Monday, October 29, 2012

Interview with Author of Dark Erotica and GLBT Shanna Germain


 

 
Shanna Germain is many things…



First and foremost, she is a leximaven of the highest order, exploring her love of the written word through a multitude of formats and styles. Shanna (pronounced like ‘Shaun’ with a sigh of pleasure at the end) also claims the titles of (in no particular order): girl, gamer geek, wanderluster, flower picker, tire kicker, knife licker, she-devil, vorpal blonde and Schrödinger’s brat.


With a whole lot of writing years under her belt (or her collar, depending on the day), Shanna’s poems, essays, short stories, novellas, articles and more have found homes in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, books and websites.




An Associate Fellow at the Attic Institute in Portland, OR, she has taught classes in writing, publishing, media and photography at a wide variety of places. She’s even garnered an award here and there, including a Pushcart nomination, the Rauxa Prize for Erotic Poetry and the C. Hamilton Bailey Poetry Fellowship. She keeps her ego in a tiny glass jar and feeds it drops of sea water and baby crickets so it will never outgrow its cage.

Raised in upstate New York, Shanna spent her quarter-life crisis years in Portland, Oregon. Her writing travels have taken her to places like Amsterdam, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Italy and Nicaragua. After a year-long jaunt on a wild island off the coast of Scotland, she has returned to the rain-washed streets of Portland, which she considers her forever home.

I am so pleased to welcome Author Shanna Germain to Risqué Reviews and would like to thank her for taking time to do this interview.
 
Shall we begin?
 
Q. When you sit down to write, what do you draw on as your muse to create those vivid scenes you put together? (Let me make it clear I’m not asking how you know about what you write, just how you bring it to life).

Ooh, I don’t know about a muse – if I have a muse, she’s a cranky bitch who mostly eats all the cookies. Mostly I try to really sink into my characters in terms of what they’re desiring, what they’re feeling, tasting and touching. Sensory details of the body and the experience are really important to me, so I spend a lot of time focusing in on small details that my characters find particularly intriguing or arousing.





Q. You write such psychologically charged stories that are driven by some gritty and graphic sexual scenes. How far do you take your characters sexually with such stories that include multifaceted lifestyles that go outside "the comfort zones of society’s idea of preconceived ideals of right and wrong", such as BDSM, Ménage and GLBT?

In stories, I try to provide each character with the opportunity to get what they need, both physically and emotionally. In real life, I think that our cultural idea of sexuality is so narrow, and most people cannot get their needs met with sex in such tight confines. When creating stories, you can move beyond that, giving characters the opportunities to ask for the sexual experience that they crave. I take my characters as far as they will let me – and that’s usually pretty far!



Q. What is the biggest misconception about GLBT fiction you think most people have?

The biggest misconception, I think, is a marketing one. And that’s the idea that male-male fiction is written for and by gay men. It’s been my experience that most gay fiction is written by women (often under a pen name and often by a woman who identifies as straight) and most gay fiction is read by women.





Q. When writing a story that contains graphic, sometimes turbulent sexual scenes, is there ever a time when it is too soon for the characters in a book to have sex?

Oh yes. Often, in fact. In my opinion, a sex scene has to do a lot of work – show character, move the story forward, and entertain the ready. If a sex scene isn’t going to change the character in some way, then it’s not the appropriate time.

 
Q. Can there ever be too much sex in a story?

Again, definitely! You need a good balance of plot, character development and sex.




Q. Would you say you write Erotica or Erotic Romance?

I wrote both, for different markets. I also write Romantica and straight-up romance, as well as lit and genre fiction with sex in it.

Q. How do you cope emotionally with reviewers who seemed to have missed the point of your story completely?

Ha. That’s a great question. A reviewer who misses the point of the story is actually much easier to deal with than a reviewer who’s outright nasty. But the hardest ones for me are the ones where the reviewer is actually a smart reader, and who points out a place I screwed up. Those are the most difficult, because I know it means I’ve made a mistake and someone realized it!




I handle that stuff emotionally by trying to keep distance and perspective. I can’t appeal to every reader, and everyone who enters an erotic reading experience does so with different needs and expectations. I write in a lot of different voices and styles, and about a lot of different sexualities, so my hope is that if they struggled with one story, they’ll find their foothold in another.

Q. How do you know when writing a scene that it has produced the desired or intended result, sexually and otherwise?

This is something that’s taken me a long time to learn, and it’s a really a feeling, more than anything else. It’s a sensation I get in my body and my brain that says to me, "Yes, you’ve nailed this." The only thing I can equate it to is an orgasm. Before you have one, you wonder, "This feels really good. Is this an orgasm?" But once you have one, you just KNOW. Nailing a scene is like this for me. 




I also continue to rely on my first readers to let me know if I nailed something,
or if it needs more work, just in case my internal sensor is off.


