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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

INTERVIEW: BOBBI BRATTZ

Long and Short Reviews is pleased to welcome Bobbi Brattz whose latest book Costa Rican Heat was released in October.


Bobbi's from southern Ontario, Canada, and she says about her home, "Living in the country surrounded by forest makes my writing flow well. The town near where we live is small enough that if we have more than three cars at a four-way stop, it's considered a traffic jam. I love the seclusion."


Bobbi Brattz is actually her pen name—Bobbi from her middle name Roberta. Her last name, Brattz, she said, "Comes from just being a Brat."


I asked Bobbi what she considered the difference between erotic romance, erotica, and pornography.


"Chemistry is what counts!" she explained. "Porn is plain sex with no emotional involvement. Erotica has to do with kinky sex toys and the Kama Sutra, yet still no emotional involvement. Erotic romance is a love between two or more people where there are no holds barred in the bedroom or any location where sex occurs (my favorite scene is in the kitchen on the island with delectable dessert foods including whipped cream! Yummm.) Chemistry, emotions and a willing to please each other on an even basis is important as well. It's no one-night-stand where you never see each other again but a future of love and joy."


I asked her to tell us about Costa Rican Heat.


"Costa Rican Heat was a ball of fun to write. Heroine Jada McKenzie meets her internet pal for the first time, is swept off her feet, and whisked away to Costa Rica, she has no idea she will be the dessert on the menu for two men. Her greatest experience with sex is from watching adult videos.


"Tait Bennett and Constable Mike Turner surprise Jada when they arrive at Tait's home in the hills and soon show her what amazing sex in a menage a trois is all about. It takes a while to convince her because she does her best to escape them pulling all kinds of antics to get away.


"When she falls for them both, she must decide if she wants to stay with them forever more or go back to her humdrum life in Toronto."


Bobbi has another book that Siren Bookstrand has picked up which will release later this year: Hawaiian Triple Heat, part of the Dr. Love Shark series.


"It's volcanic, it's so hot!" she assured me. "Stranded in Hawaii, Rae Hooper finds more excitement that she expects when the infamous Doctor Love Shark helps her out. After suffering for years in a bad marriage, she becomes a sex therapy model in a menage a trois with the doctor and his best friend and her entire life turns upside down.


"Rae must decide if she will forgive and forget being lied to and stay with, or live as a recluse after her sexual encounter goes viral!"


The second book in the series she's planned is called The second one I have planned is called 'The Kegelmeister'.


"Just wait until you get to read about the naughtiness between three reporters at Dr. Love Shark's resort when they try to unearth his sex secrets," she said.


When Bobbi gets an idea for a plot, such as in Costa Rican Heat, she writes out the basics, such as woman bored with her life meets her internet man on a date and is swept away to a tropical island where she finds she's the dessert and two men are the main meal in a ménage a trios. Once that's set, she creates her characters by completing character lists including who they are, what they look like, what their careers are, their biggest challenges, and who the people in their lives are.


"I spend a lot of time doing this so that the characters are in my mind when I bring them to life and tug at your heart strings," she explained. "Everyone loves a bad boy alpha male and a determined alpha female batting heads. The second male is the peacekeeper who usually has a wacky sense of humor to lighten the plot and give you a chuckle."


When Bobbi hits a snag and suffers from writer's block, she takes a step back and work on another WIP (work in progress). She has several of them running around in her head and admits she either has to write them down or lose sleep over them.


"When I do get insomnia, I find that's the best time to write. My mind is clear, there are no distractions, and the peace of the night helps me to focus on the story," she said. "Another trick to overcoming writer's block is to start reading the story from the beginning and edit. This helps to make sure the plot is in order, the characters are showing the correct traits to make them fascinating, and also a great tool to find the tiny errors we tend to make such as spelling and grammar."


Not surprisingly, a good sturdy plot is number one on her list of important details of good writing, she said, with "lots of twists and turns where the heroine or hero have to make near impossible choices, a devious villain or problem to overcome, and lots of yummy nooky-nooky. In the end, the characters should be happy, satiated, and ready for more..."


I asked Bobbi to describe her writing space.



