would have paid anything at that moment to be in a bedroom rather than a cramped, stuffy coat closet.
   I reluctantly pulled away from Jo after I hit my head on the closet rod for the fourth time. Her lean body was molded against mine as I pressed her against the back wall. She shifted, rubbing her pelvis against my groin. My eyes rolled back into my head as a fresh wave of pleasure/pain swept through my body, briefly wiping away the thought that had me pulling away from her in the first place.
   “Don’t stop, Gage,” she murmured. Her hand slipped up from my shoulder to cup the back of my head. As she tried to pull me back down, I released her ass and slammed my right hand against the wall beside her head, bracing myself so that she couldn’t recapture my mouth.
   “If we keep going, you’re going to find your pants around your ankles in another minute,” I threatened through clenched teeth. On second thought, it wouldn’t take as long as another minute.
   “Mmmm … a quickie.” Her voice was a delicious purr as she ground her body against mine.
   “Jo, sweetheart, there’s no such thing as a quickie between us.”
   Why the hell did we stop dating? With her sweet body pressed against me, her hands trailing over my chest and down to my ass, I really couldn’t think of the answer to that question. Sex with Jo had always been surface-of-the-sun-hot and we rarely argued. She also didn’t ask a lot of questions, which was perfect with me. So she was a blood-sucking predator. I was a former warlock-in-training. No one was perfect.
Jo’s hands stopped their roaming and I could feel her sigh. “True. And we’re going on soon. The guys wouldn’t appreciate it if I held them up.”
   The guys. That would be the reason why we split. The band—Dead Playthings—had gotten popular and they started traveling farther and farther away for gigs. Jo and I had started seeing less of each other and neither one of us had been so enamored that we felt the need to try to make a long-distance relationship work. So with a hug and a wish of good luck, we had gone our separate ways roughly two years ago.
   “Besides, I thought this was just a quick ‘hello.’ Nothing complicated,” I said.
Jo gave a little snort. “Since when has sex between us been complicated?”
   “True.”
   “No hard feelings?”
   I leered at her, knowing she could see it despite the fact that it was pitch-black in that tiny closet. Her excellent night vision had come in handy on more than one occasion. I felt her hand creep down my chest to slide between where our groins were pressed together. Her long fingers slipped along my rock-hard dick, squeezing a groan from my throat.
   “Well, I don’t mind a few hard feelings,” she said with a chuckle.
   “You’ve got them.” I leaned forward to capture her mouth again , when someone knocked on the door. I tensed, waiting for the door to be jerked open and bright light to wash over us, but it never happened.
   “Jo, we go on in ten,” announced a deep voice. I thought it was Royce, the lead singer, but I couldn’t be sure. I hadn’t talked to the man in more than two years, but if it was him, I had a fresh reason not to like him.
   “Fuck,” we grumbled in unison.
   “Jinx! You owe me a pint,” Jo giggled.
   “Ha. Ha. We better get going.”
   Jo grabbed my shirt, keeping me from pulling away from her. “Are you sticking around for the show? We could talk afterward.”
   I grinned, grabbing her ass again. “I’m all for that.”
   “No, I mean talk-talk, not talk-fuck.”
   I stiffened, squinting in the darkness as I tried to see her face. “Is something wrong?”
   “No! Why does something have to be wrong for me to want to talk to you? We talked while we were dating. Besides, we’ve hardly talked in two years. I thought we could catch up.”
   I stared at her for a couple seconds, wishing I could see her expression but it was lost in the blackness of the closet. “That’s fine. I’ve got a friend here with me. I’ll introduce you.”
   “Sounds good. Now, get out of here. I’ve got to fix my makeup,” she said, pushing me away from her and toward the door.
   I stepped out of the closet, squinting against the bright light. Her band mates glanced up at me for only a second before returning their attention elsewhere. I turned and gave her one last kiss before heading out of the backstage area to the front of the venue. Pausing before a mirror for a second, I wiped off the last remnants of her lipstick and straightened my clothes. Luckily, my current hairstyle was already short and messy. There wasn’t much I could do about the bulge in my pants, but that would pass.
   Bronx was still sitting at the high-top table we had procured before someone had come out to fetch me. The troll gave a knowing little smirk and raised his glass to me as I approached like some conquering hero. I shook my head at my coworker and friend, but I couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face to save my soul. But then, Jo always had had a way of putting the grin on my face.

Sound good?? Jocelynn is giving away three copies of The Asylum Tales: Trixie. This is the second novella, but it absolutely can be read as a standalone.  To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  A big thanks to Jocelynn Drake for taking the time to chat with me today!

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Chat with Amanda Carlson

You may have already heard the buzz about Full Blooded, a new werewolf Urban Fantasy by Amanda Carlson.  Well, Amanda is here to answer some of my burning questions about her book and the series. Please help me welcome her to the blog.