Q. How do you get into the head of your characters when writing an m/m sex scene?
 

The same way I get into any character’s head – every character is unique in their wants and needs, just as every living person is unique. Sexual orientation, gender, race – it’s all important stuff, but in truth it doesn’t matter to me as a writer.

I’m not writing a “gay male.” I’m writing this young guy named Adam who’s lusting after a hunky barista, an older man named Stan and Stan breaks Adam’s heart every morning when he gets his order wrong.

 
 If I can’t get inside someone’s head, I can’t write them. But characters come from me, right, so I’m not going to make up someone that I can’t dissect down to their every last dirty desire. 
 
Q. What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Coffee. Time alone. Support from other writers. Remembering that when you read someone else’s book, you’re reading their feature film – you never get to see their blooper reel.




Q. Do you believe a good life is attainable? Or is it something that is out of our control ,i.e. subject to luck etc.

I do believe that a good life is attainable, yes. But in order for that to be true, I believe that your definition of "good life" has to include the concept of hard work. For me, a good life means: time to do what a love and do it as well as I can; quality relationships with people I love and respect and who give that back to me; and enough of what I need to ensure I have the opportunities to do what I want (money, etc.).
My philosophy is that if I show up and do the work, I can have everything I want. So far, it’s mostly proved to be true!



Q. Before recognizing writing was your calling what other avenues did you try?

Just about everything – I stacked hay and rode horses. I worked in a greenhouse and a pizza place and a coffee shop. I waited tables and served drinks. I was a firefighter and paramedic. Then, I did a lot of jobs that were writing focused, but weren’t about fiction; I was a reporter for a while and a magazine editor. I learned a lot about writing fiction in those jobs.


 


Q. What do you consider your biggest failure?

I wish I was a better writer, that I could learn faster. And even in saying that, I realize that probably my biggest failure is that I drive myself too hard, ask too much of myself. I find it really hard to say that someone is good enough.


 
 
Q. Do you enjoy giving interviews?

Absoultely. I always learn something about myself – as a fiction writer, I rarely turn the lens on myself, so to speak, so this is a chance to discover more about myself as a person and a writer.
 
 


Before I bring to a close my interview with Author Shanna Germain, I always like to end with a question "Just for Fun". And these are the questions I chose for you, Shanna...




Q. Do you ever write naked?

Often! Although I’m partial to my big, fuzzy Cookie Monster-colored robe or a thick soft blanket. Right now, I’m on the couch, wrapped in a blanket in front of the fireplace. I have my MacBook Air, an iced soy mocha, an a little music by Grizzly Bear. This is a very typical writing set-up for me.  


 

Ok, so it's not Iced but it's chocolate. Which is made from Cocoa as is Mocha. And come on...it looks so cool!!


Q. While writing, do you take drugs, smoke marijuana or drink alcohol to beef up your creative imagination?

No, I have a crazy-ass imagination as it is! If anything, I sometimes try to keep it in check (I also write fantasy, speculative fiction and roleplaying games, so my super-creative stuff often ends up there). I do drink a fair amount of coffee, though.   








And that brings me to the end of my interview with Author, Shanna Germain.

Thank you again Shanna, for this opportunity to interview you. I hope you had fun.


Thanks for having me!

Best, s.



And I want to say thank you to those that stopped by. Hope you enjoyed yourselves too!!

Shanna and I would love to hear if you enjoyed this interview. So please don’t be shy, leave a comment and say Hi!!

Be sure to visit Shanna’s website to learn more about her and her work, http://shannagermain2.wordpress.com/




Signing off,

Barb~



 

 





 






 
 
 
   
           


 
 



Friday, October 26, 2012

4.5 Stars for A Demon and His Witch by Eve Langlais

Hotly Recommended! By Reviewer Lexxie
 
 
Winner of Risqué Reviews Top Pick Award
 
 

 



Summary/Blurb:


Burned at the stake as a witch, thinking her boyfriend will help her out and realizing he is behind it all just before the flames reach her, Ysabel makes a deal with the devil. She will work for Lucifer in exchange for having the souls of those who had her burned captured in the deepest pits of Hell for all eternity. Ysabel still hates what was done to her, and she has the inability to trust men! Even demons are afraid of her, but when her ex manages to escape
from hell, she is paired off with a hot and sexy demon do capture him – and sparks are flying even if they both deny it at first. Welcome to Hell where you’re screwed if you do and damned if you don’t. And just so you know, Lucifer has a special spot reserved for you…

 
Review:

As usual, Eve Langlais delivers a hot quick read in which she generously uses humor.A Demon and His Witch hit exactly the right spot for me. Remy and Ysabel chase an escaped soul through Hell and on Earth, and even when they find him, they have trouble sending him back. Now, that’s conflict. Add to it that each second they spend together is a little hotter, containing more chemistry than the last. The strong characterization works with the conflict to make this an interesting read.