"Have laptop, will travel! I write whenever the urge strikes. My characters take on a life of their own in my mind whether I'm at the doctor's office, sitting at home, sleeping, or anywhere else, believe it or not. If I don't have access to my laptop, I write in point form on my ever-present notepad. Thankfully, no one can read my mind!" she said with a laugh.


"What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?" I asked.


"I tend to laugh out loud when I have a funny scene going or even cry during the sad parts. My moods are attached to the characters. When I start squirming in my chair, I know for a fact that the scene is perfectly delicious!"


Finally, I asked, "What is your most embarrassing moment?"


"I lived with my roommate when I was eighteen years old. When I got back from my date at a local bar, I jumped in the shower thinking no one was home. The apartment was completely dark and quiet so I opened the bathroom door with all my jewels visible and froze in place when I heard a male voice chuckle and say, 'Hello kitty.' I had to stay in the bathroom for a long time before I got the courage to lift my chin and walk to my room as though no one was there. It was a brave thing to do as I was rather shy back then."


Find the Bobbi online at:

www.Facebook.com/BobbiBrattz

www.BobbiBrattz.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

INTERVIEW: KOKO BROWN

Long and Short Reviews is pleased to welcome Koko Brown. She has recently published her first self-published title, Player's Ultimatum, this past Thankgsiving. It's landed on All Romance eBooks Top Ten Bestseller List and also made Amazon's Top 100 Kindle List for both erotica and multicultural.

"I’m pretty shocked at the book’s performance since it was initially written four years ago for one of Harlequin’s novel contests," she admitted. "Of course it was way too hot for them, since I really didn’t change any of the love scenes. I also didn’t change the plot which revolves around a woman posing as her gay best friend’s fiancé until he can ink a lucrative football contract with a professional soccer team in Italy."

She is also working on three contracted manuscripts for Ellora's Cave and one for Loose-Id, all sequels to the paranormal romances, Charmed and Forever, I Do, she has published with each publisher.

Koko started writing in 2002, but then took a four year hiatus after the death of her mother.

"I just didn’t feel inspired to write," she explained. "However, I found myself in a new home and town and of course bored out of my mind. So, I picked up my first erotic romance, fell in love with the genre, decided to pen my own and the rest is history."

Koko doesn't have an actual work schedule for her writing, since she still works full-time and doesn't see herself leaving her day job because she loves it.

"I work in tourism so I travel for free all the time and it’s a pretty easy gig so I’m not going anywhere. Therefore, my writing is worked around my day job and my other interests. However, I do have a daily writing goal of 1k words minimum a day."

Because she likes to travel, she tends to visit the cities/countries where her books are based.

"I started this trend when I penned my first and still unpublished novel, Heart of Harlem. I’d been there often as a child, but I made a special trip just to research the area and discover nuances I’d never paid attention to in the past. And it really helped. In my opinion there’s just so much Wikipedia, Map Quest or a Convention and Bureaus website can do for you."

" What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotic romance?" I asked her.

"I think the biggest misconception is that erotic romance doesn’t have any romance or a plot. I would like to think that my books feature a good dose of both. My sex scenes are never integral to the storyline, they only enhance it. And if you were to take them out I think that the story would still be enjoyable."

Kate Hill and Jet Mykles are on her list of favorite erotic authors for the same reason; their sex scenes are hot, but they are secondary to the storyline.

"They both have this great ability to transport the reader to other places," she told me.

One of the most important parts of good writing, for Koko, is good character development.

"If your readers can’t connect with your characters, they’ll either put your book down or forget your book as soon as they're finished," she explained. "Great characters can live on in readers forever and they’ll return to the book time and time again."

When she's writing her own books, an idea is usually sparked first, then she sits down and figures out the plot first, then the characters.

"The plot comes to me fairly easily. I can plot a book from beginning to end in about ten or twenty minutes," she confessed. "If I’m stuck sometimes I will call a critique partner or a fellow author and we’ll have a brainstorm session. Of course, I already have a pretty good idea what I’m going to go with already; I just like to hear other people’s opinion of my plot before I get my elbows dirty. Even though coming up with a plot isn’t that hard for me, does it mean the plot will stay that way during the writing process? Never. I’m a plotter at the beginning of all of my stories, and then I switch gears and become a punster and allow my characters to take over."

"What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your books?" I asked. "How many have you written and which is your favorite?"

