Leave a comment or ask Bethany a question for a chance to win a copy of your choice of book from her backlist. Long and Short Reviews welcomes Bethany Michaels, whose latest book Nashville Naughty is out and is her first foray into indie-publishing. She told me that she's written for some really great small presses over the last eight years, but she's really excited to try something new.
"It's a lot of work, but I like the total control I have—mwaa haa haa," she said.
I asked her to tell us something about the book that's not in the blurb.
"The heroine of Nashville Naughty, Becca, a huge Elvis fan. While there are reasons Elvis holds a special place in her heart that have to do with her family issues, I first incorporated Elvis into the manuscript simply because I am a huge Elvis fan! I visited Graceland last year and was just bowled over by the fact that there are so many people who still love The King, even though he’s been dead since 1977."
Bethany is also working on a series of shorts called My Favorite Fantasy.
"These will be shorter stories with themes like hot cops & handcuffs, a threesome among friends, a friends-to-lovers tale, toys, a celebrity encounter and other fantasies many readers love," she explained. "Each is a complete story with characters, conflict, real emotion and some sort of twist at the end. I’m planning five e-book releases this year and a print edition of all five stories in one volume next year. Cuffed (the hot cop/handcuffs story) will be out in this month. I’m also continuing to work with Siren Publishing—I write with some friends as “The Sextet” and we’ve done several sexy ménage anthologies and series for Siren. BIG fun, there! I’m currently finishing up a MFMM submission for them."
She's sold around fourteen books to various publishers and admitted it's tough to pick a favorite.
"But right now I do like the Nashville books (Nashville Heat and Nashville Naughty)," she told me. "I really fell in love with the city when we moved here in 2006 and I think that comes across in the books. I’m planning to write at least two more of those in the next couple of years. Hart & Souls is also one of my favorites."
"Do you use a pen name?" I wondered.
"Yes. My first name really is Bethany, but 'Michaels' is a pen name. Michael is my husband’s name and there have been several important Michaels in my life. It seemed appropriate."
Bethany can't remember a time when she hasn't written stories—when she was small, she would write little stories and illustrate them. But, in 2004, she decided to get serious and started writing with the intention to publish.
"I had dabbled in writing a romance for several years, but it was giving birth to my third and fourth babies in three years that really motivated me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being a mom. But I was losing my mind and my identity as a person, I think. I NEEDED something that was all mine," she told me. "Something that was about me. Writing became that thing. I was looking at my 30th birthday, my four kids in diapers, my 'day' job (which was really a night job) and thought: 'this is perfect, I’ll start a new career!' I joined RWA and Indiana RWA, started learning all I could about the business and of course started writing my first awful manuscript." She finishes her "day" job at 4 AM and she has to get her kids up for school at 6 AM, so she usually uses those two hours as her writing time. She also writes some in the evenings when she's off and on weekends when Michael is home to help with the kids.
"I’ve gotten good at writing anytime, anywhere. You have to when you have kids and a job and other responsibilities," she said. "During summer break, I tell the kids that I have to get my pages done before we go out to do anything fun, so they are usually nagging me to get done quickly. That actually helps me get more accomplished."
Another thing she uses is a program called Write or Die that helps her get going when her motivation is weak.
"It forces you to keep writing or bad things happen…though I haven’t actually died yet," she assured me.
In her writing, usually both plot and characters show up about the same time.
"I’ll have a notion that I want to write about a secret diary, for example, and then begin to think about what kind of woman would have a secret diary, what’s in it and why it’s a secret," she explained. "Then throw a bunch of complications into the mix, like, what if the secret diary was made public? What kind of characters would complicate her life further? What is she going to do about it? What are the consequences if she fails? How does that change who she is as a character? That was the basis for The Secret Confessions of Lady H. serial I did with Red Sage a few years ago. For me the plot and character drive each other."
"What is your most embarrassing moment?" I wondered.
"When I was pregnant with my second child, I had issues with feeling faint early on. I was in a Meijer store in the check-out line behind a lady who I swear had 200 coupons she wanted to redeem when I started getting that clammy, faint feeling like I was going to pass out. I took my son, who was in the child seat of the cart to a nearby bench and since I’d always heard you should put your head between your knees, I did so. The headrush made me start to vomit right there in front of about 50 people in the check-out lanes. Ans then my son got scared and started to cry, so I was like It’s ok, Mommy’s fine. (blech!) No, don’t cry, sweetie, Mommy is ok. Really! (blech, blech) I have not been in a Meijer store since."
Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?"
"Write your book like nobody is reading it. Your first effort is going to be crap. Don’t worry about it. That’s allowed. Just don’t quit until you get to 'The End' and you’ll learn so much just completing the manuscript that your next effort will automatically be better. Also, join a writers’ group like RWA or the like."
About the Author: www.BethanyMichaels.com.
You can also find Bethany online at:
Bad girl Becca Shaw likes her men hot, hard and temporary. But when Dillon Phillips, lead guitarist of an up-and-coming Nashville band, moves in to help her make rent, what starts off as a simple financial arrangement soon gives a whole new meaning to "staying in" for the night.
Full of long autumn nights and plenty of Southern heat, the new arrangement is just another in a string of naughty adventures for Becca. But Dillon's desires run deeper and once commitment-phobic Becca realizes she might not be ready to give up her hot cowboy lover, she has to face not only demons from her past but one very unexpected development threatening their future.
Courtney Grant has always had a fetish for men in authority and once she one in her sights, she always gets what she wants. But when handsome, by-the-book Officer Ridgeway pulls her over for speeding on a deserted highway and then rejects her advances, Courtney is irresistibly drawn to him and will go to any lengths to get herself locked up in Ridgeway's cuffs one more time.