Ysabel is both strong and independent, and at the same time a little old-fashioned in that she is used to a man giving her orders. She fights that part of herself constantly, and even Lucifer has to, grudgingly, respect her for it. However, when Ysabel’s ex escapes, something happens to Ysabel--leaving Lucifer with barely enough time to explain it to her before it starts. She has to go through excruciating pain every day until she has recaptured the damned soul.

Remy is the devil Lucifer has decided to pair off with Ysabel. Of course, Lucifer being who he is, he has ulterior motives. Ysabel has never trusted or been with another man since she’s arrived in Hell almost 500 years ago. Well, Lucifer thinks it’s about time that changed.

Between the humor, the enigma of how a soul was able to get out of the most secure prison in Hell, and the hot sex scenes, I was a very happy reader. If you like to read books that make you laugh and while making you all hot and bothered, you should try A Demon and His Witch or any other Eve Langlais book. Hotly recommended.
 
Title: A Demon and His Witch
Author: Eve Langlais
Release Date: June 2, 2012
Genre: Paranormal/Demon/Witch/ Humorous Romance
Pages: 156
Publisher: Self-published
Series: Welcome to Hell #1
Format: e-book
ISBN: 9781927459034
Posted: October 10, 2012 (Originally Posted on Risqué Review Website)
Reviewer: Lexxie
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat Level: 1



 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

4.5 Stars for Sacrificial Hearts by Skhye Moncrief

A Short read jam-packed with charm!
Is what Reviewer Barb has to say about Skhye Moncrief’s Sacrificial Hearts
 

Winner of Risqué Reviews Top Pick Award
 
 
Summary/Blurb:


Alone,Twila Deeds tries to find her lost brother and stumbles upon a cult she believes is preparing to sacrifice her in a Valentines-Day sex ritual. She learns her brother has joined the cult and claims to be saving her by bringing her into the fold. She can't trust her brat brother, a selfish teen who never did anything for anyone. He's got to be dealt with. And she intends to dole out the punishment as revenge for his latest betrayal. Nor dare she trust the cult's gorgeous member who arrives to escort her to the cult's Scottish castle on his motorcycle. She's terrified of motorcycles. And the man forces her to climb aboard at gunpoint. After the terrifying motorcycle ride, she has no intention of falling victim to the sacrificial blade before her baby brother is served his just dessert.

But Illusion manifests as free will.

Review:

Skhye Moncrief’s Sacrificial Hearts is a short read jam-packed with charm that kept this reviewer eagerly turning each page. The story begins with Twila’s world plummeting, when her brother Danny disappears. Suspense continues to build since Twila will stop at nothing to find him. Even blindly following the mysterious, tall glass of water, Gerard Abercrombie, when he tells her he knows where her brother is and that he can take her to him. The only proof she has to go on is her brother’s voice on the phone, telling her all is okay and she should go with Gerard. A gun to one’s head can make anyone say anything…But with no other leads, she goes.

I can’t tell you anymore. But I will tell you getting on that motorcycle (see blurb) with Gerard is the least of Twila’s worries, because fate has other plans for her. And fate always prevails. And who is Gerard--what role does he play in Twila’s fate? Is he an enemy or a friend or an indistinguishably other? Oh, don’t you hate reviewers that do that?

The diverse characters smoothly blend together as each venue unfurls in Sacrificial Hearts. Moncrief brings us a flight of the imagination that feeds the heart with creative writing, a unique storyline, and vivid scenes. Add in a romance that is spot on no matter the time it takes place.


Title: Sacrificial Hearts
Author: Skhye Moncrief
Release Date: December 20, 2011
Genre: Time Travel
Pages: 80
Publisher: Self-Published
Series: Time Guardians (Book 1)
Format: Kindle
ASIN: B006OUZBR2
Posted: October 18, 2012 (Originally Posted on Risqué Review Website)
Reviewer: Barb
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat Level: I



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

4.5 Stars for Private Paradise by Jami Alden

 
An Absolute Delight! Says Reviewer Monica
 
 
 
Winner of Risqué Reviews Top Pick Award!

 
 
 
Summary/Blurb:

Sam has always been infatuated with his best friend’s cousin, Carla. He tried to stay away but when the two worked at the same casino in Las Vegas, they begun a relationship. At the end of the summer, Carla offered to give up her scholarship and stay with him. Sam didn’t want her to give up her future and with a few cruel words, he ended their relationship.