"The most surprising thing about writing a book is that I finish them," she said. "I have so much going, it's just a task to sit down to write. I’ve written only nine full manuscripts with eight of them actually seeing the light of day. My favorite book would have to be my first novel, Charmed. It’s a vampire romance I wrote in two weeks, while on leave from my former job as a high school American Literature teacher. Player’s Ultimatum is a close second because the hero, Japanese Brazilian soccer player, Paulo Saito, is so arrogant, but devilishly sexy. If you read my reader reviews on Amazon, you’ll see most of them have his name in the title."

On a more personal note, Koko shared with me that as an adult she's not had any embarrassing moment and is very comfortable in her own skin.

"For example, I recently posed for a cover shoot for Ellora’s Cave. Even though there were quite a few people in the room and the male models were deliciously nude and I’m in a state of undress, it felt like another day at the office."

Finally, I asked Koko, "What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?"

" I think the best advice would be from Debbie Macomber. She said that in order to get everything we need to get done in life we should set goals and not just long term ones but daily goals as well. I’ve applied this to my writing and I’ve accomplished quite a bit ever since. The worst advice I’d ever received was from the judge of a writing contest I’d entered for a young adult interracial romance I’d penned. Of course, I disregarded everything she said because she wasn’t my market considering one of her comments came off as racist."

Find the author online at www.KokoBrown.net, www.facebook.com/authorkokobrown, or www.kokobrown.spreadshirt.com, a t-shirt shop inspired by her novel Nerds Are Freaks Too)

Friday, January 6, 2012

INTERVIEW: CARLA ANGELA

Long and Short Reviews is pleased to welcome Carla Angela, whose debut novel Full Exposure is out from Siren-Bookstrand. I asked her to tell us a little bit about her book.


Full Exposure surrounds photographer Lake Silva and her new business venture—taking professional online dating photos. Slick, appealing, and sizzling hot...with Lake behind the camera lens! What Lake doesn’t count on is meeting one male client who stirs up more than just business sense in her.
Carla has wanted to write novels since she was five, but it wasn't considered a typical career path at her school.


"So even though I was whipping out 100-handwritten-page novels as a teen, I never sent them anywhere, and instead went down the more predictable route in writing as a print journalist," she said. "One day though, I hope to bid adieu to the journalism work forever and just focus solely on fiction. That’s the dream!"


Carla didn't start out to write erotic romance, but she's always liked romance and glamour, so it just made sense to her and was a natural progression.


"I’m in a romance writers group and an older woman was talking about how they used to write erotic fiction for fun in their youth, and I thought, ‘Why not give it a go? It’s been around since time began.’ I haven’t looked back since!" she explained.


She also has a chick-lit manuscript. I asked her about the differences.


"I guess the difference with chick-lit and romance is that there are the relationships with other characters in chick-lit that need to be considered, such as, the protagonist’s siblings, parents, friends and colleagues," she said. "Erotic romance is much simpler in that it’s all about the hero and heroine, or two heroes and heroine if it’s a ménage a trois! Erotic romance distils things down to the scenes most people are actually flying through the pages to actually get to."


"What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotica?" I asked her.


"That it’s just porn. Unlike porn though, which often doesn’t require much of a plot (or a good musical backdrop for that matter), characters in erotic fiction must have depth, must grow and must have a real connection with the object of their affection – beyond just sex."


Carla always carries a little notebook with her in her purse, and everyday things will make her pull it out to make notes: from overheard conversations on a bus to an interview she reads in a magazine. Anything can serve as inspiration to her.


"Watch out if you’re a family member or friend of mine as chances are your life events may in some way inspire what happens between my pages!" she warned. "I also love researching subjects online and physically going to places if I can, such as a beekeeper’s place if I’m writing about bees! If I’m writing about exotic locales, it’s always fun to have travelled to them too, of course."


"What does your family think of your writing?" I asked. "Do they read it?"


"My family are used to my crazy creativity! However, I won’t be showing my parents my erotic fiction anytime soon – or my siblings. It’s like an actor having their folks sit in with them at a movie screening during a sex scene. There are just some lines you don’t want to cross with your family. My tamer stuff though, sure."


She told me that the most embarrassing sex scene she's ever written was probably her first one.