Jen: Talk to me about what it’s like for you as a debut author as you wait for your first book to hit the shelves.
Amanda: The anticipation is killing me and at the same time it’s also the best feeling in the world. To know something I created will be in the hands of readers is mind-boggling. I’m so excited and nervous and happy and full of crazy energy. LOL, it’s a jumble of emotion, something I’ve worked toward for over twelve years.
Jen: I really enjoyed Full Blooded and the early response I have seen has been overwhelmingly positive. Have you/ will you read reviews?
Amanda: I’ve read early reviews, but I will stop very, very soon. I don’t think my psyche can take it and I don’t want to become disenchanted. As authors we know we won’t connect with everyone on the same level. We’re all working our hardest to make our books the best they can be, but tastes run different. I totally understand that. If we all had a crush on the same boy, or only liked spaghetti without meatballs the world would be a boring place. I write what I love and hope readers love it too. After that, it’s up for grabs.
Jen: I love Jessica. It’s amazing how well she adapts to all she goes through with pragmatism, loyalty and smarts. How did she escape an environment as hostile as the pack without becoming seriously emotionally or socially damaged?
Amanda: At an early age Jessica had to make a decision, she either had to fight or become a victim. She chose to fight. But, honestly, the love and close family connections she has are at the root of all her survival instincts. I wanted a heroine who didn’t have it easy, but one that had a strong family unit. I’m not writing a tortured heroine. I’m writing a fighter who knows how to love. In my eyes, that makes her enjoyable. I love writing Jessica & I hope everyone loves her voice.
Jen: There are so many great secondary characters in Jessica’s inner circle. Will we get more backstory or significant page time with James, Ty, Danny or Nick? Do you have any plans to do any spinoffs down the road with a different POV?
Amanda: Yes, there will be more page time with the boys! There are no plans at this very moment for spinoffs, but yes, it’s something I would love to do in the future.
Jen: I know Jessica’s dad loves her, but do you foresee a time when her growing power interferes with their relationship?
Amanda: They will have growing pains, no doubt, but in the end he loves his daughter too much to let it get the best of him. She gets her common sense from her dad. He’s her rock. They will work it out.
Jen: OK. Rourke. (**swoon**) Talk to me. Tell me a secret about him.
Amanda: For you, Jen: He can last and last. And he’s loyal. Very, very loyal.
Jen: (Amanda knows what I like to hear. LOL.)  How many books are you contracted for in the series? Are they all planned out in your head? If they do well, would you like to continue with the series beyond that?
Amanda: I’m currently contracted for three, with an option for more. All three, and more, are roughly plotted in my head (at least I know how they end!). Yes, I’d love to write other things as well. In fact, I have a few sekrit projects in the works. Finding the time to work on them is the most challenging! Life is crazy at the moment, but I’m hoping it will even out soon. I’m looking forward to a workable routine in the future.
Jen: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me. I know Full Blooded will be a great success!
Amanda: Thanks so much for having me, Jen!! It was fun to stop by, and so great to meet you at AAD. I look forward to chatting again with you and your readers when HOT BLOODED hits shelves this spring.

I must find out what happens in that book! Thanks again to Amanda for being here today! If you have any questions or comments for her, leave them below!

Interview & Giveaway: Gena Showalter


I am a longtime fan of Gena Showalter and her sexy paranormal romance books. I am especially partial to her Alien Huntress and Lords of the Underworld books. Now she’s got a new spinoff series to tell us about. Please help me welcome Gena to the blog!
Jen: First, Gena, I want to say thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. I’m such a fan.

Gena: Thank you for having me!

Jen: Angels of the Dark is a spinoff of the Lords of the Underworld books. How does it fit in with that series?

Gena: There is an unseen world in operation around us. A world populated with angels and demons, good and evil, where a war rages and humans are the prize. The Lords of the Underworld revealed the seedy underbelly of the life with a demon. The Angels of the Dark shine light in the darkness and reveals the truth about love and redemption.

Jen: LotU fans are already familiar with Zacharel, but let’s talk about him for a minute –and Annabelle too. Is there anything you can tell us about them that’s not in the blurb?

Gena: Zacharel… my cold as ice Zacharel. I knew a simple melting would not be enough for him. To reach the heart he was no longer sure he possessed, a woman would have to shatter him. There was no one better suited for the job than Annabelle. She is tough yet vulnerable, hard yet kind, determined yet willing to be swayed. And Zacharel is able to give her something she desperately needs. Someone to stand in her corner and fight for her, no matter the obstacles thrown at him.

Jen: Other than Zacharel, how much character overlap can we expect from the LotU books? Lysander or any of the Lords? Will the events in one series affect what happens in the other?

Gena: You will see Lysander, yes, and a handful of the Lords do appear in Wicked Nights. Paris, Strider, Lucien, Amun, and their females. I’m working on book two now, and I’m not yet sure about series overlap. However, I do think what happens in one will bleed into the other.

Jen: What about people who have never read the Lords of the Underworld. Can they jump right in to Wicked Nights?

Gena: Absolutely! Because Wicked Nights is the start of a brand new series, it is written as a standalone book.

Jen: I’ve got to say, the cover is so incredibly hot! One of the hottest I have seen! Tell me you love it as much as I do.

Gena: I actually squealed when the cover came in! (And I’ve seen the concept cover for book two, and it’s just as sexy!)

Jen: How many books are you planning to write in the series?

Gena: Right now there are three books contracted. The first belongs to Zacharel, the second to Koldo, and I’m not sure who will get the third. But that doesn’t mean there will only be three, I promise!

Jen: My vote is for Xerxes!! But there are still more LotU books too, right? (I won’t be able sleep at night if you tell me Torin won’t get an HEA one day.)