Ten years later, her cousin hires Sam as the Director of Security at Holley Cay. Carla is deeply
upset but is forced to accept his position or risk being fired. The two manage to work together and also realize they’re still attracted to each other. When a hurricane hits, an emergency evacuation is called for. Unfortunately, Carla falls overboard from the evacuation ship and Sam jumps in after her. They swim back to the island and find a villa to wait the storm out. And rediscover burning passion and tender feelings…

Review:

Jami Alden’s Private Paradise was an absolute delight to read. It’s a tender, angst-filled, and sensual read about selflessness and second chances. One thing I enjoyed about this story is that both characters eventually moved on.

Sam’s father hammered the belief that he was unintelligent and worthless into him since he was a little boy. He even goes so far as to say that no one could ever love him. Sam was ashamed then confused Carla’s concern for him as pity, affirming his father’s opinions. In an effort to do something kind and prevent her from sacrificing her dreams for him, he told Carla she meant nothing to him. She was deeply hurt but learned to move on. They didn’t quite forget each other nor did they continuously dwell in the past. Sam and Carla acknowledged that the past was over, though a slight bitterness still lingers. I expected that, though.

Furthermore, I enjoyed reading about Sam’s transformation from a rebellious, bad boy who thought he was worthless to a responsible and understanding man who could admit his love. I absolutely loved that scene. It was very heartbreaking.

Title: Private Paradise
Author: Jami Alden
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 118
Publisher: Smashwoods
Series: Holley Cay, Book 2
Format: ebook
ISBN (ASIN): B005SVVFL4
Posted: August 23, 2012 (Originally Posted on Risqué Review Website)
Reviewer: Monica
Rating: 4.5
Heat Level: 1




 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Interview with Skhye Moncrief

 Sensual Romantica, for your inner needy girl


Skhye Moncrief began writing her thesis in bio-archaeology, but she never finished. Why? Because she decided she liked writing about muscled men in fur, leather, or denim, and not about their bones. So she took her BS in geology and used that to evolve stories with non-human characters and have them mingle with human characters. Some by accident others not, either way the outcome is always turbulent. Some come from the deepest parts of universe, to find that connection to earth. Some are already here. The equation isn’t what matters. The stories are. And Moncrief’s imagination is as vast and colorful as the expanding universe itself. Bringing with it new tales of discovering each time…






Hello Skhye, I am delighted to have you join us today.


Shall we begin?


Q. When you sit down to write, what do you draw on as your muse to create those vivid scenes you put together?

My muse… My muse… I think the best way to look at a muse is the amount of creative fodder you have stored away in your muse. I have quite a bit in mine from studying anthropology. However, that creative fodder is always drawn into my mind’s eye. I picture each scene and how the characters actually act/think/feel. If you don’t go that route, your scenes are flat. And that’s it, unless you’re asking about the junk food that inspires me! My brain uses it like psychedelic drugs. And, God help you all who read my books…It’s candy-corn season! Candy corn can really crank up my brain’s creativity, resulting in things like cyborgs with penises that have three settings (fear not--all the settings are good) and other crazed cyborgs trying to kill them off. (Wouldn’t you when competing with males who can please ALL women with the 3 settings… *bad thought*) Um, the whole story is really quite serious in FERAL FALLOUT. It is!





 
Q. You write such expressively-charged stories that are driven by some extraordinary sexual preferences. How far do you take your characters sexually when the story includes multifaceted lifestyles that go outside of societies’ "comfort zones of preconceived ideals of right and wrong"?

I don’t see the situations I put the characters is as a reflection of my extraordinary sexual preferences. After all, I’ve never had sex with a werewolf or shifter and certainly not an extraterrestrial or cyborg. However, I use all that anthropology I studied to pull something that works into my story worlds because I have to rationalize everything. To me, something is only taboo if it’s defined as wrong by a culture. So, what you do with those extreme cases to make them work in your story world should make it both understandable for the reader and acceptable to the reader. This is why I say my stories push the envelope with the taboo, but aren’t truly erotica. They are Romantica because every choice a character makes is supported with an explanation that is paralleled with 100% romantic growth. My stories do read like really hot mainstream craziness.


Skhye skipped the degree. Yet in spite of this, still lead her directly to # 2 


 
Craziness: speculative fiction (My stories combine so many sub-genres that I can’t market them with a traditional NY publisher.)

So, I’m going to explain more of this aspect of my writing while answering the next question…

Q. You have 3 sub-genres that you write about paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance. If you had to give what your main genre style of writing is, would it be exotic romance?