"It takes a while to get your head around where all the particular body parts go and what to call them too, so they still sound sexy," she explained. "First one over though, you get over yourself and you’re on your way!"


If she could entertain a character from a book, she wouldn't mind hanging out with Hunter Dex from Full Exposure.


"He has ocean-blue eyes, a tanned, muscular body, plenty of cheek, and a fat wallet to boot. I can imagine things getting pretty saucy at his palatial pad," she said, adding, "Just don’t tell my husband!"


"If you could be anyone you wanted, who would it be?" I wondered.


"A famous novelist, like Sophie Kinsella, because then all I’d have to worry about career-wise is writing books – and I’d even have sold movie rights on a tome. Living the dream!"


On a personal note, if Carla had to pierce a body part, she would choose her bellybutton, even though she has, as she put it, "one of those squeamish bellybuttons that feels funny if you touch it." She still thinks it would look sexy—especially if it were a silver butterfly pendant against tanned skin.


Her favorite foods run to the salty side, because instead of a sweet tooth, Angela has a savory tooth. Some of her favourites are antipasto-type fare, like salami and olives, and she puts lots of lemon and chili on everything. For things a little more healthy, she chooses avocado and mango.


On the other hand, she can't eat any cut of meat that's not the norm, such as kidneys, brains, tongues, and tripe.


"I wouldn’t want to go on Survivor and be dared to eat such stuff," she admitted. "I can guarantee I’d puke."


"What is your most embarrassing moment?" I asked her.


"A bad hairstyle choice in the 90s when I did Princess Leia-style hair buns and added real flowers at school. It didn’t go down so well with my class mates and there was much jeering. I’ve had a much safer ‘do since!"


Finally, I asked Carla, "If you could give a new writer one piece of advice, what would it be?"


"It’s an oldie, but a goodie – keep writing and reading. Expand what you read by joining a book club. Read outside your genre and try new authors as it will make you a better-rounded writer. And write, write, write! Don’t wait for the muse to strike ‘cause it never will – just turn up at the page, even if the laundry pile is growing and the carpets need vacuuming. There will always be some excuse. Personally, I’ve found your first book won’t likely be The One (though some authors, of course, have had overnight success). Many say you can often strike it lucky by about the third manuscript in getting it published. I really believe you need to hone your writing skills and get better at polishing your manuscript within an inch of its life, before you put your material out there to the world. After all, your earlier work may come back to bite you later on – and have you cringing!"


About the Author:
By day, Carla Angela is a freelance journalist in Australia and, in the inky night, an erotic fiction writer. When she’s not tapping away on her keyboard, she loves shopping, socialising, renovating, and listening to music—from 90s R&B to retro 80s. Watching telemovies and obsessing over her star sign are also guilty pleasures. More on Carla Angela can be found at http://www.bookstrand.com/carla-angela or www.CarlaAngela.com. She writes exclusively for Siren-BookStrand. Full Exposure is her first tome.

Monday, January 2, 2012

INTERVIEW: AJ Jarrett

Long and Short Reviews is pleased to welcome AJ Jarrett, whose debut novel Fate's Second Chance, was released in October by Silver Publishing.


She had never really thought about writing beyond essays she had to do in school; however, she has always loved reading. In fact, she reads more than she watches television.


"Its quite ridiculous at times," she admitted. "In January 2010 I made the decision that I was going to try writing. The ramblings in my mind seemed entertaining enough to me; I thought maybe someone else may enjoy them as well."


I asked AJ how she distinguished between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.


"That’s tricky; in all honestly everyone’s opinion varies on what the difference is. For me erotic romance is the building of a story with intriguing characters that develop into a loving relationship. Erotica is the actual sex scene the describing of the sexual encounter, not a lot of feelings are spoken, just actions. Pornography is just people having sex. No emotions or strong story line just the sex act. Now this is just my opinion because all three serve a purpose and people should decide for themselves."


She told me that there are many authors who write excellent erotic fiction, but a few she enjoys are Stephani Hecht, Anne Brooke, T.A Chase, G.A. Hauser, J.L Langley, D.J. Manly, R.J Scott, and Gale Stanley.


"As you can see, I could go on forever on the authors I think write excellent erotic fiction," she said."Their ability to paint a picture and pull the reader in is amazing."