Gena: Oh, absolutely! I’m set to write Kane’s story next. And how his story goes will decide whether Torin or Cameo next step up to the chopping block.

Jen: Any chance that Galen will get a book? Am I weird for loving the idea of him with Legion?

Gena: From the moment Legion chased him down, I have seen the two paired. But I also thought Torin and Cameo would end up together and that didn’t happen. Stubborn characters! However, I would really really love to tell the story of Galen and Legion. Redemption—I love it!

Jen: Thank you! Thank you! It’s so great having you here today. I hope Wicked Nights is a great success!

Gena: Thank you so much!


If you haven’t tried Wicked Nights, there is no time like the present. Gena is giving away a copy. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This one is open to residents in the US & Canada.

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Interview & Giveaway: Amanda Bonilla

Urban Fantasy author Amanda Bonilla is chatting with me today about her fantastic Shaede Assassin books. I loved Shaedes of Gray –and I promise you Blood Before Sunrise is just as good. Please help me welcome Amanda to the blog!

Jen: Thanks so much for chatting with me, Amanda. I am such a fan of the Shaede Assassin series.

Amanda: Thanks for having me, Jen! I have to say, I’ve been pimping your blog and Tumblr account to everyone I know. You know just what I like to see! 😉
Jen: Tell new readers a little about the books and the main character, Darian.

Amanda: The Shaede Assassin Series takes place in Seattle. The city has become the new royal seat for the Shaede Nation (creatures who can become shadows once the sun sets) and because of that, the supernatural population has boomed. My supes don’t live out in the open, meaning, most humans don’t know they exist. The main character, Darian, is a Shaede and an assassin. She’s bitter, jaded, and carrying an atomic bomb’s worth of attitude. She’s been living the past century completely shut off from the world. She’s only known about the supernatural world for a short time. Her former lover, Azriel, had her convinced that she was an anomaly and no others like her existed. She’s slowly learning how to form relationships, and since she’s well-practiced at keeping others at arm’s length, she’s having a hard time opening up.

Jen: I am completely, totally 100% in love with Tyler, so I’ll admit I am biased. How would you compare and contrast him with Xander, the other man who is a potential love interest for Darian?

Amanda: Tyler is great. I really like giving males care-giver roles in my stories. I tend to make them more emotionally stable than my leading ladies. Ty is really great in that his reason for existing is to protect. Xander, on the other hand, is an aristocrat, and used to getting what he wants. I wouldn’t say he’s an uncaring character, because truly, he’s concerned with his people and his kingdom. But Xander can be pretty selfish and he’ll admit it freely. He doesn’t care who he steamrolls to get what he wants, and he’s not above being manipulative. While Ty can appear to be laid-back, he’s okay with getting down and dirty to protect those he loves. Tyler isn’t flashy. He’s crazy powerful, but he doesn’t feel like he has to prove himself to anyone. Piss him off, though, and you better watch out!

Jen: Darian is very emotionally stunted by her past experiences. Do you think she will ever really capable of trusting someone or letting them in completely?

Amanda: When I started this series, I wanted to take this closed-off character and explore what it would be like to see her scrape bottom and then fight her way to the top. Darian has no idea how to live her life. For decades she’s just been going through the motions. She’s going to have to make a lot of mistakes before she can learn her lessons. She’ll definitely grow and mature over the course of the series. The one thing I love about writing a first-person series is that rather than having her character arc span the course of one book, I get to stretch it out over the course of many books.

Jen: You do such a great job of fleshing out the characters, even the secondary ones like Raif (who I also Love with a capital L.) Which character do you most enjoy writing for and why?

Amanda: Thanks, Jen! I love Raif with a capital “L” too! He’s definitely one of my favorite characters to write. He’s so dry and pragmatic. I always picture him with this, “Really? You think that’s a good idea?” expression on his face. There’s something about writing Darian, though, that’s really cathartic. Her personality is nothing like mine and she doesn’t take shit off of anyone. I’m such a non-confrontational person; I’ll pretty much do anything to avoid it. Darian gets right in the face of confrontation and she doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. I love that about her.
Jen: In Blood Before Sunrise, you expand the world building quite a bit. How much of the world and series development did you have in your head when you started writing the first book and how much developed as you were writing?

Amanda: I wrote SoG completely from the hip. I had no idea what was going to happen until I typed the words on my keyboard. Whenever I needed to flesh out the world-building, I’d take a break and sketch it out on paper. I’ve got a family tree that shows the Shaede and Lyhtan lineage and how/where they branch off from the same tree. For Blood Before Sunrise I had to really flex my world-building muscles and create a Fae-related history. I like to create my own mythology, though. It can also be tough. Writing the “rules” of the Jinn and the way they bind themselves to their Charges (which will show up in Crave the Darkness, Shaede Assassin 3) has been my biggest challenge so far. I had to make sure that it was precise and to the letter. I hope I haven’t painted myself into a corner anywhere!

Jen: SoG focused on the Shaedes. BBS on the Fae. Will you continue to delve into more supernatural races in future books?

Amanda: I like to explore the world building involved with different supernatural characters. I plan to put the spotlight on a different species with each book. I have a very overactive imagination, so I’ll keep throwing out new supes until my brain sputters out. Which I’m hoping won’t be for a while. 😉

Jen: How many are you planning to write in the series at this point?