OH, I LIKE EXOTIC ROMANCE. CAN YOU PLEASE HAVE THAT SUB-GENRE CARVED INTO STONE? Since you and I have discussed genres and tried to place my stories into a pigeonhole, I say we need a new pigeonhole! So many reviewers have issues with what I write because of their expectations. They just don’t know what they’re getting into with my stories. I remember when my first Feral novel went to New Concepts Publishing…(warning: LOL moment) I had one of those moments of terror because it was being labeled erotica. I knew I didn’t write erotica. Let me explain…

I love love love reading Kaitlyn O’Connor’s books (even though she gave the one I know she read of mine a 3/5) and knew I could write for NCP. But that first Feral book is nothing like what I write now. I read it and cringe every time. However, the only edits I received for FERAL FASCINATIONS came with 2 major issues. Mind you, NCP doesn’t do edits (one crazy point someone shafted me on with one of my Indie releases—saying I should have sent it to NCP so it would have been edited. *rolls eyes*). Well, NCP works with authors on books that can be tweaked for publication or so they stated on their website at the time I worked on those edits. Grant it, the Indie industry is killing small presses, and I always wondered if NCP would have passed me over if they had more submissions at the time…But I was fortunate enough to land a contract with a publisher who had a large readership and catered to "craziness" of spec-romance/erotica. I didn’t beetch.


 


So, I opened my edits thinking all was well. Picture an author with a face frozen in a scream. You know, like that Scandinavian author’s masterpiece The Scream. I, unfortunately, get plenty of sunlight to counter depression! Until, edits. Seriously, the document had two problems:

1. My novel had two types of things that required italics. The editor wanted me to remove the internalization that I had italicized (switch it to normal) and leave the telepathic conversations (mindspeak) in italics. There were 1800+ lines of internal thought. *picture The Scream* But this lead to an evolution in my writing style—one reviewers either love or hate (multiple POVS that look like 1st person but are really still 3rd person just the immediate present tense thoughts that should have been italicized aren’t any longer. Whoever argues, note all the actual action in the book is in 3rd person, just like 3rd person limited omniscient deep POV).


       Artist  Edvard Munch
2. The editor said: more explicit sex; explicit sex makes more money. Um, I thought I wrote explicit sex. I didn’t read erotica at the time either. So, me and my naïve self simply doubled the number of sex scenes.



I tweaked the tweaks. THANK GOD FOR FIND & REPLACE. And returned the manuscript 2 days later. Well, after I doubled the sex scenes. Then, I panicked. I knew that book wasn’t erotica. Deep down inside, it wasn’t! I decided to investigate. So, I bought the top 15 erotica titles in futuristic and paranormal romance (because the Feral series is both) at a few sites and began conjuring the sun up over yonder hill. Oh dear God. I was blind but could finally see…People who think a little sexual tension is erotica need to experience my epiphany. They are extremely sheltered. Me, well, I fell hard into the trench on the other side of the hill that hid the HOT sun from the sheltered folks. It’s kind of dusty down there from all the stampeding women running back and forth to purchase the latest releases from their favorite erotica authors. But nobody’s beetching about dusting on yonder side of the hill.

So, I learned the difference between explicit sex scenes and erotica. I find reviewers expect m/m in my m/f/m/m/m/m stories, or they want anal sex, or something BDSM…Okay, I really just write traditional sex scenes with a little twist of something different. After all, that’s what all those big NY editors were saying they wanted all those years I attend the Romance Writers of America conferences and listened to those panels speak about market trends! Geesh. Just a tweak! I just tweaked things, right? *snort* No, I crossed all my sub-genre wires and had a blow out! In the end, fried and frazzled, I don’t think I write what anyone truly wants to read when out searching for something to cuddle up with in bed. Hmmm, I write what the candy corn can spark when I’m sitting there and start flipping through the mental file cabinet to come up with something new. I can only thank all of those professors for my self-induced insanity because anthropology gave me loads of examples to draw from. The market with my new publisher drove the demand. I merely attempted to cough up stories that would finally work for readers. I work really hard to write unique realistic characters to avoid the one thing that drives me nuts in a story.

 

The sexuality of the Amazons: Passion and Warfare The Amazons were not known to be favorably disposed towards the institution of marriage. Nevertheless, they did engage in sexual activities to justify the continuity of their race, whether with men of neighboring clans, prisoners-of-war or random men they would meet.
 
 
 


My biggest pet peeve is reading a novel with 2 or more POVS and all of the characters sound absolutely identical. I prefer to write characters with personalities that bring the story to life—just like the fleshed-out explicit sex scenes. Each character has a different cultural background even if that’s only one is spiritual recluse, another is a biker, and the third is a veterinarian. You see each has a different perspective on life and each followed a different path to that point where they wound up in my story. They can’t possibly sound or think the same way! Well, unless all three facets are of the same person. *rolls eyes* That said, they’ll each have a different perspective when it comes to the big naughty scenes. And those perspectives combined with romantic growth make the story real. Not…
 
 
I don’t write he stuck his thing in her (wherever). She cried out. He (insert action verb). She (insert different action verb). No, that’s writing golf narration. Who wants to listen to some man whispering what’s going on during a game of chess? My characters’ thoughts spell out the name of the game (their goals, motivations, and conflict) that many authors just dump in telling forms (i.e. golf narration) onto the page. Telling pump and grind is just erotica. And rape is sex unsupported by one side of the equation. Sex is mental. It must be supported by thought on all sides of the sexual equation, or I’m not writing romance (i.e. hot or warm). So, my writing is all about making things work for the reader, regardless of which genres I combine.
   