If she has to pick one favorite, though, she told me it would be Stormy Glenn.


"Her stories are always so well written and her characters are well developed," she said. "I actually become invested in her characters and feel the same emotions right along with them as they experience hardships and happiness. Her Blaeclaeh Brothers series is one of my absolute favorites.


Good erotic fiction all comes down to character development and the conflict, she believes.


"Without having characters people can relate to, or root for, your audience will lose interest," she explained. "If they can’t come to care for the characters, what is the point in reading about them or if they have sex or not? An entertaining conflict is a major must have. When I read I like to be drawn in and lose myself in the story and I try to accomplish that with my own work."


AJ does most of her research online. She also gets information and inspiration from her own reading.


"That is what is so great about writing in the world of today," she told me. "Everything you need to know can be found in just one click."


" What does your family think of your writing?" I asked. "Do they read it?"


"My family is very supportive but they do not read my work. It doesn’t bother me they are allowed to have their preference on what they read. I haven’t had any negative feedback from my family they just say they are proud of me and think it’s really great that I’m doing what I love. Personally I couldn’t ask for a more supportive family."


AJ admitted to me, with a laugh, that all the sex scenes she writes are embarrassing to her.


"Seriously, though, I’m really shy when I write a sex scene. Because as the author you have to dig deep and describe the physical and the emotional aspects of the act. Even though these characters are people I’ve created out of my own mind it still puts me on an intimate level with talking and describing their love lives. Plotting and writing of these characters is a process and in my mind they become as real as anybody else I’d meet on the street, so when I’m writing a love scene I feel like a fly on their wall invading their special moment. Makes me blush."


On a more personal note, I asked AJ, "If you had to pierce a body part, what would you pierce and why?"


"I would pierce my nipples. And the why is because that is what my husband wants me to get done next. Hell, I’m a woman. Any time the chance to get jewelry comes up, I’m all for it."


"What about piercing makes it sexy?"


"It all depends who the piercing is on if it’s sexy or not," she explained. "Like my husband-- I would so not be turned on by him getting anything pierced. He’s too straight-laced, and it wouldn’t fit his character. A sexy thing about body piercing is that it can add to your sex play and arousal. Win win for everyone."



For eating off another person's tummy (or any other body part for that matter) she chooses "hot fudge and hot fudge. Chocolate makes everything better."


I asked her to share with us her most embarrassing moment.


"My most embarrassing moment would have to be when I was in high school. I was a cheerleader and we would wear our uniforms on game days. I went to English class and when I sat down my skirt got caught on the back of my chair. So through the whole class my ass was exposed. Granted I was wearing the little cover-ups that go over your underwear but still for a teenage girl so embarrassing."


AJ's favorite food is, hands down, ice cream. It doesn't matter what the temperature is outside, she loves her ice cream, especially mint chip. She's also a fan of Pepsi as opposed to Coke, saying that she finds Coke more bitter than Pepsi. She's a self-proclaimed "soda snob," saying, "When I can't get a Pepsi, I whine about it."


Her favorite letter is "T."


"I’m going to get all mushy here but that is the beginning letter to my husband’s name and our four children’s names," she explained. "They're my biggest supporters and fans. I even have the letter T tattooed on the back of my neck."


If she's not writing, you can find her reading and, when she's not reading, she's normally cleaning house.


"Being the mother of four children keeps me busy," she admitted. "My husband is very helpful so the house work is split evenly except the dreaded bathrooms. I feel like I spend half my life cleaning the bathrooms. Glamorous I know."


Finally, I asked, " If you could give a new writer one piece of advice, what would it be?"


"Not to give up. As an author you can’t let rejections or bad reviews determine your fate. Rejections are going to happen at one time or another; that’s just the nature of the business. You are your biggest fan. If you think you can, then you will succeed."



About the Author:AJ Jarrett currently lives in the Midwest with her husband and four children. A lover of M/M romances she has started writing her own stories for others to enjoy. She is currently published through Silver Publishing and her first release, Fate’s Second Chance, is the first in the Twist of Fates series. When she is not chasing around her kids she can be found sitting on the couch with her trusted laptop giving life to the voices in her head.


Keep up with AJ on herblog