Amanda: I’m currently contracted for three books, but I could easily write at least seven in the Shaede Assassin series as well as a few spin-offs. I really want to write a book for Raif and I’m hoping that someday I’ll get the chance to do it!

Jen: OK, tell the truth, if you could change the name of the first book would you do it?

Amanda: Honestly, no. There is the occasional confusion over the spelling, and of course there’s the connection to another certain book with a similar title. Someone emailed me a month or so ago to ask if I’d titled my book the way I had to capitalize on the other book’s popularity. That really cracked me up. I wrote SoG in 2009 and the title seemed really fitting for the tone of the story. Darian starts out as this slightly unlikeable, gray area character. Frequently, book titles will be changed several times between the first draft and production. I’m glad the title stuck.

Jen: Earlier this month, you released a prequel novella about Darian’s transition to life with Azriel. I am making my pitch for your next novella. Another prequel, this one a Ty POV of when he bound himself to Darian. Any chance? I would totally buy that.

Amanda: Jen, your wish will totally be granted! 😉 I’m working on a novella right now that takes place between books 2 and 3 and is told from Tyler’s POV. I’m writing a flashback so readers will get to see that first meeting between Darian and Tyler and they’ll also get a firsthand account of why he feels compelled to bind himself to her from the first moment he lays eyes on her. I’m SOOOOO excited for this novella!

Jen: OMG, OMG, OMG. When?

Amanda: Not until February.  :’( I’m really excited about it, though. Hope I can pull off the male POV. And I’ve never written a sex scene from guy’s perspective, either. I’m going to have to visit your tumblr often for inspiration. 😉 It’ll be a tough job, but I’ll soldier through! Hehe.

Jen: I am so excited about this. Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions and for the giveaway! I hope BBS is a great success!

Amanda: Thanks again so much for having me as a guest, Jen! And keep those Tumblr posts coming! LOL!

Amanda is giving away a print copy of Blood Before Sunrise, which is out July 3rd.  To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This one is US/CAN only.  To learn more about Amanda Bonilla, you can visit her website or follow her on Twitter.  

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AAD Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Jeaniene Frost

Night Huntress fans, hold onto your seats. Once Burned is out this week and I can promise you, it does not disappoint.  The amazing Jeaniene Frost is here to chat with me today. Please help me welcome her to the blog.

Jen: What can you tell us about Once Burned?

Jeaniene: Once Burned is the first book in the Night Prince series featuring Vlad as the hero and a new character named Leila as the heroine. Vlad’s ability to manifest and control fire makes him one of the most powerful vampires in existence. Leila is human, but she has some unusual abilities as well; her whole body gives off electricity and she can pick up psychic impressions through touch. Right now, two books are contracted for this series, with the possibility for more in the future.

A little backstory: When I first started writing about vampires, I swore to myself that I would never touch the Dracula legend because that had been done countless times. Then while I was writing the third book in the Night Huntress series, Vlad popped onto the page. The first thing I knew about him was that he hated the Dracula legend. The second thing I knew was that he and my hero, Bones, were not friendly. I kept trying to take Vlad out of the scene because, again, I was not going to write about Dracula! However, I kept thinking about his character. It was as if he refused to go away. He ended up being a regular side character in the Night Huntress series, yet that still wasn’t enough. The more I thought about Vlad, the more pieces of his story came together in my mind. Finally, I gave him not only his own book, but his own series.S o much for saying “never,” right?

Jen: Vlad is my favorite secondary character in the Night Huntress world. What was behind the decision to give him multiple books, instead of just one, like Charles or Mencheres?

Jeaniene: First, thank you! Second, some stories are best told in only one book, like a movie. Some stories are too big for that and they end up taking place over multiple books, like a TV series. The reason behind the decision to give Vlad a series versus one book was simple: The story I had my head about him and Leila was too big to fit in only one book. That’s only happened before with Cat and Bones, so I pressed hard to give Vlad a series and happily, my publisher agreed.

Jen: I know a lot of fans have made noise about a book for Ian. Do you think that will ever happen? Are there any other secondary characters you’d like to develop?

Jeaniene: I get a LOT of requests for an Ian book. One reader even sent me plot ideas because she wanted the book so badly and thought the issue was that I couldn’t come up with a storyline on my own, heh. First, Ian isn’t ready to be shoved into the hero role yet, and I don’t want to write about him unless he can be a hero. Second, if he ever gets ready, I know exactly who I’d pair him with and I already know the main plot that story would revolve around. So, the issue isn’t a lack of ideas. It’s Ian. If he can grow up a little in the future, I’d love to give him a story. If he insists on remaining a slut, he doesn’t get one since I refuse to write about a hero who cheats on the heroine. I do have hope for him, though. Cross your fingers for him, Ian fans!

As for other characters, yes, I’d love to write about several of them. I’m tied up for the next two years finishing Cat and Bones’s storyline, plus finishing Vlad and Leila’s, so any new character stories would have to wait. By the time my schedule clears, it depends on which character is making the most noise in my head, metaphorically speaking (no, I don’t actually hear voices, so put down the white jacket with the really long sleeves! ;)). The character I can’t stop thinking about usually wins in the new story department.

Jen: Cat and Bones finally seem like they’ve gotten to the point where they are unshakably solid. Does it change your approach to writing their stories now that their relationship is a given? (Does that make sense?) Is it a challenge to keep them fresh?