By the way, my creative writing teacher (an actual college course not continuing education) argued with me that my two samples I distributed in class weren’t from the same story because one was sci-fi and the other was fantasy. I begged to differ that they were merely 2 different cultures—each chapter set in a different POV reflecting a different culture. Trust me, you can’t write a scene in the average Australian Aboriginee’s mind and make it sci-fi and then jump into a native New Yorker’s POV and make it shamanistic. You won’t be in character with either. Well, unless that shamanistic New Yorker had a whole lot of training. There are many anthropologists in New York who could pull it off! ;P

 

 

 

Q. Your ability to draw the reader into turbulent and sometimes disturbing moments is touched also by your aptitude to bring in humor at the most needed times. Are these planned or just your own wicked sense of irony coming through?


 

I’m the world’s biggest pessimist so I struggle with trying to make the moment not so dismal for the reader. It could be that my inner pessimist is perceived as a "wicked sense of irony"? Although, I must admit I had no idea I had a sense of humor or a sense of irony! I’ll chalk that up to the inner pessimist never thinking anything I wrote is good enough!


 

 


 

 
Seeing through the eyes of a pessimist

 





 
Q. Is your fan base primary women?

Yes. Why in the world would men think the heroes I write were written for them? *thinking, thinking*
 


Q. How about men? Are you experiencing men coming "out of closet", to coin a phrase, in regards to reading your work?

I’ve had a few ask me about my series. I hadn’t realized that I didn’t note the order in which I wrote the books anywhere. Some men were asking about the order of my books in my Time Guardian and Werescape series. Seriously, I was stunned. I had no idea a man would want to read them. But I have seen older male retirees, at the Barnes & Noble where I used to write, sitting reading romantic suspense every week.


 



Q. Do you, like many other writers, secretly harbor dreams of writing a NYT Best Seller? Or do you have another dream that signifies the top of the game to you?

Yes. I don’t think a writer would be normal who never wanted to score a NYT Bestseller at least once for self-validation. But that dream is such a long shot with the way Indie publishing has changed the industry now. I don’t bother with submissions anymore. It’s a waste of time and energy. It’s better to just focus on writing.




Q. Who sees your manuscripts first?

Beta readers. My husband doesn’t read my work either.
 


Q. What makes a romance novel a great love story and how would you define "romance"?

A great romance novel with a great love story must have romantic growth (all the gradual steps to make the romance logical). If a romance novel doesn’t have the romantic growth, I’m left wondering why something happened—how they grew to love each other. Creative writers call that formulaic. But it’s logical. If you’re writing a romance, you have to show two people growing together to make the happily ever after believable, or you’re just writing erotica.



 

Q. Do you believe a good life is attainable? Or is it something that is out of our control i.e. subject to luck etc.

That, my friend, is defined by the individual—relative. If a character gets what he/she is looking for by THE END, that character isn’t fantasizing about it at the end of the book and has a happier outlook on life, right? But there are so many other aspects of life still affecting the one the character dealt with in story. So, in the end, attaining a good life is still up in the air. Or my inner pessimist is talking!

Q. When writing a story that contains graphic, sometimes turbulent sexual scenes, is there ever a time when it is too soon for the characters in a book to have sex?

NOT IF THE AUTHOR HAS SUPPORTED THE SCENE WITH SUFFICIENT BACK STORY, i.e. goals, motivations, and conflict.

Q. Can there ever be too much sex in a story?

Yes. I call the "superfluous sex" glorified sex scenes (erotica). I know whenever I’m writing a sex scene that doesn’t need to be there because it’s boring and the story can move forward without it. And you can usually spot this type of sex scene. It takes place two pages after the last one and serves no purpose. All scenes in a story must have a solid reason for existing. Deb Dixon, the author of Goal, Motivation, & Conflict, explained this nicely. If a story does not have at 3 reasons (any combination of the 3: goal, motivation, conflict—including a combination of 3 of any one like 3 goals revealed), the scene isn’t strong enough to send to her big NY editor. And there’s the rub.

 


 

Q. What sort of ending do you prefer? Angry? Sappy? Full of joy?



I prefer a story to end when I’ve finished tying up the loose goals, motivations, and conflicts. However, readers prefer I write a happily ever after scene too. Those little sweet scenes don’t come to me easily. What do you call my type of ending a story? I’ve been told I shouldn’t write romance since I don’t like writing that last little extra scene. Oh well. And I have little respect for stories with the hero calling the heroine sweetheart, honey, etc. That’s too sappy and Dr.-Quinn-Medicine-Woman for me. So, you tell me what kind of endings I write! ;P

Ummm, what he said...?
"Listen, Smile, Agree,and then do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyway."
-Robert Downery Jr.