Jeaniene: It alters things in some ways. Neither Cat nor Bones is going to abruptly change their minds about their feelings for one another, plus they’re past the “does he/she really love me?” stage. However, because their storyline is wrapping up and I have a LOT of things to pack into their final books, I don’t think it will be challenge to keep things fresh. It’s crunch time now and all the little breadcrumbs I’ve been dropping along the way in previous books are about to blow up. I can’t wait to share the final outcome with readers!

Jen: I can’t remember where, but I read something you wrote once about writing married love and your faith. I wish I could put my finger on it now, because I thought it was really interesting when I read it…

Jeaniene: Hmm. It might have been on Twitter when I said I wished that love scenes were not taboo in inspirational fiction.

Jen: That was it!!

Jeaniene: Married couples have sex. They can even have really hot sex (shocker, I know! *wink*). Sometimes I want to read an inspirational novel because it explores my faith in a way that many secular books do not. However, I’m a greedy reader, so I don’t want to give up on a hot love story, too. The two aren’t opposites in real life, but in most inspirational fiction (that I’m aware of, please correct me if I’m wrong!) they seem to be.

Granted, some readers prefer the bedroom door firmly closed no matter what the genre is, and some of the “hottest” books on the market don’t contain sex scenes. I’m not advocating for inspirational fiction or another other genre to always contain sex scenes. I am, however, a fan of variety, and therefore I don’t think secular novels should be the only ones allowed to showcase great sex in fiction. But I could be alone in this opinion. Reading tastes vary, as everyone knows.

Jen: Talk to me a little about writing love scenes. Does it come easily? Would you rather write a steamy sex scene or an action/fight scene and why?

Jeaniene: I’d rather write neither, actually (bet you didn’t see THAT coming!). Sex scenes and fight scenes are difficult and time consuming to write. There’s a delicate balance of emotional/physical/action/reaction in every single sentence. One wrong turn of phrase – or even one wrong word – can ruin the intensity for readers. Dialogue, on the other hand, is fun to write. I can hear what the characters are saying in my head, so it’s almost like taking dictation when I write dialogue.

If you gripe about it, then why do you write sex/action scenes? someone might ask. Well, because I write romance, sex is an important part of the emotional journey for my characters. Just because sex scenes are harder for me to write – or make me blush, as has happened often – it wouldn’t seem fair to readers to shy away from it. Fight scenes equally necessary because my characters live in a dark, violent world. Life and death struggles are going to happen, and again, if I shy away from showing those, I cheat the reader in my eyes.

Jen: Bones is one of the most beloved PNR heroes out there. What is it about him that makes him so incredibly popular?

Jeaniene: I’ve had many readers tell me that they love Bones’s honesty, his openness about his feelings, and his sense of humor. *grin* Descriptions of his body probably don’t hurt, either. But in all honesty, I don’t know why he’s so popular. I’m delighted by it, of course, but there are plenty of other amazing PNR heroes. All I can say to Bones’s popularity is, Thank you, readers!

Jen: Are you working on anything outside of the Cat & Bones world? What’s ahead for you?

Jeaniene: Right now I’m focused solely on novels set in my vampire world, whether it’s Cat and Bones or Vlad and Leila. After that, I’d like to write something entirely new, but then again, I’d also like to write more about side characters in my vampire world. We’ll see which idea/world demands the most attention once I’m finished with my current commitments.

Jen: What are you most looking forward to from AAD in NOLA this summer?

Jeaniene:My grown-up, professional answer? Meeting readers and other authors while talking about the genre I love. However, the inner 8-year-old in me is squealing, “Beignets and haunted tours and ancient cemeteries, yay!”

A big thanks to Jeaniene for taking the time to chat with me.  In honor of the release of Once Burned, I am giving away a copy! To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This one is US/CAN only. In the meantime, be sure to visit Jeaniene’s website and the special page devoted to Once Burned. You can also follow her on Twitter.

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AAD Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Abigail Barnette


Jennifer Armintrout is a USA Today best selling author. She’s published two successful series, with her Blood Ties books as well as Lightworld/ Darkworld. But Jennifer also writes romance under the pen name Abigail Barnette. Please help me welcome her to the blog!

Jen: You’ve been very successful writing under the name Jennifer Armintrout. What made you decide to write as Abigail Barnette?

Abigail: It was a matter of protecting Jennifer Armintrout’s “brand”. I wanted to write romance, but I was known for writing urban fantasy. I didn’t really know how or what kind of romance I wanted to write, either, so if I failed spectacularly, I didn’t want it to reflect badly on Jennifer Armintrout, I could let Abigail Barnette take the heat. Luckily, I did find my feet, and now I can be both!

Jen: Looking at your Barnette titles, there’s a wide variety there in terms of kink and genre. The novellas I read (“Beast” & “Bride of the Wolf”) were great stories, but on the tamer side sexually. And then I look at Striped, for instance, and see the other side of the spectrum. Which kind of story to do you enjoy writing more? Or perhaps, a better question might be –What is the appeal from writing in the different genres?

Abigail: I think the appeal, to me, is in the variety. I can never get burned out if I’m writing something new and different. I’ve written vampire romance for Samhain, the last book I wrote for Resplendence was a contemporary baseball romance, and now I’m working on a historical ménage for Ellora’s Cave. I have a lot of freedom to write whatever I want, and that’s attractive to me because it means I won’t end up bored with what I’m doing.

Jen: Mia Watts and Bronwynn Green have been here in the past for Author Spotlights. I see they’re also part of the Phases series. Talk to me about the concept for that series and the contributions from multiple authors.

Abigail: Bronwyn Green invited me to participate in that anthology in 2010, I believe, although I’m not sure whose idea it was originally. I thought it was so neat, to have so many different authors doing a take on a similar theme. Bronwyn Green writes what we call “Yooper ménage”, stories set in Michigan’s upper peninsula, and with her blessing I used the same setting for my stories in the Phases anthology. The concept was that each author would take two months, resulting in a novella for each month of the year in 2011. In different cultures, the full moons have different meanings, and we were asked to keep those meanings in mind when we wrote the books. I think Awakening Delilah was “Lightning” and Striped was, literally, “Tiger.” The only other requirement was that the stories have three or more romantic partners, because polyamorous stories are really a draw for readers. It was so exciting to see these books coming out, and everyone took the basic requirements and made stories that were so different from the other ones in the series.

Jen: You do a take on fairy tales with the Naughtily Every After and some steampunk with All Steamed Up. Will there be more in either of these series?

Abigail: Yes! All Steamed Up has one more story coming, Internal Combustion, which will be about the third Wallace brother, Richard, the man who invents all the wonderful sex toys in the club. That one doesn’t have a release date yet, because I haven’t written it, but I swear, it’s coming. I would like to do another set of stories in the Naughtily Ever After series, but I’d like to finish up my Canis Clan series and All Steamed Up before working on a second series of Naughtily Ever After. I can tell you that the second set of Naughtily stories will feature the northern half of the kingdom of Chevudon, with a focus on Germanic fairytales. Snow White will be one of them, as well as Snow White and Rose Red.

Jen: I’ve been very impressed with the depth of your novellas. So often, the shorter stories I read feel superficial, rushed, or incomplete. Is there any difference in how you approach a novella versus a full length novel? And how do you avoid the pitfalls so many other authors fall into with shorter stories?

Abigail: I think the fact that I don’t know how to write a novella is really helping out in my favor on this one. I just write the story the same way I would write a novel, but obviously there isn’t a lot of room for subplots or too many extra characters. I just hit the important points and try to fill in the rest with the relationship and emotions.

Jen: As someone outside of the business, I’ve often wondered how different is the experience in writing for a NY publisher and a small press publisher?

Abigail: Way different, at least, in my experience. There is a lot to like about New York publishing, but small presses do take more chances than the big houses do. I can just say, “I want to write a book about this,” and most of the time, I can find a small press who will pick it up. Meanwhile, in 2007, I proposed a zombie book to a New York publisher, and they passed on it because “zombies aren’t a thing.” Well, if they had just taken a chance…

Jen: What is coming up for you as Abigail Barnette and as Jennifer Armintrout?

Abigail: Right now, Jennifer Armintrout is just sending out the occasional proposal and waiting for a nibble. Abigail Barnette, however, has the second book in the Hard Ball series, Double Header, coming out on June 27th. Perfect for baseball fans!

Jen: How often are you confused with Jennifer Armentrout? That’s got to get old.

Abigail: Oh, it happens all the time, but I think it probably is more of an issue for her than it is for me, unfortunately. She writes YA, and I’m on twitter talking about smoking pot and writing three-way gay weretiger sex scenes. She gets held responsible for a lot of things I say, in a really unfair way. The only time I ever get a little shifty about it is when someone accuses me of intentionally stealing her name to ruin her. I’m like, “Um… I have a birth certificate in my desk that proves otherwise.”

Jen: What is the most meaningful thing you’ve ever heard from a fan?

Abigail: Honestly, there have been so many times that people will say really touching things to me, or send me really nice emails, but the one that always sticks out in my mind is one I got from a girl who was about fifteen. She learned to read really late, at the time she wrote me she’d only been reading for a year, and Blood Ties Book One: The Turning was the first book she’d read all on her own. She said she loved it so much, she read it in a day. The fact that she had any love for reading at all, after struggling for so long to just get by, and the fact that she loved my book, brought tears to my eyes.

Jen: What are you looking forward to most from AAD in NOLA?

Abigail: Seeing all the wonderful people from years past, and meeting new folks, as well. I love AAD. It’s gotten bigger every year, but it still feels small and personal. That is why it’s the only conference I go to every year. Well, that and the GRRWG conference in November.

If you haven’t tried an Abigail Barnette story, here is your chance. She is giving away a copy of Bride of the Wolf. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  And to learn more about Abigail/ Jennifer Armintrout, just visit her website or follow her on Twitter.

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AAD Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Tilly Greene

Erotic romances about women who are successful, confident and comfortable in their skin, the men who love them, and their twisting passionate path to each other. That’s what Tilly Greene says you can find when you open up one of her mega-hot books.  Many of her stories contain elements of bondage or varying levels of D/s relationships.  Please help me welcome Tilly to the blog today!
Jen: Talk to me about what it is about BDSM that appeals to you as a writer.