Q. You have many series, Time Guardians Series, Werescape Series, and Feral Series. Do they all have to be read in order or can some be read as standalones?

Not the Time Guardians because time travel sets that up—the reader is supposed to question which came first in the end like the chicken and the egg and is able to read the books in any order. Now, the Werescape & Feral series can be read out of order, but the first 2 Feral books work best in that sequence.

Q. How do you cope emotionally with reviewers who seemed to have missed the point of your story completely?

I have to deal with the 5 stages of grief like everyone. The stages come quickly though. And then, I deal with the emotional aspect of stitching up my baby and injecting it with penicillin—ignoring the remarks.


 


Seriously, I just explained to another author that giving away free books is like shooting yourself in the foot. I subscribed to a free-book thread at Kindle for half a year and came to that conclusion. Why? It’s because no author giving away free books can make those people happy. They live to butcher something—and butcher they do. It’s like one of those zombie mob scenes when they’re after some unaffected creature. They pull it to the ground and disembowel it while it screams.


 
 
I’ve received some really awesome reviews (not many reviews altogether though) and most say great things. For some reason—the behavioral scientist in me can’t seem to touch the answer about those people who dislike my work stopping by to leave a review claiming they enjoyed all the other books in a series except…the freebie. Well, you get my drift. I just don’t understand how a reader can hate a book so much and then take the time to leave a negative review after reading the first 3, liking them so much to buy the others, but never leaving a good review for any of them.???




Oh the life of the author and what we contemplate! I’ve found negative reviews that touch on the positive are the ones that help me grow as an author. I appreciate all of that feedback. A good strong review supports the bad points of a story with good comments. ;P And then I’m not hung up psychoanalyzing the statements too long because a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!


*Before I bring to a close my interview with Author Skhye Moncrief, I always like to end with a question just for fun. And since we’re getting close to Halloween, I choose this question for you, Skhye

Q. You suddenly realize you live in a haunted house. Do you:

a) Run screaming for the door?


b) Bravely go to a church, load up on holy water and try to get rid of the ghost?


c) Set up ghost hunting equipment to capture phenomenon?

d) Call in the "Ghost Adventures" crew so that you can ogle the lead guy Zac’s amazingly stiff hair when you’re not ogling his….physical attributes?


e) Deny you have a ghost and just let it scare the bejesus out of your visitors?


I’m all C, Barb!!! Of course, I’ll need some D to help me operate the C equipment. And if that means bringing in supplies with B, I don’t have a problem. Because I don’t want my attempts at C resulting in my needing an exorcism. But the scientist isn’t likely to fall for that superstition easily which is why I said I’m all C… (Are you confused? You shouldn’t have given someone letters to work with! *evil cackle* Let me see if I can write this up in a more digestible form for you.)

C (D + B) = Barb’s insanity



So…

C(D) + B for Barb’s exorcism= a good laugh because I accidentally wrote orgasm for exorcism.





Bwa ha haaaaaaa! Thanks for raking me over the HOT coals, Barb! I had marshmallows so all was well!




Oh No...Not Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!!
And that brings me to the end of my interview with Author, Skhye Moncrief.

Thank you again Skhye, for this opportunityto interview you. I hope you had fun.

And I want to say thank you to those that stopped by. Hope you enjoyed yourselves too!!

Skhye and I would love to hear if you enjoyed this interview. So please don’t be shy, leave a comment and say Hi!!

Be sure to visit Skhye’s website to learn more about her exciting series and upcoming releases, http://www.skhyemoncrief.com/


Signing off,

Barb~
 





Saturday, October 6, 2012

Interview with Author of Magical Fantasy Judith Leger


Chinese Character for Passion





Author Judith Leger has always been a day dreamer. Mostly about heroes and heroines falling in love and living happily ever after. No matter the obstacle that befell them they always overcome it, bringing them even closer in spite of them. That’s how you know they are daydreams, because reality is a whole other game.

But she didn’t stop there. She went a step further and decided to fill books with those dreams and pack them full of  magic and of course, happy endings. The power that a book brings is imagination. And that is the secret to escaping reality… for a few moments in time the only reality is there within books and your imagination.

And  Leger has done that with her soon to be released book, ENCHANTED.
So if it’s romance with a touch of magic and fantasy you wish to escape too then Judith Leger is an author you might want to learn more about.

This leads us to the beginning part of this interview.


 
Judith thank you for joining me today, I believe you have the floor…






 
Judith Leger Talks About Enchanted






Hi everyone! Thanks so much for dropping by today!