Tilly: Taking what looks to some as harsh, hard and painful and turning it into something sensual, enticing and yes, enjoyable is what I like to do. Toys and attire are things I’ll tinker with first and work to make them more accessible to the reader. An anal plug doesn’t sound nice, but make it out of Plexiglas with a delightful swirling design shaped like a carrot and a bunny in crystals decorating the base makes it a bit more fun. [No, I’ve never done that in specific, but I just might have to now…a bunny!] My goal is to make BDSM something that the reader or their best friend wouldn’t shy away from if the right person said let’s play.

Jen: What is it about it that you think appeals to readers?

Tilly: There are a few things that I think draw a reader to a BDSM story, but the one I thought of first is the old standard “Calgon, Take Me Away” concept. Days filled with poopie diapers or harsh bosses are reality and going someplace far away, where things are filled with hot ‘take me, pleasure me, make me come’ sex and romance, would be a nice place to visit for a few hours.

Jen: How did you begin to research the lifestyle? Were there things that surprised you?

Tilly: Ahhh, research, love that stage of writing. Research for me begins with reading, reading and more reading. I wasn’t surprised by what I’d learned, but from all the material I gathered, I figured out what areas my characters would explore further. BDSM is a broad genre and I’ve chosen boundaries to push further into the hot zone and love it!

Jen: What do you think is the biggest misconception about BDSM?

Tilly: That it’s all about dungeons, pain and humiliation. BDSM ranges from 24/7 lifestylers to an occasional or one off game. There are many paths to satisfaction and as individual as the players.

Jen: Do you think that the flash of national attention on the genre will have longer term effects?

Tilly: Unfortunately no, I don’t. Back in the mid-80’s a movie called Nine 1/2 Weeks which touched on a sexually dominant relationship was released to the same attention only it didn’t last. Maybe society has opened up to people being different, but I have a feeling it hasn’t – at least not in the US.

Jen: As a ménage author, what do you think about m/f/m versus m/m/f stories? Which appeals to you more and why?

Tilly: HA, the reader side of me doesn’t give a flying hoot what sexes are involved in the ménage, but the writer side does for one very basic reason. I don’t know how to write the m/m part. Okay, there are a few side characters I’ve written over the years that are gay only I’ve never had the balls – pun intended – to write their happy for now story. Maybe someday I’ll go there, meanwhile, I’ll read them and be entertained.

Jen: Is there any one of your stories that stands above the others as closet to your heart. Tell me about it –and why it means so much to you.

Tilly: Well, I love all the books I wrote so I can’t choose just one, so here are a few. The first that comes to mind is “Come Back” mainly because it’s the latest, but then “Call Me Lucifer” and always “Highland Heat”. What these three have in common is the hero – I adore my wounded imperfect heroes who make mistakes and try very hard to do everything right to help bring their love back into their lives.

Jen: Will you give us a snippet from one of your favorite scenes (from any of your books) to give us a taste of your writing? (We like ’em dirty, please.)

Tilly: Hmmm, dirty, yeah, I can do that!

A scene from soon to be released “Come Back”:

Yes, like Cassie had said earlier, silence often speaks louder than words, but sometimes action speaks even louder. Once she sat on his lap, he struggled to stay in touch with their conversation, and couldn’t do it any longer. When she gave him the opening, he took it, and set out to show her exactly what he was thinking about. Wrapping both arms around her waist, he held her tightly as he nestled his head against her soft neck. She was all silky flesh, smooth and tempting to the tenuous hold he had on his passion. But right there, where her life pumped through her, was where he was drawn.
Pressing his lips over the pulse point rapidly beating at her neck diverted him for a few moments. It was something he loved to experience. To feel her pulse beat for him, them, and their need for each other. He stroked the tip of his tongue along the vein, bringing cries rushing out from between her lips.
“Oh, yes!”
The sounds of her passion made him hungry for more. He used his teeth to gently scrape and tease her skin. She tasted perfect and he was ready for dessert. Mikhail knew exactly what he needed to do to indulge his desire for more.
Moving quickly, he shoved the plates to the ground, and laid her across the table. He didn’t care their plates and glasses went crashing along the floor, making a mess. The only thing that mattered was having her.
“Misha!”
“Yes!” Quickly, he used a hand to push her t-shirt up until he couldn’t reach any further and held her down. There was too much he wanted to waste time for niceties, wooing or teasing. Later there’d be time for being her gentle lover, but it wasn’t then. His need was too close to the edge of bliss for anything other than seeking satisfaction.
Mikhail moved his mouth down to her pretty curls and teased her clit out from its hiding spot.
Sucking the hard kernel into his mouth, he carefully held the tender flesh between his teeth, and taunted the bundle with his tongue. It wasn’t long before her legs shifted around and encircled his neck. The new position made it more difficult to tenderly torment the nub. To rectify the potential problem, he reached up and brought one limb back down to the table. With one hand holding her t-shirt pushed up, and the other pressing her leg against the table, he focused on his goal.
She tasted sweet and the relentless pursuit for her nectar grew. Releasing her leg, he reached over and pinched her clit, giving it a gentle tug while he thrust his tongue inside her slit. Pushing the muscle in and out of her tight channel, he caught and dragged out a taste of her essence and immediately dove back in for more. He growled with pleasure and kept digging his tongue in for more honey and was rewarded by her crying his name.
It was heaven to hear her calling out for him, to feel her leg flex and try to pull him into her pussy. He wanted inside her, to fill and possess her. Intense desire rode through his mind and body, quickly overtaking him. Right then, he wanted to experience her coming around his tongue. While trying to hold himself back, he tightened his hand into a fist, and her squeal high and loud echoed around them.
Immediately he pulled his mouth away from her mound, sure he’d harmed her in some way. Looking at her body, he was ready to apologize, only his gaze caught where his hand gripped her breast, trapping a nipple between two fingers.
“Don’t stop!” She cried and, because he realized she was experiencing pleasure and not pain, his concern was gone.
©Tilly Greene, 2012
Jen: That’s very hot!! What are you working on now?
Tilly: Projects a plenty! Between writing the second [“Come to Me”] and third [“Come and Stay”] books for my Come shapeshifter series, I’m reworking a couple of books and writing some new installments for my Passion for Fashion and Bondage series, adding to my Branded series and putting out a few standalone erotica pieces. Phew, yes, my plate is full, but you will never hear or read me complain about doing a day’s work – it’s all good fun!
Jen: What are you looking forward to most from AAD in NOLA?
Tilly: So much, but I guess the biggest bit is talking to readers…talking books, talking shifters, talking contemporaries and bondage, really talking about anything and everything. Writing can be solitary so when I get a chance to be with like minded folks – book lovers – I consider it all good fun! Woohoo! Come on August!

Tilly is giving away an ebook of Call Me Lucifer or Highland Heat, winner’s choice. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  You can learn more about Tilly by visiting her website or following her on Twitter.  

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AAD Author Spotlight: Shayla Black

She’s a New York Times best-seller and she knows how to spice things up! Please help us welcome Shayla Black to the blog today!

Jen: I really enjoy the Doomsday Brethren series! It seems like forever since we’ve heard from these guys. Can you give us a little hint about what we can expect in Embrace Me at Dawn?
Shayla: More of everything! More adventure, more heat, more eye-popping moments. As I’ve been writing this book, I’ve said, “OMG, did that REALLY just happen?” more than once. I’m super excited about how this book has been shaping up.
Jen: I know Anka is supposed to be with Lucan, but will poor Shock ever find his own happiness? (Clearly, I am convinced he is one of the good guys.)
Shayla: Shock definitely has a story to tell…eventually.
Jen: When we get to Bram’s book, will we get the backstory we missed on him and his mysterious mate?
Shayla: Yes! In fact, you’ll get a little bit about her in EMBRACE ME AT DAWN. There’s a lot there that the reader—and Bram himself—doesn’t know.
Jen: Can you tell us a little about Project Alpha?
Shayla: Not too much, as I haven’t started writing yet. But they will be very sexy romantic suspenses about a very different breed of soldier facing a whole lot of danger to both the world and their hearts.
Jen: You write so many different kinds of romance books, with varying degrees of heat and sexual adventure. Do you have a favorite kind of book to write? Stand-alones, series, spicy, romantic?
Shayla: No, I really just write what’s capturing my imagination. Contractually, I have to write books in a certain order, but I made the decision to write each of these books because they grabbed me and made me smile or cry or clap or squirm in my chair. I can’t write something I’m not excited about.
Jen: At what point in your career did you finally feel like you’d “made it” as an author?
Shayla: I wouldn’t say that I really feel that I’ve “made it” even now. My job is to sit in front of my computer every day and type out the stories in my head. I truly enjoy the interaction on my Facebook fan page and the role play pages for both the Doomsday Brethren and Wicked Lovers series. Hitting the New York Times was a definite thrill. But I’m always aware that my job isn’t really about what I’ve written in the past, but what I’m going to write now and tomorrow. I simply think in terms of maintaining good work habits and hopefully more readers finding me so that my career can grow.
Jen: I’m sure you get a lot of feedback from your fans. What effect does fan response have on you personally and as a writer?
Shayla: Some emails from fans have touched me deeply. I’ve been told that I’ve saved relationships and helped people through personally difficult times. People have written to tell me that they’ve discovered things about themselves by reading my books or that they’ve found a deeper connect with their partner by reading my books together with them. I’ve had hate mail, love mail, and prison mail. People have told me what I’ve done right and wrong, in their estimation. In all cases, I figure that if I made the reader feel something, I did my job. I used to let negativity bother me, but the truth really is, not every book or every author is for every person. Every author has themes and characters that resonate for them. Some readers will understand them and others won’t. Frankly, there’s a book and an author for every reader out there. It may or may not be me. I accept that. The best thing I can do for the readers who do like what I write is to continue to be me and minimize the distractions. Trying to cater to readers for whom I’m just not their cup of tea is a waste of everyone’s time..
Jen: What is the draw for you to attend fan events and reader conventions?
Shayla: I love opportunities to connect with readers. Many writers are introverts, but I’m a people person, and I take many chances every year to meet readers and just have fun. Attending conferences like this are a great way to meet new people you’ll instantly have something in common with: love of books!
Jen: What are looking forward to most about AAD in NOLA this summer?
Shayla: The people, the parties, and the fun! It will be my first time to AAD, and I’m planning to make the most of it.
Jen: Thank you so very much for visiting the blog! I can’t wait to meet in New Orleans!
Shayla: Thanks for much for having me here. I’m looking forward to meeting in New Orleans, too.

To learn more about Shayla Black you can visit her website or follow her on Twitter.