My new release, Enchanted is a magical tale of betrayal and forgiveness. True love prevailing against the odds helps it along, too. :D





Here’s the blurb:

She knows how to unravel secrets, but getting to the bottom of this one might just kill her.

Magic is for fools, television news reporter Caitlyn believes. And she's no fool. She's determined to prove master illusionist Shay a fake. Somehow though, with Shay the lines between magic and reality blur. Perhaps it's his charisma, or being in Ireland with him, but now she's dreaming of a magical place. One that seems oddly familiar... 

Shay hides a terrible secret. He's to blame for Caitlyn's separation from her family and the world she doesn't remember. She must go home to the Sidhe, and to recover his honor, he must be the one to bring her. He'll willingly lose everything he is to help her break the curse binding her. But time is of the essence--the old evil has surfaced. He must make Caitlyn believe in magic, and his love, before she becomes its prey.





 

You can find Enchanted at Lyrcial Press:


Drop by my blog or website! Here’s the links.



Now let’s find out a bit about the author Judith Leger shall we?





 
Q. You wanted your profile picture to be the Chinese Character for Passion. Why is that?

I want my passion for romance to come through my writing. I'm passionate about reading, writing. And believe that when two people fall in love their lives will be filled with passion.



 
 
 
Q. What can you tell us about the three books that you’re reworking?

One of these books is my new release, Enchanted, from Lyrical Press. It’s a paranormal romance. This story is filled with magic and believing in the unbelievable. The other two books are also paranormal romances similar to the old gothic romances with a witch, strange occurrences and of course, the romance.







 


Q. What makes a romance novel a great love story and how would you define "romance"?

To me, romance is the magic of love (I suppose the chemistry) between two people--strong people who loved each other completely. I still remember before my parents passed away how my father would touch my mother’s face and ask me if I’d ever seen such a beautiful woman before. My mother was 83 at that time. That’s romance where the love is still new and fresh no matter what the age.






Q. Is there a limit to how risqué (sexually) you will allow your characters to go?

Honestly, I prefer the light sex in writing. I can and have written more risqué (one of the books I’m working on to have out by Halloween is like this) but I prefer to write the romance. Romance is not only the sex. It’s the hearts of two people touching at the same time as their bodies coming together.


 
 
Q. When is it too soon for the characters in a book to have sex in a non-erotic story?

LOL, now that depends! In the steamier of my two books coming soon, the main characters had just met a few days before. The setting is in present time so both of them are more open about sex. I also read a Catherine Mann’s book last year where the heroine and hero had sex right off the bat and she ended up pregnant. They’d known each for a long time with the sexual tension building between them until it exploded and they ended up making love. This was done so seamlessly and naturally.

Q. Do you, like many other writers, secretly harbor dreams of writing a NYT Best Seller?

It would be nice but no, I don’t. I would love for more readers to pick up my book but being a best seller, not right now.

Q. Is writing your full time livelihood?

Nope! I do have an EDJ (LOL, not that evil). I work in higher education during the day and write at night. I’ve learned to balance my time between family, work and writing.
 
 


Q. Before recognizing writing was your calling was there any other avenues you wanted to explore?

Honestly, no. I was content with my life. But in the 1990s, I had a near death experience and I started to think about the future. What had I ever done besides being a wife and mother? I’d never accomplished anything from my youth that I would dream about. Most of those dreams had vanished years ago. I loved to read and I had dabbled in writing. I wanted to write a book and have it published. So began my writing journey. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.


 
 
 



Before I end this interview with Judith today I’d like to ask just one more question
"Just For Fun"
 
Q. What sort of character would you play in a comic book (hero, humorous sidekick, villain, that abrasive newspaper guy, etc.)
 
 
Oh, God!!! I dunno…I guess I would like to be Rogue in the X-men comics. She’s fun and powerful. Also she has a killer body (so jealous!).
 
 
 
Rogue, Beautifully Untouchable

Rogue so desirable, so beautiful. Like the Mysterious Venus Flytrap beautifully deceptive. Given that just one touch from her can be a death trap.
 
 
In-story information (From Wikipedia)

 
Alter ego:

Anna Marie


Species:



Team affiliations:



Notable aliases:

Anna Raven, Dr. Kellogg, Miss Smith



Abilities:

  •  Absorption of memories, skills, and powers through skin-to-skin contact (the longer the contact occurs, the longer Rogue will retain the abilities or memories. If she maintains contact for long enough, the absorption is permanent)



And that brings us to the end of my interview with Author, Judith Leger.

Thank you again Judith for allowing me this chance to get to know you. I hope you had fun.

And I want to say thank you to those that stopped by. Hope you enjoyed yourselves too!!

Judith and I would love to hear if you enjoyed this interview. So please don’t be shy, leave a comment and say Hi!!

Be sure to stop the links Judith provided to learn more about this exciting Author and her work.

Signing off,

Barb~